NWSL Draft 2015 – The Declared Player Big Board (w/ Notes!)

I’ll be adding player profiles through the day on Thursday, so keep refreshing. Full mock draft coming late Thursday.

1. Morgan Brian – MF (AMC) – Virginia

The one time Golden Child is now a franchise player after making good on her massive potential. Brian struggled at first to meet lofty expectations but lifted Virginia to new heights as a junior and senior despite being unable to inspire the Cavs to a much coveted national title. Penchant for piercing balls to spring runners in the final third should make her a vital conduit of creativity at both international and club levels. Shooting was wayward this season, but Brian will likely be used more as a creator than a finishing option at the next level. A blue-chip prospect and a no-brainer at #1.

2. Sam Mewis – MF (AMC) – UCLA

Was Mewis’ breakout senior season real or a mirage? Mewis had often flattered to deceive for three seasons in Westwood, teasing her unlimited potential but seemingly unable to put it all together to turn into the superstar midfielder that so many thought she was capable of becoming. But the light bulb clicked on this season it seems, and Mewis put the offense on her back at times, netting eleven goals against RPI Top 100 teams and boasting decent efficiency stats for a midfielder. The UCLA star has the build (if not totally the strength yet) to survive the battles in midfield at the next level and could turn into a key cog in an offense with the right guidance.

3. Abby Dahlkemper – D (CB) – UCLA

The total package at center-back. Strong, mobile, and smart, the Bruins’ defensive talisman has spent the last four seasons neutralizing opposing forwards in clinical fashion. Dahlkemper’s anticipation and discipline were perhaps best exemplified against Florida State in 2013’s College Cup final, where she broke up foray after foray into the final third with icy cool aplomb. Dahlkemper perhaps isn’t as strong in the air as Kristin Grubka or as good going forward as someone like next class’ top defender, Emily Sonnett, but she’s damn good in just about every area necessary for a center-back to excel. Plug her into a backline and reap the rewards for a decade.

4. Sarah Killion – MF (DMC, MC, AMC) – UCLA

Killion certainly isn’t the most dynamic midfielder in this class, but she might be the most complete one available to teams. Killion can do it all, from being a connective element between defense and attack, to being a playmaker in the final third, to shielding the backline as a defensive midfielder. It’s that last role in which she excels though, and which she’ll probably see the most time in at the next level. Great defensive midfielders aren’t easy to find at this level, and Killion’s ability in that role could be her meal ticket to greatness if she can make the transition to the next level. Considering her body of work with UCLA, you wouldn’t bet against her.

5. Danielle Colaprico – MF (AMC, LM, RM) – Virginia

Virginia’s Swiss army knife figures to be high in demand on draft day thanks to her skill set and versatility. Colaprico played in all four midfield positions in the Cavs’ 4-4-2 diamond formation as a senior and excelled in each role as well, though you figure she’s undersized to play in a defensive midfield role at the next level. That’s not to say that a creative boss couldn’t find a way to shield Colaprico and use her as a deep-lying playmaker. Still, I think the former Cav’s calling card at the pro level is out on the wing, where her aerial service from the flanks and diagonal balls on the ground could cause the most havoc.

6. Kristin Grubka – D (CB) – Florida State

Going into 2014, the question was whether Grubka was an elite center-back or a product of playing beside a dominant CB partner in Kassey Kallman. Well, a season later after one of the most dominant runs in the NCAA Tournament by a defense, the question has been answered definitively. Grubka’s simply a tower of power in the middle who is perfect for outmuscling opposing center forwards in her own defensive third while proving to be a set piece threat at the other end. This season proved she’s still improving as well, so Grubka still has plenty of upside to work with as well.

7. Arin Gilliland – D (LB) – Kentucky

Your club’s left-back for the next half-decade. At least. Perfect build and athleticism for the position and history as an attacker in college should help her make the transition to full-back, where she played as a senior as the Wildcats gained some more attacking muscle this season. Has overcome injuries and personal adversity in convincing fashion to round into a leader with an indomitable will to win. Probably won’t get as much ink as some others in this class but could be one of this one’s best when all is said and done.

8. Shea Groom – MF (AMC), F (RF) – Texas A&M

2014 was truly the year that Groom took over the Aggies and made it her team. And all they did was do the double and make it to the College Cup. Coincidence? I think not. Groom, at her best, is the player whose feet you want the ball on and who wants that responsibility in crunch time. Her efficiency numbers put her near the top of this class, which is impressive since she played exclusively as an attacking midfielder this season. Scored a lot of big goals but also was guilty of wayward shooting and wearing down a bit late. Can she hold up through a grueling pro season? That might be the only question mark between her and being a big contributor.

9. Sabrina D’Angelo – GK – South Carolina

Goalkeepers aren’t sure things, but if D’Angelo cashes in on her potential, she’ll be the best netminder from this class. Easily. But that’s not to say that D’Angelo is as good as some past prospects like AD Franch or even Bianca Henninger. The Canadian can be prone to some individual errors at times and can struggle with crosses. But she’s also got some of the best footwork you’ll see from a keeper coming out of college and has a robust kicking game that can turn her into a weapon offensively while also being a tremendous shot-stopper. She’ll need to be coached up through any rough patches as she finds her feet as a pro, but good coaching and patience could produce a gem.

10. Jaelene Hinkle – D (LB) – Texas Tech

Attack, attack, attack. For the side wanting their left-back to bomb up and down the wing, look no further than Hinkle, who has been reliably brilliant for Tom Stone’s Red Raiders for the past four seasons. Said Texas Tech side often used a 4-2-2-2 “magic square”, meaning all the width came from the full-backs, which might explain some of why Hinkle is one of this class’ best attacking wide defenders. Doesn’t possess ideal size at just 5’4″ but still makes the most of it getting up and down the line. In almost any other class, she’d be the top left-back, and she has star potential at a position that needs help at a lot of clubs.

11. Lynn Williams – F (CF) – Pepperdine

The best of an underwhelming crop of forwards this season. But like her positional compatriots this class, Williams is not without her flaws. Specifically, the Pepperdine superstar takes a ton of shots, and not half of them found the target this past season. Needing almost ten shots to score a goal equals a ticket out of the league in the pros, and Williams will have to improve markedly to stick. But Williams also possesses blistering pace which made her the perfect weapon to use in the Waves’ counterattacks up the field. She could struggle initially in patient, possession oriented systems, but at the very least, Williams could be a nice change of pace for a team up front. The Pepperdine forward likes the ball at her feet in crunch time and scored many a big goal during her college career, which bodes well here.

12. Caprice Dydasco – D (LB) – UCLA

Can play right-back as well, but more comfortable and effective on the left. Dydasco tended to not capture as many headlines as Ally Courtnall (especially after the 2013 College Cup) but was the more consistently excellent full-back for the Bruins. Not the ideal size at 5’3″ or packing the ideal explosiveness going forward but makes up for it with smooth technical ability. I have doubts over whether she’ll turn into a superstar at the next level, but I think Dydasco is still one of the safer picks in this draft nonetheless.

13. Chioma Ubogagu – F (LF) – Stanford

A scary prospect. In more ways than one. Ubogagu’s a dribbling terror with the ball at her feet, as good with it as anyone I’ve seen in the past half-decade, and she’s been that way almost since she came onto campus as a rookie in 2011. But there’s a very real downside in Ubogagu, notably that she couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn in most cases. Ubogagu’s 12.70 shots per goal is the worst mark in the nation for any player who netted ten or more non-penalty goals. Nobody else even got to 10.00 shots per goal. As long as she’s not being counted upon to be a team’s top finisher, she should be fine. But buyer beware.

14. Meghan Streight – MF (DMC), D (CB) – Texas A&M

Played at an All-American level as a defensive midfielder early in her collegiate career and then turned into an elite center-back to help galvanize A&M’s defense and lead the club to the College Cup this season. Undersized for a center-back at 5’5″ but is impressive aerially for a player her size. Still, given her proven history at defensive midfielder and said size limitations, I’d guess she gets a long look in midfield first. The lack of top defensive midfield options on the whole from this class may help her cause.

15. Daphne Corboz – MF (AMC) – Georgetown

Well, it’s hard to not look at the height, the school, and the production in college and think of Ingrid Wells. That was good for the Hoyas and perhaps not so good for Corboz in terms of pro potential. Judging from her efficiency numbers as a senior, nobody’s going to be mistaking Corboz for a center forward any time soon, but she still packs a bit of punch from midfield. Has French ancestry, which opens up options in Europe. Will it dissuade teams from taking her too early?

16. Jordan Day – GK – Texas A&M

I can’t help but wonder if people have forgotten or not noticed how good Day actually is, no doubt not helped by her missing a giant chunk of the season through injury this year. But once Day returned healthy, she successfully commanded Texas A&M’s backline in front of her and put on some sterling displays herself to lead the Aggies to glory in the SEC and to the College Cup. A great shot stopper, fantastic in the air, and quick and brave off her line, there really isn’t a box that Day, another fantastic A&M goalkeeper, doesn’t tick.

17. Stephanie McCaffrey – F (CF) – Boston College

Perhaps the poster child this year of the phenomena of being so underrated you’re overrated. Ever since Those Tweets, McCaffrey has rounded into a player that has put the fear of God into opposing managers, though notably, often as the team’s second option behind McKenzie Meehan in 2013 and Hayley Dowd this year. It’s notable that McCaffrey netted just six goals on fifty-nine shots this season, her lowest total of strikes since her rookie season. Still, her stock is at an all-time high after being retained to train with the USWNT after January’s U23 camp. Honestly though, I suspect someone is going to reach for her a round too early when she grades out as a late second-early third round talent in a bad year for forwards.

18. Havana Solaun – MF (AMC, AMR, AML) – Florida

If you play the #10 position for Florida, you better know how to ball, and it’s been Solaun pulling the strings for the Gators the past two seasons and doing it with great vigor. There was probably some concern that Solaun might have problems coming back from an ACL injury suffered at the end of her junior season, but the playmaker continued to roll in her final season in Gainesville. Capable of the spectacular with the ball at her feet, Solaun has been tried out wide by UF, but her true position at the next level likely is in the middle. Would probably go higher in a different class but could be great value in the middle rounds.

19. Whitney Church – D (CB) – Penn State

Workhorse and two-time Big Ten Defender of the Year at center-back. If she was a few inches taller, Church might be in the frame for a first-round pick. As it stands though, the Virginia native stands at just 5’5″, and history in the NWSL tells us that that’s pretty small for a center-back in a league full of marauding monoliths. Clearly has skill but will have to be protected by a bigger center-back if she stays in the middle and may need to shine at full-back or defensive midfield to stick long-term.

20. Nicole Setterlund – MF (DMC), D (CB) – Washington State

The metronome. Shows that you don’t necessarily need a sledgehammer to get the job done if you’ve got a pair of scalpels that can do the business. Powerful in the air, with a bit of a touch in front of goal, and with a solid passing range, Setterlund looks like an underrated gem. Setterlund played some at center-back this season, and it’ll be interesting to see if a suitor tries her out there. She looks more libero than towering inferno, but some clubs might prefer that. Hopefully, a club is wise enough to use an international slot for her.

21. Sofia Huerta – F (CF/WG) – Santa Clara

Passed up an opportunity to play for Mexico at the Women’s World Cup and a sure allocation spot and subsidized salary in hopes of getting the call from the USWNT. That looks a particularly dubious decision on paper, as Huerta may have scored seventeen goals this season, but she did it against bottom feeders for the most part. None of those seventeen were against RPI Top 50 teams, and the only RPI Top 100 team she scored against was San Diego. Huerta’s far from being a bad player, but I suspect the groupthink is grasping at straws in a very bad year for forwards and trying to elevate mid-round talent into a top round pick. She’ll probably contribute and has shown ability with Mexico at international and youth international level, but expecting greatness will probably lead to disappointment in the short-term.

22. Lo’eau LaBonta – MF (AMC) – Stanford

Finally provided Stanford with some much needed spark in the #10 position that they had largely been lacking since the graduation of Teresa Noyola. Not nearly the same type of player as the Mexican international though. LaBonta is less of a creative conduit and more of pure scoring threat from midfield. Those goals were often big ones, as LaBonta scored a whopping eight goals against RPI Top 50 teams, second amongst seniors only to Kelley Monogue. Her efficiency rates are subpar though, something that could be a red flag. Still, a player with a penchant for big goals against big teams has every shot to make it.

23. Tatiana Coleman – F (RF) – UCF

I think Coleman has “it”. Making the most of her second chance after an unceremonious exit from Auburn, Coleman has helped keep UCF’s offense ticking over after a strong couple of year in Orlando. Big enough to be a center forward but has been deployed out wide right in a 4-2-3-1 where she’s used a vicious change of pace with the ball at her feet to blow past overmatched left-backs. Well rounded in terms of efficiency and scoring against top teams and could blossom at next level.

24. Cara Walls – F (CF, RF) – Wisconsin

Big, rangy forward prospect who has perhaps the weirdest efficiency splits of anyone on the board. Walls managed to score once in about every four shots but also somehow only put 34.5% of her shots on goal. Had she hit the target a little more, Walls would be near the top of the Four Factors rankings. Walls’ SOG% has fallen every season in Madison which is a little worrying, but those shot percentage numbers compensate for it. Walls also missed four games this year, meaning her scoring totals could be higher. A poacher and not provider though, as six career assists attest to. Not a franchise player but a nice ancillary piece for a side.

25. Katelyn Rowland – GK – UCLA

Was it her or was it the backline in front of her? It seemed like something of a ludicrous question after last season, but an unimpressive display in the U.S.’ disastrous U20 WWC campaign may have seen her draft stock unravel a bit, or at least in the eyes of this brave pundit. Rowland has the size and range that coaches at this level love, but there’s a clear athleticism gap that became apparent as she was slow off her line throughout in the U20 WWC. That lack of explosiveness in coming off her line could be a big detriment at the next level when she’s forced to come out and cut out the danger and bail out her backline. Might stick as a plus-level backup, but I worry she’s already at her ceiling in terms of potential.

26. Tessa Andujar – D (RB), WB (RWB) – Florida

In a draft where seemingly all the top wide defenders are left-backs, Andujar is the outlier, as the top-ranked right-back on my board. Something of a player who only put it together late in her college career, Andujar finally made the leap as a senior on the Florida backline. An attacking dynamo who was asked to bomb forward in Florida’s 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2, Andujar had her best offensive season by miles this year, with ten assists, four more than she had in the previous three seasons combined. Undersized at 5’2″, it’ll be interesting to see if she can defend bigger wide forwards in this league.

27. Kelsey Haycook – F – La Salle

The darling of the metrics for this season (along with Texas A&M’s Allie Bailey). Haycook may have a crazy shots per goal rate (3.35) and shot on goal percentage (58.2%), but she also has pretty good numbers against big teams, especially considering she didn’t get tons of opportunities at mid-major level. Haycook was actually one of just five seniors to net eleven or more goals against RPI Top 100 teams. There’ll always be questions of making the step up after playing at a mid-major, but with Paul Royal, a former Philadelphia Independence assistant, as college coach, the step up may not be as big as many believe.

28. Rachel Tejada – F – Illinois State

Mid-major scoring machine. Tejada burst onto the scene as a freshman, started scoring, and didn’t stop for four trophy-laden seasons as Illinois State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament on two occasions. Metrics reveal that Tejada grades out pretty well in terms of efficiency, keeping her shots per goal under six and hitting the target nearly fifty-eight percent of the time. The lack of goals against top opposition is a worry, but for mid-majors, that’s always going to be a tough ask. Probably needs some seasoning, but could be worth a punt late in this draft.

29. Kelley Monogue – MF (AMC), F (CF) – Texas A&M

If Monogue was ensured of being healthy, she’s probably be about ten places higher on this list. But she’s not so fortunate and has dealt with on and off again knee problems after her freshman season. It took her a while to get back to the form of her spectacular rookie season, but she managed it this season, leading the nation in goals against RPI Top 50 teams. Monogue packs one of the fastest shots I’ve seen at this level, with her whip-like strikes a serious threat to opposing defenses. Keep her healthy, and Monogue could be a star of this class.

30. Kaysie Clark – MF (CM, AMC) – Missouri

It might be a case of wrong time, wrong place for Clark. All she’s done the past four years is serve as the heartbeat in midfield for the Tigers and look good doing it. She signed off from Missouri with twelve assists and might have had more had she played on a team with a top-level striker. But with this class being rife with midfield schemers, Clark could find herself dropping down the order towards the end of the draft or towards being an undrafted free agent. Either way, she could be worth taking a flyer on for some side looking for some creativity.

31. Jamia Fields – MF/F (AMR) – Florida State

Fields will be forever entwined with the goal she scored to win Florida State a national title against Virginia in December. It’s now time to carve out a legacy at the pro level, something that looks a lot more likely now than it did in the regular season as Fields struggled to make too many dents in the stat sheet, a common criticism of the winger. But Fields also more than made up for it in the postseason, delivering some bravura performances to lead her team to glory. Has the athleticism and clutch factor working in her favor, but a more clinical touch in front of goal may be needed for her to stick.

32. Riley Houle – MF (AMC) – UConn
33. Carleigh Williams – D (CB) – UCF
34. Taylor Leach – D (CB) – South Carolina
35. Gabrielle Charno – D (CB) – UConn
36. Caroline Brawner – MF – Colgate
37. Jade Seabrook – D – Navy
38. Stephanie Verdoia – F/MF – Seattle
39. Jessie Ayers – MF – Colorado College
40. Kate Schwindel – F (CF) – West Virginia
41. Gurveen Clair – GK – Washington State
42. Quinny Truong – MF (AMC) – Rice
43. Taylor Nelson – D (CB) – Long Beach State
44. Paige Burnett – GK – Northeastern
45. Allie Bailey – F (LF/RF) – Texas A&M
46. Megan Oyster – D (CB) – UCLA
47. Kate Bennett – MF (CM/AMC) – Washington
48. Rachel Pitman – D (RB) – DePaul
49. Sam Harder – D – Denver
50. Riley Ridgik – MF, F (RF) – Wake Forest
51. Jaclyn Softli – F (CF) – Washington
52. Bianca Calderone – D (CB) – Northeastern
53. Bianca Brinson – F (RF) – Texas A&M
54. Kai Miller – D – Boston University
55. Meredith Speck – MF – Yale
56. Taylor Comeau – MF – Cal
57. Tori Cooper – D (CB) – Colorado
58. Sam Scolarici – F – Hofstra
59. Lauren Bohaboy – F (LF, CF) – Notre Dame
60. Cloe Lacasse – F (CF) – Iowa
61. Shannen Wacker – F (CF) – Florida Gulf Coast
62. Kelsey Booth – MF – San Diego State
63. Caroline Van Slambrouck – D (CB) – Kansas
64. Sharis Lachappelle – MF (LM), F (LF) – Texas
65. Maryam Huseini – MF – La Salle
66. Kelsey Dinges – MF – Miami (OH)
67. Mary Luba – MF (DMC, MC) – Marquette
68. Lauren Lazo – MF – Princeton
69. Sam Lofton – D – James Madison
70. Allie Sirna – D (CB) – Tennessee
71. Melanie Pickett – D (CB) – Iowa
72. Chelsea Raymond – F – Stephen F. Austin
73. Alexa Freguletti – D – Monmouth
74. Megan Dunnigan – D – Stephen F. Austin
75. Abby Steele – GK – Oregon
76. Zuri Prince – MF – Stephen F. Austin
77. Katie Taylor – MF/F – Utah
78. Katie Perry – MF – San Diego State
79. Jennifer Martin – MF (AML, AMC), F (CF) – UCF
80. Cami Privett – MF – UC Irvine
81. Jaycee Bingham – F – Fresno State
82. Krystyna Freda – F – Winthrop
83. Mikhaila Bowden – D – Boise State
84. Leandra Walker – D – Cal State Northridge
85. Haley Locker – F – San Diego State
86. Pia Rijsdijk – F (CF) – Alabama
87. Stefanie Scholz – F (LF) – Rutgers
88. Chanel Johnson – F – Hartford
89. Courtney Nelson – D – Bucknell
90. Ashlie Stokes – F – Drake
91. Katie Ponce – MF – Towson
92. Tatiana Saunders – GK – Dartmouth
93. Taylor Burke – GK – Florida
94. Morgan Dankanich – F – Navy
95. Molly Huber – F – Missouri State
96. Hannah Kernen – MF/F – Wisconsin-Green Bay

One thought on “NWSL Draft 2015 – The Declared Player Big Board (w/ Notes!)

  1. Jabari

    As a Sky Blue fan, I think it’d be great if we could somehow land both NJ products, Daphne Corboz and Danielle Colaprico. I don’t see them go as early as 2 and 10. After that, the Sky blue have picks 22, 25, 28, and 34. Unfortunately, these two may go right between picks 10 and 22.

    Reply

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