NWSL – 2015 Draft Class Top 100 – Bruins, Noles, & Cavs Everywhere

The 2015 class isn’t as deep as this year’s outstanding crop, but there should still be enough to please teams through the first half of the draft, with UCLA, Florida State, and Virginia all producing some serious senior talent this season. In particular, there’s no shortage of defenders and midfielders to help fortify professional rosters.

Forwards? That’s another story, as this could be the weakest crop of strikers in recent memory. Sofia Huerta’s a prime talent but seems likely to be allocated by Mexico, and just about everyone other forward draft candidate has a red flag attached, meaning teams looking for someone to lead the line could be out of luck.

GK

1. Katelyn Rowland – UCLA
2. Sabrina D’Angelo – South Carolina
3. Jordan Day – Texas A&M
4. Tatiana Saunders – Dartmouth
5. Eve Badana – Drexel

DEF

1. Abby Dahlkemper – UCLA
2. Megan Campbell – Florida State
3. Arin Gilliland – Kentucky
4. Ally Courtnall – UCLA
5. Jaelene Hinkle – Texas Tech

MF

1. Morgan Brian – Virginia
2. Dagny Brynjarsdottir – Florida State
3. Sarah Killion – UCLA
4. Sam Mewis – UCLA
5. Danielle Colaprico – Virginia

FW

1. Sofia Huerta – Santa Clara
2. Jannelle Flaws – Illinois
3. Stephanie McCaffrey – Boston College
4. Lynn Williams – Pepperdine
5. Rachel Tejada – Illinois State

1. Morgan Brian – MF – Virginia

The One. A player of infinite potential who came into the college game with a list of plaudits a mile long and may have struggled a bit to live up to those expectations through two seasons, having to settle with being very, very good instead of a destroyer of worlds. That had to wait until 2013. Won everything, scored sixteen goals, assisted on fourteen more, and was at the controls of the nation’s deadliest offense. About the only thing she didn’t win in 2013 was a national title, and that’s just about the only thing missing on her mantle at this point, having won every individual award and collected her first set of USWNT caps this past season. I suspect her usage stats aren’t going to bother too many suitors, considering she doesn’t figure to take a hundred shots in a pro season. Barring something insane, she’ll be the #1 pick next January, it’s just a matter of where now.

2. Dagny Brynjarsdottir – MF – Florida State

Special. I almost wish Morgan Brian was in a different class to see the pearls being clutched, as there’s a decent shot the Icelandic midfielder would go #1. Florida State was a functionally different team with her in the lineup, which wasn’t often enough for their liking, as she was on international duty for World Cup qualifiers this Fall. Brynjarsdottir’s a key part of Iceland’s future in addition to being a big part of FSU’s present, and there are surely going to be plenty of European suitors that may price NWSL clubs out of a move. On the pitch, the Icelandic phenom has made the “hole” in the 4-2-3-1 behind the center forward her home, using her size and pace to dominate lead footed defensive midfielders and spring her teammates wide or in front. Her usage rates are pretty good for a midfielder, and her goal scoring record against top clubs was absurd, tying for the national lead with ten goals against RPI Top 50 teams. Oh, and did I mention she missed games? Oh, and she did this this year with the Noles not having a reliable center forward either, so heaven help DI if FSU gets a Mami Yamaguchi/Tiffany McCarty-esque figure to step up in 2014.

3. Sarah Killion – MF – UCLA

Complete midfielder. OK, Killion’s not going to be scoring ten goals a season any time soon, but she can do just about everything else in the middle of the park for a team. Under Amanda Cromwell, Killion’s passing range opened up in a big way, with the junior outshining even her much vaunted teammates in setting up the offense, with a team leading twelve assists being the result, including the slide rule pass to Ally Courtnall to equalize against Virginia in the College Cup. That Killion is developing a playmaking game should be frightening to opponents, considering the Bruin was one of the game’s best defensive midfielders before, winning raves for her play in the Pac-12 and at 2012’s U20 World Cup. Killion won’t be the potential franchise cornerstone that Morgan Brian will be, but she will be an important part of the puzzle somewhere in 2015.

4. Abby Dahlkemper – D – UCLA

With the graduation of Kassey Kallman, Dahlkemper is now the nation’s #1 defender, and it seems insane that she missed out on the U20 World Cup last time around. Dahlkemper won All-American plaudits as a rookie and will have a chance of finishing her career as a four-time All American should she play up to her potential next season. If she can help lead the Bruins to another national title, Dahlkemper would potentially go down as one of the best defenders in college soccer history. She’s the complete package on the pitch, powerful in the air and with enough pace to trouble just about any college attacker. Her sense of positioning and timing were on display for all to see at the College Cup as she made countless interceptions and blocks for UCLA’s cause and figures to do the same at the next level. It’ll be a shock if she doesn’t go in the Top 5 come next January.

5. Sam Mewis – MF – UCLA

Confounds and dazzles in equal measure. There’s no question that the gangly Massachusetts native has the potential to be a dominant player at this, and the next, level. At the same time though, it’d be a stretch to say that Mewis has lived up to the hype of being one of the very best prospects coming into the college ranks despite winning all-league honors in three seasons in Westwood and helping the Bruins to a national title this year, which still helped up her stock at any rate. Six goals and nine assists (especially with her usage rates), isn’t about to set the blood racing, but Mewis’ contributions in the middle of the park can’t all be quantified by box scores. If she stars in 2014, I could easily see her as the #2 pick. If she doesn’t excel, she might slip out of the first round.

6. Katelyn Rowland – GK – UCLA

Picked up the crown as the nation’s best goalkeeper from the graduated AD Franch and seems set to run with it after a breakout season in 2013 as a junior for the national champions. Has ideal size for a keeper at the next level and is an elite shot stopper capable of covering the entire frame of the goal, including the upper corners, naturally a difficult zone to protect for many female keepers. Surging reputation has helped install her as the U.S. U20’s #1, and a strong performance in the Fall’s U20 World Cup could put Rowland into the mix as a contender for the full USWNT’s #1 shirt once Hope Solo departs. She’ll probably have another superb collegiate season as well, with an experienced backline in front of her, meaning she’s this class’ top goalkeeper.

7. Danielle Colaprico – MF – Virginia

The secret’s out. Colaprico had flown under the radar as one of the nation’s most underrated players for a few seasons, though five goals and nine assists as a sophomore certainly had momentum rolling towards the Freehold native going into 2013. As a junior, Colaprico put in an All-America season, ticking home thirteen assists and adding a handful of goals as she proved another deadly weapon in Virginia’s quiver. The right winger has made a habit of terrorizing full-backs with her forays to the endline and her crosses, and she seems a perfect fit for Virginia’s possession and short passing ethos. Morgan Brian’s the one everyone will focus on in 2014, but scouts would do well to keep Colaprico in mind in the first round in January.

8. Megan Campbell – D – Florida State

AKA Queen of the Long Throw. Her cannon-like throws netted her many of her thirteen assists on the season as opposing defenders had zero answers for Campbell hurling it in to FSU’s massive bodies in the box. Campbell’s more than a party piece though, as she also immediately proved herself to be one of the nation’s top full-backs in her first season at this level, taking her post as the left-back on one of the nation’s best backlines. Irish international figures to be in demand overseas though, meaning she may well opt to get a paycheck back in Europe. She looks like an ideal potential pro on these shores though, and avoiding a second-year slump could see her as a first round pick.

9. Arin Gilliland – D/F – Kentucky

Wildcats needed an offensive spark this season, meaning Gilliland got her offense on up top this year as UK’s scoring talisman. She did her part against the big clubs, netting seven goals against RPI Top 100 teams, but her usage stats are poor for a forward, netting one goal in every eight shots and not putting forty percent of her shots on goal. All it means is that Gilliland’s future at the next level is likely to be at left-back, where she figures to be one of this class’ top options. Has ideal size and pace for a full-back at the next level and clearly has a nose for goal. A difference maker, and she could solidify her spot as a first rounder if she can spur UK on to new heights in 2014.

10. Daphne Corboz – MF – Georgetown

Diminutive midfielder obviously rekindles memories of Georgetown legend Ingrid Wells thanks to her size (or lack thereof) and playmaking ability for the Hoyas. Had ten goals with Wells here as a rookie but really broke out as the team’s offensive leader a year later by netting eighteen goals and eight assists for the free scoring Georgetown team. Influence was still strong as a junior, but Corboz missed a handful of games early in the season through injury. Her goal total was cut to seven, but she upped her assist count to thirteen as the Hoyas continued to score goals without abandon. Bad break to be in class with other top #10s in form of Brian and Mewis, but that just means Corboz could be a sleeper past round one.

11. Ally Courtnall – D – UCLA

Talk about unlikely seasons. Courtnall went from walking away from the game to potentially being a first round pick in next year’s draft. Courtnall took a while to work herself back to match fitness after rejoining the team at the beginning of the year, but the full-back was in irrepressible form by the end of the season at the College Cup, where her name was on everyone’s lips after two scintillating performances at right-back. Runs like a gazelle, obvious from her track experience at UCLA, and has the instincts to go for the jugular in front of goal, best seen in scoring the equalizer against Virginia in Cary. If she can do it consistently as a senior, this ranking might seem conservative come next January.

12. Sofia Huerta – F – Santa Clara

After two years of scratching the surface of her potential, Huerta exploded for sixteen goals as a junior. The Mexican international already looks like a key part of her nation’s future and should be key for club next year as well, as Santa Clara tries to overcome some foreboding losses from this year’s side. Usage rate is a mixed bag, with a pretty good shots on goal ratio, though her shots per goal mark is a bit more middling. She’s shown she can score against top opposition though, which should hold her in good stead, as she’ll be a marked woman next season. If she can show she can fight through the waves of defense bound to come her way, she might just creep up into the first round.

13. Jannelle Flaws – F – Illinois

It’s pretty obvious that Flaws can score goals after her record shattering 2013 season for the Illini. But despite all those goals, there are always going to be questions about her knees after missing two complete seasons through injury thus far. After missing all of 2012, Flaws went goal crazy as a junior, upstaging even Vanessa DiBernardo en route to scoring twenty-three times. That record was against a bunch of schmucks either. Flaws led DI with an unfathomable eighteen goals against RPI Top 100 teams. Her usage rate isn’t exactly great, but when you’re scoring that many goals against that many quality teams, how can you argue with it? Another twenty goal season, preferably healthy, would surely have her in first round discussion, though theoretically she could get a sixth year of eligibility having missed two full seasons through injury.

14. Jaelene Hinkle – D – Texas Tech

All-American defender is one of the most dangerous full-backs in the game with her ability to plow up the line resulting in six assists this past season. Has fifteen in three seasons here and has been part of the generation that has turned the Red Raiders into a program of repute after so many years of struggle. Colorado native can play on the left or the right which only increases her value and should be an extra chip in her favor considering this looks like the best class of full-backs in recent memory. Leading the Red Raiders to silverware or a deep NCAA Tournament would only help her chances of climbing into the first round.

15. Stephanie McCaffrey – F – Boston College

BC cranks out offensive talent like nobody’s business, and McCaffrey could be another draft pick that comes off the board early in 2015. Had an uneven start to her college career as a reserve in 2011 but began to show her potential with a ten goal season in 2012. Naturally drew a ton more defensive attention this past year but showed that when she was feeling it, she’s damn near unstoppable, blistering Hofstra for two goals and four assists in their crazy win over the Pride. McKenzie Meehan’s probably the better pure scorer on BC, but McCaffrey’s probably the more dangerous player all-around, and she’s got the passing range to be a threat even when the defense sinks down on her. Could creep into the first round with a big 2014.

16. Meghan Streight – MF/D – Texas A&M

In a class with so many great attacking midfield options, Streight looks like one of the best defensive midfielders to pick from. She was moved to center-back this past season to help stabilize the Aggie defense and performed admirably but isn’t likely to find a long-time home there in the pros due to her 5’5″ frame. Despite size, is deceptively strong in the air and capable of being a threat on set pieces. Played at an All-American level as a sophomore at defensive midfielder and figures to get a chance to be an elite ball winner at the next level. She’d get more chances to answer questions about her ability to play there if she moves back into midfield next season, but the Aggies might yet need her on the backline.

17. Sabrina D’Angelo – GK – South Carolina

Considered by many to be the future #1 for Canada, as well as one of the college game’s top goalkeepers. Made a gigantic splash as a rookie, immediately making her mark with the SEC’s co-Defensive Player of the Year award as a rookie. Sophomore season was a bit of a disappointment, as the Welland native was not at the top of her game upon returning from the U20 World Cup. Made up for it and then some this past season, again staking her claim as one of the nation’s best. Athletic, explosive shot stopper with great feet that makes it an easy decision to let her take free kicks in her own end. Lone knock is occasional lapses in decision making, but that figures to improve with experience.

18. Kristin Grubka – D/MF – Florida State

Hey, Florida State’s other center-back is pretty damn good as well. Capable as either a center-back or as a defensive midfielder, Grubka figures to grade out as the former in the pros thanks to her massive frame that allows her to battle with the game’s most physical forwards. It also makes her an inviting target on set pieces, especially long throws, with the junior having netted twelve goals throughout, most of them from dead ball situations. The big question is how much playing besides Kassey Kallman aided her and how well Grubka plays without her as center-back partner in 2014. If she proves up to the task, she could creep into the first round in 2015’s draft.

19. Lynn Williams – F – Pepperdine

Can run like she’s been shot out of a cannon, which certainly works in her favor. What doesn’t work in her favor is perennially shocking usage numbers. To sum it up, Williams takes a ton of shots and doesn’t score a ton of goals. She was at least able to put over half her shots on target for the first time of her career this past season, but scoring once every eight shots doesn’t exactly bode well for her chances at the next level. Williams has scored against fairly decent competition though, and you sense that if the light really goes on, she’ll be devastating. The clock is ticking though.

20. Nicole Setterlund – MF – Washington State

Seems like it was forever and a day ago since she was proclaimed Canada’s next big thing as a youth player. Made a relatively big splash as a rookie in 2011 but really made the leap last season in turning into one of the nation’s most formidable midfielders. Hadn’t been much in front of goal her first two seasons in Pullman, but exploded into life last season, scoring eight times, including five in league play for the surprising Cougars. Has fantastic size for the position and no shortage of upside, meaning she’ll certainly be in the race for allocation money in 2015.

21. Jessie Ayers – MF – Colorado College

Might be one of the nation’s best kept secrets, though you wonder how much longer that’ll last if she keeps lighting it up. Ayers was an immediate hit for the Tigers as a rookie in 2011 and has kept it up since, winning All-American honors a year later after a seven goal, four assist showing. Those scoring exploits paled in comparison to last year though, when Ayers blasted home thirteen goals, needing just thirty-nine shots to do so, an incredible efficiency mark. When you consider she still could improve her shots on goal rate, it’s frightening to think how many goals Ayers could pound home. While the top group of forwards looks generally set in stone, she might just be a sleeper for the middle rounds.

22. Shea Groom – MF/F – Texas A&M

A joy to watch with the ball on her feet. Had something of a slow start to her college career after injury cut short a promising freshman season but has been one of the nation’s most exciting players to watch since. Really found her scoring touch as a junior this year, netting fourteen goals for the free scoring Aggies while adding seven assists to the cause. She’s definitely not going to be a top scoring option at the next level, as her usage rate was poor, and she did a lot of her best work against lesser sides. But her craftiness and versatility may make her a hot commodity next January.

23. Satara Murray – D – North Carolina

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but Murray’s combination of size and strength probably has scouts salivating ahead of her senior season in Chapel Hill. The surest thing for North Carolina the past three years on a defense that’s been in constant flux thanks to injuries. Played to the right in North Carolina’s 3-4-3, but it’s highly unlikely she doesn’t end up at center-back at the next level. With the Heels likely to be in something of a transition mode after the departure of Dunn and Ohai, it’ll be up to veterans like Murray to provide the leadership the side so desperately needs. If she can up her game and lead North Carolina back up the rankings, she could see her draft status soar ahead of 2015.

24. Caprice Dydasco – D – UCLA

Probably thought of as UCLA’s “other” full-back after Ally Courtnall’s star turn at the College Cup, but Dydasco’s probably been the more consistent player the past three seasons for the Bruins. A three-year starter for the Bruins who’s usually good for a handful of assists each season as she marauds up the wing, Dydasco also hit for a few goals this season, showing an evolving offensive game. I’m not sure she’s got as much upside as some of the other full-backs in a stacked class for 2015, but Dydasco also is able to play on the left or the right, which is going to make her an invaluable asset for someone come next season in the NWSL.

25. Whitney Church – D/MF – Penn State

It has to be said that Church is a 5’5″ center-back, which definitely limits her chances of making it big right off the bat, though she has netted seven goals the past two seasons, meaning a transition to full-back may not be totally out of the question. Church isn’t a mug at center-back though, having won the Big Ten Defender of the Year award during PSU’s tremendous 2012 season and having played well for the club this past year as well. Played in the midfield as a rookie, so that’s another option for her professional ambitions. Hard to envision her just fading away after three great seasons thus far, so it might just be a matter of finding her niche at the next level.

26. Casey Morrison – D – Boston College

If this were any other class, Morrison would probably be a Top 15 prospect, such is the demand for defenders, but 2015 is stacked to the rafters with backline talent. Morrison herself has proven to be a key cog at center-back for three years here, though it’s certainly been a trial by fire on an inconsistent defense against some of the nation’s best defenses. It’s led to Morrison looking like one of the nation’s best defenders at times and like just another face in the crowd at others. I think her stock could go up a bit on a loaded BC team in 2014, but barring something spectacular, I think the middle rounds might be as good as it gets for the center-back in 2015’s draft.

27. Rachel Tejada – F – Illinois State

Scores, scores, and scores. The terror du jour of the Midwest the past three seasons has seen her goals total dip in each season, but what do you expect when you get a reputation as one of the nation’s top strikers? Twenty-one goals on her debut season in 2011 opened up plenty of eyes, and she hasn’t disappointed since in a volatile Illinois State attack. If you want to quibble, her usage numbers aren’t that great, and she doesn’t have the pedigree against top teams as some of the other forwards in this class, though she has shown to be very dangerous off the box score against big clubs throughout her career. It’s a wide open class as far as forwards are concerned, meaning another twenty goal season might see her rise to the top of the striker class.

28. Sam Scolarici – F – Hofstra

I suspect Hofstra fans believed they had a player in Scolarici when she netted fifteen goals combined in her first two years. She scored eighteen in 2013. She had some issues putting the ball on frame, not putting fifty percent of her shots on goal, but she also needed just sixty-nine shots to score all those goals. While Scolarici didn’t post those goals against top opposition more often than not, you have to keep in mind that the Pride don’t exactly play a murderer’s row in league play. With partner in offense Leah Galton also back in 2014, Scolarici could again light it up and make a case for herself as a pro prospect.

29. Jade Seabrook – D – Navy

Let’s be real, Seabrook, and all other service academy players, probably have more important things to think about than professional soccer. But let’s humor me for a minute. The Academies usually produce quality soccer players, and Seabrook could be one of the best in recent memory. A two-time All-American and two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, Seabrook could leave Annapolis as one of the university’s most decorated players. With Navy set to contend again in 2014, Seabrook could make her mark as one of the nation’s best unheralded defenders yet again.

30. Hannah Wilkinson – F – Tennessee

Two years in, and the marriage between Wilkinson and Tenneesee may not be working out particularly well for either party. Was absolutely unplayable at times as a collegiate rookie in 2012, using her brute force and deceptive pace to make SEC defenders look like rag dolls as she bounced off and skated around them. But Wilkinson’s continued trips abroad to fulfill international duties with the Footballing Ferns didn’t exactly prove to be great for her form at UT or her club’s form for that matter, with the Lady Vols slumping and her goals going down despite her shots going up. She’s obviously going to get paid somewhere, but the New Zealand international desperately needs a big season in 2014 to harbor hopes of an NWSL contract.

31. Chioma Ubogagu – F/MF – Stanford

Your guess is as good as mine in regards to the Texan, who saw her draft status plummet after a somewhat underwhelming junior season for the rebuilding Card. Has been struggling to live up to expectations after her bravura freshman season. Goal total cut in half as a sophomore as she missed a chunk of the season on U20 World Cup duty, but worse was yet to come as a junior. Ubogagu ended up taking sixty-four shots and scoring just twice, raising more questions about her finishing ability at the next level. Still managed seven assists, but her role was still being tweaked noticeably near the end of the season, Ubogagu being dragged back into the attacking midfield role. It might be a role akin to the one Crystal Dunn filled for North Carolina, with Ubogagu’s dribbling skill potentially making her a nightmare to defend if she gets running full steam. The bloom is already off the rose though, and she’ll need a big senior season to climb back up this board.

32. Havana Solaun – MF – Florida

This is a projection taking into account Solaun suffering a serious knee injury in November in the SEC Tournament. Before then, Solaun had looked like filling Erika Tymrak’s shoes capably as the Gators’ playmaker in chief in 2013. Solaun had previously been a solid contributor for Florida in two seasons but had only looked like turning into a star as a junior, finishing with eight goals and nine assists in the club’s high powered offense. If Solaun can prove she’s healthy and keep up the production as a senior, she could be a top half pick in next year’s draft, though that’s far from a given.

33. Melanie Pickert – D – Iowa

Three-year starter at center-back for the Hawkeyes has been a major part of the big turnaround the club has gone through in recent years. Had looked like a burgeoning offensive contributor in 2012 with a handful of assists, but nobody could have envisioned her breakout season last year. Crazily enough, Pickert ended up taking fifty shots and scored seven goals, the best mark on the team, though three of those were from the penalty spot. Expecting that many goals again in her senior season might be a bit much, but Pickert still looks like a defender to watch in 2014.

34. Taylor Uhl – F – Stanford

Looked like one of the nation’s elite forwards after two seasons with Minnesota, netting a whopping twenty-one goals with a great usage rate as a sophomore. But there was some hesitation as to the fit of Uhl as she transferred to Stanford, with the new relationship looking like a tenuous fit between the big, powerful striker and the short passing Card. Everything looked to be going swimmingly for a while, with Uhl scoring ten goals by early October, but then she ended up on the bench for a good chunk of the league season, not scoring against until the NCAA Tournament. It’s clear that Uhl has talent, but if her rocky second half of 2013 carries over into 2014, her draft stock could suffer severely.

35. Jamia Fields – F/MF – Florida State

The proverbial box of chocolates, as in you’re never going to know what you’re going to get. At her best, she’s terrorized opposing full-backs with her athleticism and skills on the ball, barreling down the line in search of the perfect cross for the club’s central attackers. But Fields also can drift out of games at times and offers fleeting displays of end product herself, with her five goals this season being a career high. She did chip in with eight assists and had a fine College Cup though, so it may just be a matter of producing consistently for the Noles.

36. Meg Casscells-Hamby – MF – Harvard

Another of Harvard’s current golden generation that threatens to turn the rest of the Ivy League into the Crimson’s plaything. Came to the club as a highly coveted youth prospect and held her own with the Crimson early, even netting six goals from midfield as a sophomore in 2012. Probably was a bit down last season, especially on offense with just two goals and three assists, but remains one of the region’s most dangerous midfielders. Not sure how much further up the board she can move, but she should definitely get a look late next January.

37. Riley Ridgik – MF – Wake Forest

When life gives you lemons, you turn your defensive midfielder into an eleven goal scorer, I suppose. Ridgik, a two-year starter as one of the water carriers in the Wake Forest midfield, had scored three goals in two years for the Demon Deacons but found herself in the unlikely position of being the team’s go-to scoring option when injuries hit. Netted a whopping eleven goals in the process, many of them against top competition. Usage rates reflect she’s not really a true center-forward, but if she keeps scoring like one, she could rise higher on this list.

38. Lo’eau LaBonta – MF/F – Stanford

Club captain looks like a super sleeper for a Stanford side that suffered an atypical down season as they rebuilt in 2013. Split time between midfield and forward as a sophomore but seems most likely to line up in the middle of the park at the next level thanks to her creativity and vision. Raw stats weren’t particularly endearing as a junior with just four goals and zero assists, unheard of for a Cardinal playmaker, but her frontline was certainly temperamental. Still needs to have a great 2014 to rise any higher on this board.

39. Kelley Monogue – MF/F – Texas A&M

Another player who has been besieged by injuries that have cut into her game. Looked like a potential first round pick after a freshman season that saw her net nineteen goals and nine assists to look like a potential superstar. A knee injury and two up and down seasons later, and Monogue’s professional future is very much up in the air. Was lightning in a bottle off the bench in 2012 but seemed to struggle as an attacking midfielder last year. Has gamebreaking ability but usage rates were appalling last season, with less than 40% shots on goal and just six goals in ninety-nine shots.

40. Mayme Conroy – F – Nebraska

The good news is that Nebraska wasn’t as reliant on Conroy for offense last season. The bad news may be that Nebraska wasn’t as reliant on Conroy for offense last season, driving her numbers down slightly despite a relatively equal number of shots in both 2012 and 2013. Usage stats on the whole need improvement, especially woeful shot on target ratio, but she often did the business against big clubs. Is a typical Nebraska forward, i.e. big, physical, and a handful for opposing defenders. Should get a shot if she can keep scoring as a senior.

41. Kaysie Clark – MF – Missouri

Midfielder was thought of as a potential program changer upon signing before 2011 but hasn’t quite hit those heights in Columbia yet. Has been a steadfast presence in the middle of the park for the Tigers in three seasons and led the team with six goals this past year, though that’s probably not a great thing, considering she’s not an out and out scorer. Was one of the few Tigers to emerge with their reputations enhanced after a temperamental season and may need to drive Mizzou to a great 2014 to stand a chance of moving up this board.

42. Taylor Leach – D – South Carolina

Had a stuttering start to her college career, missing out through injury in 2010 before being used as a reserve forward a year later. Found her home on the backline since though, using her size to great effect as a space eater in the middle for two seasons. Grew into one of the SEC’s best defenders and is also capable of a run out at full-back if necessary, though her height makes her an ideal center-back at the next level. Netted three times as a junior, showing she’s got a nose for goal as well.

43. Megan Oyster – D – UCLA

The “other” starter on UCLA’s million dollar backline is certainly no mug and has a chance to give the Bruins four defensive draftees come next January. Lost in the all the plaudits for her teammates is the fact that Oyster herself is a U20 international. Finally locked down a starting role as a junior and turned into one of the league’s better center-backs. Of course, she’ll probably be best remembered for setting up the national title winner against Florida State, but there’s much more to her game than that, a fact which could be even more apparent as a senior.

44. Sam Harder – D – Denver

The leagues may have changed (a lot) over the past three years, but Harder’s excellence on the backline has not. The Centennial native has started here for three seasons, excelling at center-back, though standing at 5’4″, a likely move to full-back is in order if Harder’s to be a factor at the next level. Fortunately, she’s shown some offensive skills as well, assisting on seven goals as a rookie and blasting in a free kick against hated rivals Colorado in 2012. The top line of defenders in this class is occupied, but Harder could edge towards the Top 25 with another great season.

45. Kelsey Haycook – F – La Salle

A huge part of the offensive dynamo La Salle’s turned into the past half decade. Was one of the nation’s most impressive freshmen in 2011 with a stunning sixteen goals to fuel the Explorers. Shook off a bit of a sophomore slump to rebound in a big way last year, scoring fifteen goals and adding eleven assists, including recording points in the club’s first seven games and in nine of La Salle’s first ten. Usage rate, especially shots on target, needs improvement, but figures to get a shot somewhere if she keeps scoring.

46. Cara Walls – F – Wisconsin

Picked a rather inopportune time for a down season, as Walls saw her usage rate increase and her goal total stay stagnant, putting just under one in every seven shots in the back of the net, a disappointing number considering she was absolutely deadly in front of goal the two seasons before, combining for sixteen goals on sixty-five shots. Shot on goal rate also slipped noticeably and has declined both years since her excellent rookie season. Crunch year for her and club in 2013 and draft stock depends on big rebound.

47. Kelly Cobb – F – Duke

Alaskan took the college soccer world by storm as a rookie in 2011, netting eleven goals and adding nine assists to take her spot near the top of the rankings of the 2015 class. And then the injuries hit. Cobb’s 2012 was ruined by foot and knee injuries that relegated her to a shadow of herself after returning from the U20 World Cup. Led the Blue Devils in scoring with seven goals as a junior and stayed healthy but was still in rather disappointing form with painful usage rates. Class of forwards isn’t so strong that a big season wouldn’t see her leap up the rankings, but the jury is definitely out after last two seasons.

48. Georgia Kearney-Perry – D – Saint John’s (NY)

Red Storm finally got a healthy season out of the Brit, and it wasn’t exactly a coincidence that they had a great season. ACL injury as a rookie and a head injury as a sophomore stymied her development, but Kearney-Perry proved to be one of the Big East’s top defenders this year for a surging Saint John’s (NY) side. Also capable in midfield but has made a home for herself in the defense for now. Another season like 2013 might not just have NWSL teams calling but the England WNT as well after the nation’s brass finally began recognizing the talents of collegians abroad.

49. Kate Schwindel – F – West Virginia

Call this a very conservative projection, as Schwindel’s torn ACL late in her junior season may provide a brief but potentially serious crimp in her ambitions of being at the top of this class. Before the injury setback, Schwindel was looking like one of the nation’s most promising forwards, having cracked double digits in goals for the first time with WVU. Numbers against top opposition are promising, but usage rate right now is not so hot. She’ll probably be the focus of the offense next year if healthy, and a strong season could see her move towards the top half of the draft come January.

50. Jordan Day – GK – Texas A&M

Towering keeper not quite at the elite level of this goalkeeping class, but seems to be emerging as the best of the rest for 2015. Aggies always seem to produce capable netminders, and Day’s no different, a fearless and experienced keeper who has a great command of her area and is a fine shot stopper. Questions over how much upside she really has, but she’ll be playing behind an experienced defense for the most part in 2014, meaning her senior season could be her best yet, propelling her up these rankings.

51. Caroline Brawner – MF – Colgate

One of the nation’s brightest mid-major prospects for three seasons has delivered on the promise she came to Colgate with before the 2011 season. Has been a key figure here from day one and had a big breakout sophomore campaign in front of goal, netting seven times. Didn’t quite match that total in 2013 but probably had her best all around season with four goals in four assists as Colgate continued to push on. Central midfielder loves to be at the heart of play and is a real nice sleeper for the 2015 class.

52. Meredith Speck – D/MF – Yale

Looked like one of the nation’s most promising prospects after a rookie season that saw her emerge as one of the Ivy League’s best rookies. A U23 team call-up was in the cards in 2012, but an injury plagued season stemmed her momentum until a bravura junior season. Capable either in defense or midfield, though she’s carved out a niche in the former spot while also pitching in with a handful of assists last year. If she can stay healthy again, she could be one of next season’s big risers.

53. Quinny Truong – MF/F/D – Rice

Rice’s Swiss army knife can do it just about anywhere on the pitch, though she seems most comfortable as the heartbeat for the Owls in midfield. Tireless competitor who had best offensive season yet as a junior with five goals and four assists for the club. Versatility and intelligence likely gets her at least a look if she wants it, though she may need to lead Rice to a big 2014 season after last year’s erratic displays to truly make a big charge up the board.

54. Tatiana Saunders – GK – Dartmouth

English eyes are probably watching the development of Saunders closely, as the New York native may be their next #1 if all goes well. Already a longtime member of England’s youth international setup, Saunders was a big time youth prospect stateside and looked the part through two years at Dartmouth, looking like one of the nation’s most promising keepers through two seasons with the Big Green. Tailed off a little bit this season and probably isn’t going to round into an elite keeper soon but a bounce back year could see her as a late round prospect for 2015.

55. Annie Kunz – F – Texas A&M

Something of a frustrating figure for the Aggies through three seasons. Capable of being a dominant scorer for the SEC side if she can harness all of her physical gifts and has shown as such, netting twenty-seven combined goals her first two seasons with the club. Last year was one blighted by injury though, and Kunz was never really the same after she returned, finishing with just five goals on the season. Will likely find herself back in the Top 25 or so if she can get the goals going again but probably remains a project at the next level.

56. Demi Stokes – F – South Florida

A big beneficiary of the regime change for the English WNT, as the former U20 international was recently recalled to a training camp for the full squad. Stokes hasn’t exactly set the college game on fire thus far though, netting just six goals last season, probably her best at this level. The Brit’s reputation has undoubtedly gone up given her recall to the full squad, but she’ll likely need a big senior season to stay this high on the board.

57. Kylie Davis – MF/F – Memphis

Canadian U20 international has been a steady contributor for Memphis’ legion of international players for three years now. Club captain for the Tigers was steady but unspectacular offensively for two seasons but did see a slight dip in her numbers last season. She managed four assists against AAC foes though and may tick back upwards after acclimating to stiffer opposition in the club’s new league. A longshot for allocation money but a big season might sway some opinions.

58. India Robinson – MF – Furman

Every great offense needs someone pulling the strings, and with Furman, that’s the irreplaceable Robinson. Combined for sixteen assists in two seasons here before 2013, but few could have expected seventeen assists in a junior season that put her amongst the national leaders. Having players like Stephanie DeVita and Carlie Couch to pass to helps, but still, those types of numbers will catch anyone’s attention. Could be a small school sleeper du jour with another season like 2013’s.

59. Cloe Lacasse – F – Iowa

Canadian’s rise to prominence has largely mirrored that of her club’s from the depths of obscurity. Twenty-five goals combined in her first two seasons with Iowa had many speaking of LaCasse as a top notch forward in a class lacking attacking depth beyond the elite prospects. Power outage as a junior certainly adds a lot of questions though, as she netted just six times despite maintaining the same general amount of shots. That might point to Iowa not being as reliant on her, but it also might not help her draft fortunes.

60. Tatiana Coleman – F – UCF

Wore out her welcome in Auburn but kept on scoring at UCF in her junior season, netting ten goals to lead the Knights’ charge. Shots per goal ratio is average, but Coleman put a nice amount of her shots on frame and boasts a burst that lets her power past opposing defenders with ease. Could theoretically play center forward or in a wide attacking role at the next level. Will likely rise up this board in a big way with another double digit goal season as a senior.

61. Alexa Newfield – MF/F – North Carolina

Hard to fathom she’s the same player that looked like turning into one of the nation’s deadliest in front of goal for two seasons, culminating with eighteen goals in 2011 at Georgia. A few seasons later at North Carolina, her professional ambitions stand on the brink after two seasons destroyed by injury, including her debut effort in Chapel Hill this year. More damning may be the zero goals scored this season when she was on the pitch, something that will have to change if Newfield’s not to keep falling down this list.

62. Brooke Gilbert – D – Texas

Key piece of the puzzle for a Texas side trying to rise back into the discussion on a national level. Has been a starter from day one after coming in as an experienced youth international for the U.S. but hasn’t quite reached those heights in Austin. Proved to be a rather surprising force in front of goal with three game winners this season, tops for the team, though that may say more about UT’s lack of offense. Another solid season should have her in the conversation as a late round pick in 2015.

63. Cristin Granados – MF – South Florida

Another of Costa Rica’s golden generation that is leading her nation up the CONCACAF hierarchy. Has won honors in three leagues on two teams after transferring from VCU to South Florida before the 2013 season. A steady source of a handful of goals a season and a sparkplug in midfield for the Bulls this past season. Also not showing up on USF’s roster as of January, so her status looks to be up in the air right now.

64. Stefanie Scholz – F – Rutgers

She of the massive shoes to fill, as Scholz will try to be the focal point of the offense next season with Jonelle Filigno gone. Not that Scholz hasn’t already done her part with a fine 2013 campaign. After not proving to be much in front of goal in two seasons, Scholz exploded for ten goals in 2013. Needs to put more shots on frame and net against the creme de la creme, but there’s room to move up these rankings if she proves she’s not a one-hit wonder.

65. Kelly Lewers – F – Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Bubbled with potential for two seasons here but really only broke out as a junior here with nine goals here, two more than she had in two seasons combined. Usage rate stats aren’t that impressive though, probably indicating she’ll need another big step forward to maintain this ranking or move up. The good news is the Panthers are always contenders in the Horizon, meaning she should have plenty of scoring chances in 2014.

66. Eve Badana – GK – Drexel

A well-heeled traveler to say the least. Began as a Canadian U17 international, competing at the U17 World Cup but has made the switch to Ireland and has grown into the WNT’s #1. Back on these shores, Badana’s turned into a steadily impressive goalkeeper at this level for a Drexel side harboring ambitions of being a contender in the CAA. Not a top prospect but the type of keeper who could get a shot in camp and hang around a while.

67. Melissa Gavin – F – Yale

Hype that had built up after a big rookie season that featured six goals and seven assists subsided a bit in 2012 after an injury hit sophomore season. Got back in the saddle as a junior with eleven goals to lead the Yale attack. Usage numbers are passable, but Gavin’s going to need more against top opposition to creep higher on the board. Fortunately, every indication is she’s plenty capable of doing just that give enough opportunities.

68. Taylor Nelson – D – Long Beach State

Former midfielder was converted to the backline this season with fantastic results for the Beach in 2013. Playmaking skill still evident with her talent on the ball, even from the backline as a junior. Hard envisioning her back in midfield given her defensive success, and the backline should be even better in 2014 with a lot more experience after being gutted by attrition going into last year. Has plenty of upside as she learns the position even more as a senior.

69. Ashley Flinn – F – Miami (FL)

Was a marginal prospect until a breakout junior campaign that saw her score ten goals, often in late, heroic fashion. Has obviously taken a backseat to some of her ACC brethren, but her usage numbers are off the chart, especially for a big school prospect. Miami (FL)’s still in the middle of a rebuild, but the Michigan native looks like a late bloomer with upside who could rocket up the board with another double digit goal haul in 2014.

70. Emory Camper – F – William & Mary

Hulking forward made a big impression on a loaded Tribe side as a rookie, netting seven goals and seven assists despite starting just three times. An untimely sophomore slump stunted her progress in 2012, but Camper gained more of a foothold in the starting lineup and in front of goal last year, netting ten points for the Tribe. Usage stats aren’t bad, and neither was her record against big clubs in 2013. Size could be a big asset for a team looking for a project with big upside.

71. Katie Taylor – MF – Utah

It’s been more about graft than craft for Utah the past few years as they’ve climbed back up the ladder, but Taylor’s a talented player with a chance to get a shot at the next level if she can keep developing. Has seen time at both midfield and up front for the Utes, but nobody’s going to be confusing her for a top line predator as a pro. Probably needs to show more offensively to get a look, but with a rapidly improving Utah team next year, that may not be out of reach.

72. Katie Thyken – MF – Minnesota

Has been plagued by a few niggling injuries throughout her career but has been a key part to the Gophers’ plans when healthy. That included this season, when Thyken took up the role of scoring talisman, as she finished three goals ahead of any of her teammates with seven as a junior. You suspect she may function best when not the center of attention though, so if the Gophers can find a true frontline leader, she may flourish as a senior.

73. Kaeli Vandersluis – MF – Colorado College

Teammate Jessie Ayers tends to get most of the headlines in Colorado Springs, but Vandersluis herself had a breakout season for the title hunting Tigers in 2013. Nine goals and nine assists showcased the versatility of her game and underlined her growth as a scoring threat. Has All-American potential and could be a key to a potential run towards multiple NCAA Tournament victories next season for a talented Tiger side.

74. Mary Luba – MF – Marquette

Likely a name to remember for 2014, as the one-time super sub showed her goalscoring chops last year as she finally cracked the starting lineup fifteen times. Netted eight times as a junior after seven goals in two years combined before. With Maegan Kelly moving on before Luba’s senior season, the opportunity is there for her to take hold of the offense. If she can take advantage of her chance, she could be one of the sleepers of this draft class.

75. Kelsey Holbert – MF – Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Hit the ground running for the Panthers as a rookie and has turned into one of the Horizon League’s best midfielders since, winning First Team honors the past two years. Not necessarily a goal or assist machine for Milwaukee thus far, though she has also been good for a handful of each a season each year. Likely to rise towards the Top 50 with another consistent season next year.

76. Emily Dzik – D – Eastern Michigan

Big part of Eastern Michigan’s rising fortunes after so many years of middling results in the MAC behind Central Michigan and Toledo. Made an instant impression here as a rookie and has turned into one of the league’s elite defenders in the past two years. EMU should contend for honors again, meaning the Top 50 could be in sight with another strong season as a senior in 2014.

77. Jade Flory – F – Morehead State

Youngstown State was a hopeless cause, so the Pennsylvania native made a smart career decision and moved to Morehead State, a decision which reaped instant dividends for player and club. Being named co-captain in first season at new club speaks volumes, as does her tremendous usage stats. If she can show well against a top club or two, she might just be a sleeper to watch in the later rounds in 2015.

78. Pia Rijsdijk – F – Alabama

Dutch youth international looked like a major coup for the Tide upon signing with them before the 2011 season and has been good but not great thus far. Returns of seven goals the past two seasons isn’t overwhelming on paper, but she’s not exactly playing with the creme de la creme talent-wise either, with much of Alabama’s vaunted incoming talent having yet to set the world on fire. Could be the type of player that blossoms after college days are over.

79. Maryam Huseini – MF – La Salle

Norwegian has been part of a burgeoning European contingent at La Salle that has helped fuel an attacking juggernaut in the A10 the past half-decade. Youth international took a while to find her feet at this level, being a super sub in 2012 before gaining a few more starts this year and racking up thirteen assists this year. Needs to hammer down full-time starting role to stand a chance of climbing further before 2015.

80. Allie Sirna – D – Tennessee

The good news is that Sirna has been a three-year starter on the backline for the Lady Vols and enjoyed her best season yet as a junior in 2013. The bad news is that Sirna’s a 5’3″ center-back, something that’s obviously not going to fly at the next level. She’s going to have to make the move out wide to full-back if she’s going to stand a chance at the next level, though she hasn’t shown any attacking impetus in three years thus far (zero shots).

81. Rebekah Kurle – MF – Portland

Big smasher in the middle has held it down in the center of midfield, shielding the back four for Portland for no small amount of time the past three years for the Pilots. Showed more of an offensive spark as a sophomore than in the years between but still largely a water carrier in midfield for Garrett Smith’s side. Junior year probably wasn’t as effective as other two, and defensive midfielders don’t get much love, so she may need to be dominant in 2014 for a big move up the ladder.

82. Sharis Lachappelle – MF – Texas

Has endured something of a star-crossed career thus far. Looked like a decent, if not spectacular talent with Houston as a rookie but also suffered a broken leg before moving to Texas before the 2012 season. Has raised her game with the Horns since joining up but seemed grossly miscast as a top scoring option this past year, taking most shots on club. Could be markedly better if Horns get a true forward to lead the line.

83. Kim Marshall – D – Wake Forest

No ordinary mug is going to start three seasons at center-back in the ACC, much less for as good a team as Wake Forest without being quality, so it’s hardly a surprise that Marshall should crack this board. There might be a question or two about Marshall’s upside, as after a strong rookie season, she hasn’t quite developed into the elite defender some thought she might be. Could still rise higher with a big senior season.

84. Chelsea Leiva – F – Florida International

Something of a question mark right now, as she was a senior this year but missed the entire campaign. This assumes (always dangerous) that Leiva will be coming back for a fifth season in 2014. If she does, she might be a real sleeper to jump into the Top 50, as the Royal Palm Beach native was coming off a 2012 season that saw her score eleven goals and add seven assists. Excelling at a higher level in C-USA certainly wouldn’t hurt her cause.

85. Allie Metzler – D – Wright State

One of the Midwest’s rising stars after three progressively more impressive seasons for the Raiders. Another promising prospect from the Colorado pipeline who has taken her chances well with a perennially difficult Wright State side. Helping to get WSU over the hump and to some Horizon League silverware would certainly help her hopes of rising up this board.

86. Krystyna Freda – F – Winthrop

There’s something to be said for consistency, which Freda has in spades for the Eagles. She’s scored fourteen or more goals for three straight seasons, nailing seventeen as a junior last year for the perennial Big South contenders. Usage numbers are middle of the road, but what hurts Freda’s draft status most is a lack of goals against big name clubs. The scheduling gods don’t always work with the minnows, but a good showing or two as a senior against a big club could help her cause.

87. Emily Fredrikson – D – William & Mary

As steady as you like in the CAA, with the Tribe defender earning All-CAA Second Team three straight seasons. The Ashburn native was indefatigable as a junior last year, playing every minute on the backline for William & Mary. Still has some degree of upside, and if she reaches it as a senior, Fredrikson could well rise towards the Top 50 come the end of next season.

88. Krissy Dorre – F – Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Went from late freshman addition in 2011 to key offensive figure for this season’s Panthers side. Usage stats were a mixed bag despite breakout season in front of goal, netting ten times in less than fifty shots but also had an exceedingly poor ratio of shots on goal. More than anything Dorre needs to net some goals against bigger opposition as a senior to keep moving up the ranks on this board.

89. Hannah Keane – F – San Diego State

Was good, not great for two seasons here before becoming the face of the offense in 2013. Took her chance in scoring twelve goals, four times as many as any of her Aztec teammates. SDSU’s reliance on her was telling, and Keane’s usage stats and record against the bigger clubs the team played against wasn’t great however. This class of forwards isn’t much to shout about though, meaning a fifteen goal campaign could see her rocketing up the board.

90. Kai Miller – D – Boston University

Terriers defender had been a solid contributor for two seasons but hadn’t really distinguished herself from other talented mid-major defenders until a breakout season as a junior in 2013. Finished as one of the Patriot League’s top defenders as BU immediately contended for honors in their new conference home, leading a defense that kept sixteen clean sheets, a program record. More of the same, and she should at least get a look from the local teams come 2015.

91. Leigh Edwards – D – Texas A&M

Versatile wide player made her bones in her first two years here as a key reserve also able of filling in a vary of roles for the Aggies as a spot starter. Moved into the lineup full-time as a left-back and turned into one of the SEC’s standout defenders in her first year as a full-time starter. Not going to rise into the elite defender group but another strong season could see her move into the Top 50.

92. Kaitlyn Bassett – F – Jacksonville

Showed what she could do with a full season by enjoying a breakout campaign with the Dolphins after missing almost half of last year. Thirteen goals helped JU break Florida Gulf Coast’s stranglehold on league silverware. Usage stats were middle of the road and very much of a victim of the double edged sword of being a mid-major star, namely needing more chances to prove she can hack it against bigger opponents.

93. Amanda Jones – MF – Charlotte

The talisman for the 49ers’ hopes of rekindling the glory days of the past in the A10 in their new C-USA abode. Was Charlotte’s go to player offensively and boasted some decent usage numbers for a midfielder, though she doesn’t seem like the type to be an out-and-out forward at the next level. If she has Charlotte contending for C-USA silverware next season, her stock should soar.

94. Lauren Lazo – F – Princeton

Had a brilliant partnership in 2012 with current Chicago Red Star Jen Hoy, helping fire Princeton into the second round of the NCAA Tournament after a perfect Ivy League campaign. Slid back to Earth in 2013 with Hoy gone and Tyler Lussi the new focal point of the offense. If the chemistry with Lussi evolves, Lazo may well rise back up the board ahead of 2015.

95. Genevieve Richard – GK – Wisconsin

Former Canadian youth international came into Madison with sky high expectations but was looking like a flop after two seasons in which she was rooted to the bench. Only won full-time starting job this past season after setting the W-League on fire in the Summer. Needs a massive senior season to keep herself in frame for a shot at the pros on this continent.

96. Megan Dunnigan – D – Stephen F. Austin

Rising reputation as one of the region’s best mid-major defenders wasn’t harmed by the coaching change at SFA following 2012’s season. Quite an ask to break into upper echelon of this class’ defensive prospects, but Ladyjacks should contend for honors again in 2014, giving her a chance to at least work her way into later round conversation.

97. Angela Vultaggio – F – Eastern Michigan

Former MAC Freshman of the Year effectively made the leap as a junior, scoring thirteen goals for the title contending Eagles and winning league Offensive Player of the Year honors. Efficiency numbers were a mixed bag, and she didn’t do much against the stiffer competition EMU faced, so she’ll need to keep it rolling to move up on this list next year.

98. Kelsey Booth – MF/F – San Diego State

Unheralded cog in San Diego State’s fantastic 2012 season got a little more recognition as the Aztecs tried to reload after some critical losses in personnel. Never going to be the most explosive offensive option but could still work herself into draft contention for 2015 if she continues to grow in her senior season with the Mountain West club.

99. Paige Strahan – MF – Texas Tech

Looked like developing into a star in 2012 with eight goals, including five game winners for the improving Red Raiders but tailed off noticeably this season. Still played well despite seeing her goals total to five but needs a strong senior season to separate herself from the pack, though stealing spotlight from Beckie and Hinkle could prove difficult

100. Taylor Burke – GK – Florida

Track and field star for the Gators also looking to turn into a goalkeeper with professional ambitions. You can’t teach 6’1″, and Burke has the size and athleticism to turn into a goalkeeper of repute with a little luck. Still a very raw prospect though and needs time to develop at next level.

7 thoughts on “NWSL – 2015 Draft Class Top 100 – Bruins, Noles, & Cavs Everywhere

  1. Steve

    Would love to have seen a post-season college all-star match, featuring the 2014 top 25’s against this 2015 top 25. I’d actually favor the latter. Anyway, hard to disagree strongly with your ratings. A few quibbles or reactions: Grubka will likely go within first 10 to 12 picks, given her size and the near-professional program she plays for. McCaffrey’s athleticism is tremendous, she is cool in front of net, she can play back to goal, and I’d easily rate her ahead of Huerta. McCaffrey is much more likely to succeed in a fast, physical environment like the NWSL. As for Campbell, her throw gets headlines, but her left foot is truly golden. She also has a soccer brain — positioning, vision, decision-making, etc. Not sure how her status as an international will affect her draft, but I think she was easily the best left back in college soccer last year. Sam Mewis made quite an improvement in her fitness and mobility last year. I guess if an athlete like Averbuch can regularly start in the NWSL, then so can Mewis.

    Reply
    1. VaFan

      Just an educated guess here, but I think Averbuch’s limitation at the highest levels is her lack of quickness. She obviously is strong and technical and is capable of amazing strikes (she once scored from the center-circle at UNC), but we are now at a moment in the women’s game when things are shifting to quicker passing and possession, not to mention quicker foot-speed. Maybe the frantic pace of the NWSL will improve her quickness.
      I think Mewis the Younger has more potential than Averbuch and that she is more of a pure center-midfielder. One of the knocks on her has been her inconsistency, but even the best young players suffer from that early on.
      Maybe the most important quality is for a center-mid is the ability to make the players around her better and i think I see that in S. Mewis. Of course, it helps when she is surrounded at UCLA by blue-chip prospects.

      Reply
  2. Random

    I’m always curious as to why Dydasco doesn’t get more press. She is extremely consistent (which I think can be underrated) and very fast, she gets up and down the wings well, can dribble relatively well and is good at getting out of tight spaces. She seems to have improved each year, not by leaps and bounds, but steadily. I realize her size is a negative at only 5’3, but just curious as to why she isn’t viewed as having as big an upside? I guess my real question is from someone who isn’t a talent evaluator what is it that she does/doesn’t have that makes her less likely to succeed aside from size?

    Reply
  3. Kevin Lehey

    Kate Schwindel at #49? Do you have any idea that she played the whole year with a torn labrum in her right shoulder? The shoulder got so bad with the dislocations that she was unable to put it back herself when it dislocated on the field and she would come out and the doctor would put it back in place for her. The injury came lifting in June and she felt she could play the season without the operation. The shoulder got looser as season went on and the dislocations became more frequent She suffered a high ankle sprain the first preseason game against Rutgers and a pulled hamstring the fourth game of the season. Thru it all she never missed a game until the cheap shot by a Tech defender. Kate never was more then 70% the entire season but still contributed in spite of the run of bad luck. The ACL and Labrum have been taken care of and she’s looking forward to this season. Hopefully she will fair better then 49 by this years end. Go Mountaineers!

    Reply
  4. john

    Call me a nitpicker, but so far Averbuch has not played in NWSL. It will be interesting to see what role she plays for the Spirit. Her national team stock appears to be falling so a strong season would be advisable. Conversely her ability to play as both a defensive and attacking midfielder perhaps makes her a more valuable reserve at the international level. Time will tell.

    Reply
    1. Steve

      Well, based on all the comments from Spirit head coach Mark Parsons, Averbuch is pretty much his most important player. It even seems that she might wear the captain’s armband. So, she’s an NWSL regular, putatively.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *