NWSL – 2018 NWSL Draft Big Board (01/17/18 Update)

This is through the updated list from late Wednesday night.

1. Andi Sullivan – MF – Stanford

As close to a perfect modern midfielder as it gets from the college ranks as we’ve seen in the past half-decade. Sullivan is the rare hyped youth prospect who doesn’t just meet lofty expectations but exceeds them, having won the Hermann Trophy this past season while leading the Card to a national title. The scary thing is that Sullivan could make another sharp uptick in her first professional season, as she’ll be another year removed from the ACL injury that KO’d her at the end of her junior season. Sullivan was eased back into action this past year before going full tilt as the year moved on. Can fulfill almost any role in the middle of the park, whether it’s shielding a backline, winning possession, distributing, or firing in a cannon blast of a long shot. Sullivan’s the best collegiate draftee since Crystal Dunn and is going to be the cornerstone for some lucky club for years to come.

2. Rebecca Quinn – MF (DMC), D (CB) – Duke

Canadian international finally came good at college level as the Blue Devils’ midfield general in a brilliant season. Primarily used at center-back at international level due to lack of options there but lack of blazing pace, passing range, and ability to score the odd goal makes her a better fit as a tempo setter in central midfield. Can be overmatched by skillful, athletic midfielders at times as she was by Jessie Fleming in the College Cup. Durability a major concern after missing significant time in four straight years up to 2017 but stayed healthy as a senior and flourished. Unlikely to be a superstar but a safe pick who should be a good cog in midfield for someone.

3. Savannah McCaskill – F – South Carolina

Has gone from a moderately touted recruit to one of the best players in SEC history and camps with the full USWNT. Truly established herself as one of the college game’s very best as a junior, netting seventeen goals and adding eleven assists. Goal total was more than cut in half as a senior, with efficiency taking a tumble as well, but some of that might be attributable to a more potent supporting cast in front of goal along with a deeper role centrally at times for the Gamecocks. Excels at opening up space for teammates and work off the ball. Huge leadership intangibles and has made a career of making everyone around her better, helping lead Carolina to the College Cup semi-finals in 2017. Fiercely competitive but has gained a reputation of going down easily in the box. Doesn’t possess ideal size and probably not going to challenge for a Golden Boot at pro level but has the potential to open things up as a can opener in someone’s attack.

4. Imani Dorsey – F – Duke

The pressure was on Dorsey going into 2017 after the graduation of Toni Payne, with many wondering if the Maryland native was going to put it together after showing flashes of brilliance in stops and starts for three years. They needn’t have worried, as Dorsey was one of the college season’s breakout stars, her fourteen goals and ten assists nearly exceeding her combined totals (15 G, 12 A) from her three previous seasons with the Blue Devils. Dorsey was hardly a flat-track bully either, with eight goals coming against RPI Top 50 foes (second best in DI) and eleven against RPI Top 100 opponents. Dorsey’s efficiency numbers still aren’t pristine, especially her 3.36 shots on goal/per goal figure, but they were still the best of her collegiate career, showing much coveted improvement. It remains to be seen if she can maintain that level of consistency at the next level, but her pace and big match scoring ability should at the very least make Dorsey a dangerous super sub at the beginning of her pro career.

5. Rachel Corboz – MF – Georgetown

The drama over whether Corboz would be in this class got a happy ending when she was on the list released late Wednesday night. Like sister Daphne, the younger Corboz has a French passport and many options in Europe with what that entails. It seems now though that Corboz will cast her lot in the pros in the U.S…maybe. NWSL teams will be hoping Corboz’s entry into the draft is a signal she’ll be in from the start, as she’s a legitimate first-round talent in a class short of them. Capable wide or inside in the midfield, Corboz doesn’t lack the size that many Hoya midfielders, including her sister and Ingrid Wells, have had to deal with at the next level. Corboz has been a two-way threat for the Hoyas for four seasons, finishing her career with thirty-four goals and forty-four assists. Corboz’s efficiency numbers took a mighty hit this season, but that might be on account of the rest of the attack struggling for consistency. Corboz likely hears her name called in the middle of the first round, to some very lucky team.

6. Gabby Seiler – MF (AMC), D (CB) – Florida

It’s been a long and twisting road towards the top of the draft board for the Gators’ Swiss army knife. Seiler began her career with Florida’s SEC rivals Georgia and had seemingly hit a career dead end with the league doormat before transferring but losing a year due to transfer rules in the process. Seiler took a bit to settle in and be at her best, but her game grew by leaps and bounds as a senior this past season. Seiler was one of the early weeks’ best players after scoring in four straight to open the year but cooled down as the season went on, though she was still one of the nation’s best seniors. The big question is where Seiler fits in at the next level, as she saw time both in the midfield as well as in central defense for Florida. Her destructive dribbling ability seems better suited for midfield though, and historically, Florida defenders have struggled to make the transition to pro level backlines. Can be a bit of a ball stopper, which could be problematic on a team with few weapons, but Seiler has improved on that tendency in the past year. Not a can’t miss prospect, but could be a standout in this class if the fit is right.

7. Schuyler DeBree – D (CB) – Duke

Four-year starter for the Blue Devils only recently hit peak form for Duke’s defense in their all-conquering ACC championship side. Few could have envisioned DeBree’s rise to potential first round pick after coming into Duke as a modestly touted recruit, but the New Jersey native was an immediate starter here as a rookie. Solid for most of her career but has only had one truly standout season, that as a senior All-American. Missed half of 2015 with a torn ACL but has proven extremely durable since. Has Summer League experience with the Washington Spirit reserve team. Not a giant at center-back but has more than enough size to play the position. Comfortable starting play from the back and with long service (including long free kicks). Unlikely to be a superstar but potential to be an NWSL mainstay with right fit and tutelage.

8. Indigo Gibson – D (CB) – Cal

Arguably one of the breakout stars of the 2017 college season after rising from relative obscurity to All-American status. Had been a starter for two and a half seasons before 2017 before settling in as the defensive anchor on the backline here as a senior. Youth international experience with both Canada at U20 level and more recently at U23 level with the United States and certainly looks to be talented enough at senior level to represent the defensive depth challenged Canadians, though Gibson might instead cast her lot with the U.S. after her breakout 2017. Not a burner with pace but quick enough to get the job done. Physical defender unafraid to step aggressively from the backline and spent much of her time glued to the hip of the opposition’s most dangerous attacker. Competent in the air and comfortable with the ball at her feet. Really just one season of elite level play, and Cal players (Alex Morgan excepted) have struggled at the next level, but it’s a weak class for defenders, meaning Gibson could be a priority pick in round one.

9. Michaela Abam – F, D – West Virginia

It was an up and down senior season for Abam at the head of West Virginia’s offense in 2017. Things looked to be on the up early on when Abam netted the only goal on opening day against Georgetown, but the Texan then went twelve straight matches without scoring a non-penalty goal. Abam would pour it on late though, netting five in six at one point but also being held without a point in the club’s final two NCAA Tournament games. A bull in the box, willing to stick her head in to get on the end of balls, Abam is much better in the air than you would expect from a 5’7” player. Has pace and acceleration and can break players down on the dribble and burst into space when needed. The major concern with Abam is her atrocious efficiency, as she finished with just seven non-penalty goals on one hundred twenty-three shots, putting just 30.2% of those efforts on frame and logging 5.00 shots on goal per goal as a senior, with those efficiency numbers the worst of her career by a big margin. It’s a big worry considering Abam’s efficiency numbers were poor coming into her senior season. Said struggles may spark a move to the backline, where Abam’s played before at youth international level. Potentially a super sub early on but patience is probably going to be needed to get the most out of Abam.

10. Bri Visalli – MF – Pepperdine

The best player casual fans have probably never heard of, Visalli has been simply dynamite for the Waves for four years in Malibu, culminating in WCC Player of the Year and All-America honors as a senior. Though not an out and out forward, Visalli netted fourteen goals as a senior and finished with twenty-five on her career, though her 2017 total was a bit inflated by going 6-for-6 from the spot. The San Jose native seemingly has lights out radar with her placement of long shots and scored many a peach from distance in her career. Efficiency numbers don’t suggest she’ll be prolific at the next level, but Visalli’s slick dribbling and penchant for the killer ball could make her a crowd favorite and a key in unlocking defenses. The downside is a lack of out and out pace that could make separating from elite defenders hard, while Visalli’s also undersized at 5’2”. But when Visalli finds the ball, as she often did in college, even against much bigger defenders, she usually makes good things happen. Needs to land with a side valuing short passing and the technical game, but could be a star if she gets that fit.

11. Sandra Yu – MF – Notre Dame

A true story of perseverance, Yu was a big time recruit coming out of high school and looked to be the next in a long line of top notch midfielders to come through South Bend. But injury struck in a major way, with Yu tearing an ACL in the preseason as a true freshman, the catalyst for missing two straight seasons through injury. Such stories often don’t have a happy ending, but Yu ended up bucking the trend, starting all sixty-three possible matches over the next three seasons while rounding into one of the nation’s very best midfielders. While Yu had been good for a few goals her first two seasons playing for the Irish, few likely saw the offensive outburst coming, with the Ohio native netting eight goals and five assists en route to a breakout season. Now entrenched with the U.S. U23 team, You easily looks like one of this class’ top options in the middle of the park. The only red flag is potential worries about durability given her injury history early in college, but three straight seasons without serious injury eases some of those concerns. Likely could have had a sixth-year of eligibility if so desired, and having played just three seasons means there’s still a reasonable amount of upside to tap into, even if Yu might be older than some prospects.

12. Frannie Crouse – F/MF – Penn State

The best option from the latest class of Penn State starlets, Crouse will be trying to maintain her status as a early round option despite a somewhat muted season for the Nittany Lions as a senior. Granted, Crouse still managed four goals and five assists, but it was a far cry from her early career form that had the Pennsylvanian tipped for superstardom. Still, Crouse might have been harmed by those early expectations, but she still is one of this class’ players with big upside and a big motor which should hold her in good stead as she tries to make the transition to the next level. Ideal size, quicker than you’d probably expect, and has a non-stop motor. A big question is her role at the next level, as her scoring numbers dipped severely this past season after scoring thirty-three goals combined the previous three years. Can she score at the next level? Her role might mimic that of Maya Hayes, another PSU alum and scorer at college level, who has turned into a valuable jack of all trades in the NWSL.

13. Elizabeth Wenger – D (CB) – Georgetown

Arguably this class’ most consistent defender, Wenger has been at it as a starter at center-back for the Hoyas for all but a small chunk of her rookie season. An iron woman who was a huge part of Georgetown’s run to the College Cup a season ago, Wenger again was a starring presence on the backline this past season, with the Pennsylvania native earning All-American honors to go along with Big East Defensive Player of the Year and Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Defensive Player awards. Wenger’s name probably dipped out of the headlines a bit this past season with Georgetown taking a slight step back in 2017, but she was still one of the nation’s elite senior defenders from a program that’s produced some great defenders, most notably Portland’s Emily Menges, in recent years. Unlikely to be touted as highly as DeBree or Gibson, but given the paucity in depth in this class, it’d be surprising to see Wenger slip from the first few rounds.

14. Alex Anthony – F – USC

5’5” forward who plays like a player with another half foot on her frame, Anthony might be this class’ best forward with her back to goal. The Colorado native looked like having an uncertain future after missing her true freshman season through injury recovery and then being stuck in career purgatory with an imploding Maryland program for two more seasons. Despite being marooned on a poor Terps side, Anthony still scored ten goals, and USC gaining her for two seasons after a transfer was likely a contributing factor towards the Trojan’s 2016 title. Anthony netted ten as a junior that year and added eight more this season, though she also netted just one total shot on goal against Cal, Stanford, and UCLA, raising questions about Anthony’s ability to get it done against the elite. Did her best work with back to goal and spinning away from defenders while also possessing a strong shot from range and a bit of passing skill. Doesn’t seem to have elite pace. It’s a thin class for big time forwards, meaning Anthony should have a solid shot at coming off the board in the middle rounds.

15. Casey Murphy – GK – Rutgers

This ranking is based on overall ability, notwithstanding Murphy’s likely signing with French side Montpellier. Rutgers club legend and U.S. U23 international is an absolute mountain in goal, standing at 6’1” and has ideal size for the position. Extremely difficult to beat when on her line due to size, presence, and athleticism. Decision making can be suspect at times, especially when asked to come off her line. Can struggle with high, lofted balls close to the goal, which is a bit odd considering her usual strength in claiming driven corners. Had a poor U20 World Cup as the U.S. starter in 2016, save for an excellent display in the third-place game. Flaws masked somewhat playing behind one of the nation’s best defenses perennially. Perhaps has a future as the U.S. #1 but needs major minutes and needs them now, perhaps prompting the decision to head abroad. With weak overall class, still is worth drafting and stashing rights in the middle rounds.

16. Joanna Boyles – MF – North Carolina

One of this class’ mysterious figures, Boyles has endured a bumpy road to get to this point. A highly touted youth prospect, Boyles was a big hit for North Carolina early on in her collegiate career and looked like a clear first-round pick early in said career. But things have gone off the rails a bit in the second half of her college career, with many of the woes revolving around a set of serious knee injuries that cost her over a season and put her draft stock very much in doubt. Healthy once more this past season, many expected Boyles to be the catalyst for a very potent UNC attack on paper, but, instead, the Heels sputtered with the fifth-year senior quarterbacking the attack. Perhaps the best free kick taker in this class. Big range of passing, both short and on long service and not afraid to bust out the flair. On sheer talent, Boyles should be in the first round. But the lack of productivity this past season and injury history could be big red flags. Could be one of the best picks in this draft…or could be out of the league in a few years.

17. Ashton Miller – MF – Duke

Perennially overlooked behind Duke’s legion of young stars, Miller has nonetheless made her mark with four understated but effective years as a hub of offense and defense for the Blue Devils in midfield. A four-year starter for Duke, Miller never rose to All-America honors but was the glue behind the magic in the Blue Devil attack, also good for a few goals every season herself, specializing in long, bouncing shots to the corners. But more to the point, Miller was valued most for her workrate, simple passing, and ability to fly into a crunching tackle to win possession if need be, i.e. the little things that are big reasons why teams win trophies. That’ll likely be her role at the next level as well, as a ball-winner or connector to help balance a team out in the middle of the park. Such players are often middle round picks, but don’t be surprised if Miller rises higher in a weak class.

18. Emily Boyd – GK – Cal

Arguably this class’ most consistent keeper, Boyd is likely to benefit greatly from the circumstances surrounding the other two netminders most have pegged as the ones to watch in this draft. With Casey Murphy likely France bound, and Cassie Miller having not signed up for the draft as of the typing of this big board, Boyd is likely to rise into the middle rounds of this draft and could potentially be the first keeper taken. It’s not hard to see why looking back at Boyd’s glittering career for Cal. A dynamic shot stopper with a big presence, Boyd often did her best work in the biggest games for the Golden Bears this past season. Additionally, the Seattle native distributes well and is comfortable beginning play with her feet, always an important consideration in the modern game. At just 5’9”, some may see Boyd as undersized, and the Cal keeper does have a tendency to punch instead of grab crosses, though neither should be seen as draft stock killers. While starting spots in goal are sparse at the moment, Boyd should be an improvement to many clubs’ backup situation, right off the bat.

19. Morgan Ferrara – F (CF), MF – UCF

One of the big winners of the past season, as her draft stock soared following a huge senior campaign. It was not always such for Ferrara, who began her career mostly out of sight and out of mind at Mississippi State before transferring in to Orlando at the beginning of the 2015 season. Still, Ferrara wouldn’t begin to really hit her stride until her junior season, where she netted seven goals in the midfield. This past season, Ferrara moved to a center forward role, and the result was AAC Offensive Player of the Year honors after netting thirteen goals for an explosive UCF attack. Can she do it against the creme de la creme though? None of those thirteen goals came against RPI Top 50 teams, though Ferrara did scored six against RPI Top 100 teams while doing it on excellent efficiency numbers. Is a big 5’10” forward but did a lot of her damage with her feet between the 6 and 18. Forward is a crapshoot after the top few prospects, so Ferrara has a good shot at hearing her name called in the middle rounds.

20. Simone Charley – F – Vanderbilt

There are few in this draft with the sheer athletic cred of Charley, who could probably be competitive at a professional level in the Triple Jump in Track and Field as well after competing in the Olympic Trials and winning All-American honors multiple times. But Charley’s also a promising soccer player in her own right, especially considering she has been splitting time between the sports for most of her collegiate career. The pace Charley brings to the table is probably expected, and the Commodore was more than adept at beating players off the dribble in college. What may not be expected is Charley’s range of passing, which is much more than you’d expect from a player that many likely have pegged as a center forward as a pro. That could make her an ideal candidate to play between the lines, linking with a high forward while still being able to dribble at players at speed. Scoring could also be a concern for Charley, as she’s never been prolific, netting just four goals this past season on dismal efficiency. The upside here is big though, and that could be enough to see Charley into the middle rounds in this class.

21. Amandine Pierre-Louis – D (LB) – West Virginia

Long-striding, aggressive Canadian left-back has been a late bloomer for the Mountaineers, but their patience reaped dividends this past season, as Pierre-Louis was one of the nation’s best full-backs this season, winning All-America honors to go with co-Defensive POTY plaudits in the Big 12. A converted attacker, Pierre-Louis was solid as a redshirt freshman after sitting out 2013 but really didn’t hit her stride until her junior season after the full-time move to defense. Though Pierre-Louis is nominally a defender, she still managed five goals last season, including some big ones against some of the best in the Big 12. Pierre-Louis has the pace and aggressiveness that the modern pro game demands, as well as some size at 5’7”. The only downside might be Pierre-Louis’ international status, which puts her in a limbo that has felled many other similarly talented non-Americans. But if a team is willing to spend the international slot, Pierre-Louis might be a gem.

22. Maddie Huster – MF (CM) – Wake Forest

The younger sister of Spirit legend Tori Huster is a potentially valuable pro in her own right and has been one of this class’ big risers over the past season with a big senior campaign. Like her sister, Huster’s contributions are most often not logged in a box score, but there’s no doubt that she was a huge part of the Demon Deacons’ stellar 2017 season. Excels at maneuvering with the ball through tight spaces to find open players with short passes. Will punish defenses that stand off with long diagonals to wingers. Can score the odd goal, netting ten in four years for the Demon Deacons but probably isn’t going to be a scoring force at the next level.

23. Kayla Adamek – F – UCF
24. Taylor Isom – D – BYU
25. Zoey Goralski – D – UCLA
26. Alexa Ben – MF – DePaul
27. EJ Proctor – GK – Duke
28. Maddy Williams – F – Purdue
29. Haley Hanson – MF – Nebraska
30. Brittany Basinger – D – Penn State
31. Mallory Eubanks – MF – Mississippi State
32. Kimberly Keever – F – Washington
33. Veronica Latsko – F – Virginia
34. Lauren Clem – GK – Northwestern
35. Vanessa Gregoire – MF – Princeton
36. Martha Thomas – MF – Charlotte
37. Elizabeth Ball – D – Penn State
38. Aline de Lima – MF – Baylor
39. Becca Rasmussen – MF – Colorado
40. Carla Portillo – MF – West Virginia
41. Joss Orejel – D – Colorado
42. Celia Jimenez Delgado – D – Alabama
43. Vanessa Gilles – D – Cincinnati
44. Chloe Williams – F – Eastern Washington
45. Morgan Reid – D – Duke
46. Kathellen Feitoza – D – UCF
47. Jermaine Seoposenwe – F – Samford
48. Rachel Blankenship – MF – Tulsa
49. Rachel Bloznalis – D – Boston University
50. Megan Buckingham – F – North Carolina
51. Claire Oates – MF – SMU
52. Mackenzie Cerda – D – UCLA
53. Lindsey Lane – MF – South Carolina
54. Nadia Gomes – F – BYU
55. Abby Elinsky – MF – North Carolina
56. Ally Haran – D – Wake Forest
57. Kendall Ham – F – Bucknell
58. Kiana Palacios – MF – UC Irvine
59. Claire Winter – MF – UCLA
60. Kristin Desmond – F – Hofstra
61. Macy Hamblin – F – Northern Kentucky
62. Brooke Murphy – F – New Hampshire
63. Haley Lukas – D – Cal
64. Alexis Kiehl – F – Dayton
65. Hannah Diaz – F – Saint Mary’s (CA)
66. Hanna Barker – MF – Stephen F. Austin
67. Dorthe Hoppius – F – San Jose State
68. Nicole Molen – MF – USC
69. Kellie Peay – D – Santa Clara
70. Kristen Cardano – D – Florida
71. Ryan Williams – D – TCU
72. Chidera Akubuilo – D – UNLV
73. Dominique Randle – D – USC
74. Rebekah O’Brien – D – Texas Tech
75. Meagan Harbison – MF – Pepperdine
76. Catalina Perez – GK – Mississippi State
77. Shannon Simon – F – Washington
78. Caroline Bado – D – Auburn
79. Ani Sarkisian – MF – Michigan
80. Gudrun Arnardottir – D – Santa Clara
81. Heather Kaleiohi – F – West Virginia
82. Kelly Fitzgerald – MF – Cal
83. Anna Smalley – MF – Milwaukee
84. Harriet Withers – F – Murray State
85. Gabriella Mencotti – F – Grand Valley State
86. Rio Hardy – F – South Alabama
87. Doyinsola ‘Christiana’ Ogunsami – GK – Drexel
88. Sydney Sladek – MF – USC
89. Gabrielle Matulich – F – UCLA
90. Monica Flores – MF – Notre Dame
91. Anna Conklin – D – South Carolina
92. Daniela Famili – F – Coastal Carolina
93. Sarah Collins – F – Stetson
94. Savannah LaRicci – F – McNeese State
95. Rebecca Rodgers – F – Drake
96. Emma Heckendorn – F – TCU
97. Caitlyn Clem – GK – Wisconsin
98. Shannon Horgan – D – Clemson
99. Ariela Lewis – F – Alabama State
100. Linnea Faccenda – MF – Duquesne
101. Sophia Cortes – MF – UNLV
102. Jamie Cheslik – F – Michigan State
103. Jessi Reinhardt – MF – Fairleigh Dickinson
104. Kelli Zickert – MF – Illinois State
105. Allie Moar – MF – Saint John’s (NY)
106. Lydia Simmons – MF – Vanderbilt
107. Noel Baham – F – UC Irvine
108. Allyson Swaby – D – Boston College
109. Bella Geist – GK – Oregon State
110. Isabella Habuda – MF – Liberty
111. Adrian Vitello
112. Belicia Mendiola – F – Belmont
113. Madison Vasquez – MF – Siena
114. Steffi Hardy – D – South Alabama
115. Kendra Prince – D – New Hampshire
116. Cristina de Zeeuw – D – Vanderbilt
117. Connie Caliz – MF – Cal State Fullerton
118. Myra Delgadillo – F – Fresno State
119. Kat Elliott – GK – South Florida
120. Tara Meier – D – San Diego
121. Maya Worth – D – North Carolina
122. Andrea Mensen – D – UC Irvine
123. Brooke Braden – F – Northern Colorado
124. Kassi Hormuth – F – Texas State
125. Gabriella Cuevas – D – Monmouth
126. Carlin Hudson – D – Yale
127. Lauren Wade – F – Carson-Newman
128. Sonest Furtado – F – Hawaii
129. Darian Powell – F – Marquette
130. Katy Couperus – MF – Cincinnati
131. Amy Brewer – D – UAB
132. Sonja Giraud – F – San Francisco
133. Myia Wilkes – D – San Jose State
134. Molly Dwyer – D – Furman
135. Jade Abarca – MF – Lipscomb
136. Haley Roberson – D – Troy
137. Paige Hayward – F – Texas Southern
138. Morgan Bertsch – GK – Cal State Fullerton
139. Wesley Hamblin – F – Utah State
140. Jessica Vincent – MF – Long Beach State
141. Hannah Crofut – MF – Bryant
142. Madison Cox – D – Grand Canyon
143. Dara Battistoni – D – Fairleigh Dickinson
144. Selena Peters – MF/F – Houston
145. Shea Connors – F – Saint John’s (NY)
146. Tara Austin – MF – Belmont
147. Madison Hall – MF – Stephen F. Austin
148. Marissa Martin – F – Youngstown State
149. Tori Smith – MF – Utah Valley
150. Mallory Geurts – GK – Milwaukee

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