NWSL – 2017 NWSL Draft – Four Factors Rankings

Is this thing on?

Why hello. After a long, long time away, I’m back for wall-to-wall coverage of the 2017 NWSL Draft, including on-site coverage, live from Los Angeles.

While I’m waiting until the official list of declared players comes out to release any type of public big board, I’ve calculated my Four Factors rankings for attackers for this past season. What are the Four Factors? Here’s my description from an earlier year’s rankings:

As anyone who follows me fervently knows, I’m always looking for new ways to quantify performance within college and pro WoSo. Branching out on last season’s analysis before the NWSL Draft, I’ve gone a step further by creating a “Four Factors” metric designed to measure efficiency and potency of attacking players eligible for the draft. As a quick check against last year’s draft class, the majority of players at the top of the rankings were drafted.

So who’s eligible to be tracked and what are the factors?

Who’s eligible? Any player who scored ten goals this season that were NOT penalties.

The Factors:

SPG – Shots per Goal – How many shots does it take for a player to score?

SOG% – Shot on Goal Percentage – How many of the player’s shots force a goalkeeper into action?

50 – Goals Scored Against RPI Top 50 Teams

100 – Goals Scored Against RPI Top 100 Teams

Each player in an individual draft class is ranked against the other eligible players, with the top ranked player in a category receiving the most points. If there are ten eligible players and a player finishes at the top of the RPI Top 100 category, that player gets ten “points” in the rankings. In terms of the 50/100 categories, players who didn’t score against RPI Top 50/100 clubs get zero points for that category. Points for all four of the ranking categories are added together to come up with a grand total.

While I’ve previously separated things out by class, this year, I’ve lumped everyone into the same data pool for the sake of my own calculations. Again, this isn’t meant to be a perfect guide, as stat keeping for the efficiency stats is shaky at times for some schools.

I’ve attached an Excel data file here if you’re interested in raw data.

Here are the basic rankings, with some notes for some interesting/notable findings (players ranked from worst to first):

34 – Ashley Herndon – James Madison – SR

Oof. Herndon comes in dead last on these rankings at probably the worst time possible thanks to not scoring against anyone with a pulse and some horrid efficiency numbers. She was a borderline draft prospect in my eyes going into 2016, but I’d probably opt out now.

39 – Chloe Williams – Eastern Washington – JR
56 – Alexis Pelefas – Central Michigan – SO
59 – Lauren Koehl – Illinois State – SR

59 – Margaret ‘Midge’ Purce – Harvard – SR

Purce is likely to be taken in the first half of the draft this year, but she’s still a very divisive prospect. The continued absence of production against top teams (even considering Harvard’s scheduling constraints) and poor efficiency numbers are still alarming. She passes the eye test, but I’d still be sweating bullets if choosing her.

60 – Megan Greene – Charlotte – FR
62 – Natasha Minor – Southeast Missouri State – SR
66 – Lexi Prillaman – Richmond – JR
68 – Savannah LaRicci – McNeese State – JR
72 – Jill Mullholland – Hofstra – SR
75 – Jemma Purfield – South Alabama – SO
77 – Emily Gingrich – Saint Joseph’s – SR
89 – Jessica Frey – Northern Kentucky – JR
90 – Carissima Cutrona – Buffalo – SO
101 – Maddie Clark – Mercer – SR
104 – Kela Gray – Howard – JR
116 – Hannah Rosenblatt – Northeastern – SO
116 – Jenna Hellstrom – Kent State – SO
119 – Maddie Gibson – Monmouth – FR
121 – Sarah Segan – William & Mary – FR

123 – Carol Rodrigues – UCF – SR

If you’re an international forward on the bubble, you better be high up on this list if you’re expecting to be drafted. Rodrigues isn’t and probably will be headed for other shores to get paid.

124 – Aaliyah Lewis – Alabama State – SR
126 – Allie Thornton – SMU – FR
127 – Ashley Smith – Central Arkansas – SO
127 – Sarah Collins – Stetson – JR

128 – Murielle Tiernan – Virginia Tech – SR

Tiernan’s probably done enough throughout her career to earn the benefit of the doubt for 2016, but her senior season probably didn’t help her draft stock.

128 – Tabby Tindell – Florida Gulf Coast – SR
131 – Kiersten Johnson – Toledo – SR
137 – Isabella Habuda – Liberty – JR
138 – Holly Enderle – North Dakota State – SO
140 – MacKenzie Cowley – George Washington – SR
140 – Maddie Mulford – Bucknell – JR
140 – Sarah Bonney – Texas Rio Grande Valley – FR
143 – Dakota Mills – Saint Joseph’s – SO
149 – Eleonora Goldoni – East Tennessee State – SO
151 – Molly Dwyer – Furman – JR
151 – Chandler Backes – Western Kentucky – FR
153 – Libby Leedom – Dayton – SR
153 – Kendall Ham – Bucknell – JR
153 – Laadi Issaka – Mississippi Valley State – JR
156 – Ariela Lewis – Alabama State – JR
160 – Rachelle Ross – Monmouth – JR

161 – Simone Kolander – Minnesota – SR

If you can stomach some middling efficiency numbers, Kolander could be worth a late flyer for attack minded teams thanks to a lot of goals against top teams.

164 – Michaela Abam – West Virginia – JR

Abam’s a statistical unicorn. The WVU forward scored the most goals against RPI Top 50 teams this season and finished dead last in shots per goal and shots on target % among players with ten non-penalty goals. Will the former outweigh the latter come next year? We’ll see.

164 – Brooke Murphy – New Hampshire – JR
165 – Alex Anthony – USC – JR

166 – Sophia Zavala – Southern – FR

Zavala’s hilariously overcooked 79.3 shot on goal percentage is a reason we should probably teach better (and more accurate) scorekeeping and why you should take these stats with a slight degree of skepticism.

167 – Claire Oates – SMU – JR
167 – Valerie Sanderson – Memphis – SR
170 – Anna Smalley – Wisconsin-Milwaukee – JR
172 – Danica Evans – Colorado – SR
174 – Jane Cline – Appalachian State – SR

175 – Katie Johnson – USC – SR

USC’s new hero after this past College Cup may not get the attention that many of her other likely draftees from the Trojans will see in the next few weeks, but she’s also posted better numbers on this measure than many much more vaunted forwards in this draft class.

176 – Madison Tiernan – Rutgers – SR

Takes lots of shots, didn’t really score a bunch until this season. Clearly has a nose for goal, but that efficiency mark could scare suitors off.

177 – Ifeoma Onumonu – Cal – SR
180 – Sarah Luebbert – Missouri – FR

181 – Savannah McCaskill – South Carolina – JR

A likely first round pick in 2018, McCaskill fits the profile of other players like Abam from the class, in that they’re big threats against big teams but often need a lot of shots to hit the target.

181 – Ella Stevens – Duke – FR
185 – Abby Reed – SR – DePaul

187 – Casie Ramsier – SR – Auburn

Ramsier is not a natural forward, so those are some massive impressive numbers for someone likely to play in midfield at the next level.

187 – Lily Sender – SR – UNLV

Who? Sender was an unknown going into this season but destroyed defenses to give herself a puncher’s chance of being drafted.

188 – McKenzie Meehan – SR – Boston College

Meehan’s pretty solid everywhere but shots per goal, and didn’t exactly set the world on fire as a senior with BC.

189 – Camille Bassett – SO – Central Arkansas
190 – Lauren Sullivan – SR – Creighton
193 – Frannie Crouse – JR – Penn State

193 – Stephanie Ribeiro – SR – UConn

Ribeiro outperformed teammate Rachel Hill in raw scoring numbers but took a backseat with more advanced numbers, though she’s still mighty impressive.

195 – Jaycie Johnson – SR – Nebraska

Johnson’s likely moving to full-back as a pro, but maybe she should also get a look at forward given these numbers.

195 – Danielle Tolmais – SR – Saint Louis

Crazy but true: Tolmais put these numbers up for SLU despite starting just one match in 2016.

198 – Hannah Wilkinson – SR – Tennessee

Wilkinson’s got a ton of red flags attached to her, but she had a deceptively strong season for a mediocre UT team. Will it be enough to get an NWSL shot? I’m skeptical, but I’m also no longer totally averse to the idea.

199 – Gracie Lachowecki – SR – Miami (FL)

Lachowecki couldn’t match last year’s insane numbers, but she also showed she isn’t a one-hit wonder. Watch for her as a big sleeper.

200 – Evelyne Viens – FR – South Florida

Viens was somehow not deemed worthy for a look at the U20 World Cup by Canada. And you wonder why they’re youth international teams are chronically shambles.

207 – Lindsay Agnew – SR – Ohio State

Agnew finally came good as a senior, taking advantage of her talent to finally produce at a high level. She’ll get a long look from NWSL clubs looking to capitalize on that late surge.

209 – Grace Damaska – SR – Georgetown

Considering Damaska’s sharing the ball with a handful of other goal predators, her numbers are even more impressive.

214 – Savannah Jordan – SR – Florida

Fewer goals but still producing at an elite level. Drop her on your draft board at your peril.

218 – Alexis Kiehl – JR – Dayton

219 – Ashley Hatch – SR – BYU

Super impressive as a senior and almost unstoppable when on form. These numbers only reinforce the point.

224 – Jermaine Seoposenwe – SR – Samford

Probably a stretch to make an NWSL roster at this point, but Seoposenwe should be getting paid somewhere this year after a great senior season.

228 – Rachel Hill – SR – UConn

Hill may have taken a backseat to Stephanie Ribeiro on the scoring chart, but she was better than her teammate in every marker of these rankings.

242 – Hailey Skolmoski – SO – Utah
248 – Kristen Dodson – JR – Auburn
256 – Rachel Thun – JR – Tulsa
266 – Amanda Carolan – FR – Georgetown

288 – Lindsey Mayo – SR – Arkansas

I wasn’t exactly expecting this either, but Mayo had the season of her life and should at least get a look at someone in the NWSL if she’s interested.

294 – Jessie Fleming – FR – UCLA

Shock: The Canadian is really good.

295 – Michele Vasconcelos – SR – BYU

Vasconcelos’ numbers are utterly absurd, especially considering she’s not BYU’s automatic first option. I suspect she won’t be near the top of the board on draft day but looks like a great mid-round sleeper, nonetheless

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