(Note: Updated with profiles on Top 11 players.)
(I) = Would consume international slot
(X) = Past injury concerns
1. Crystal Dunn – D/MF – North Carolina
Has seemingly been destined for this spot since she came onto the scene as a rookie in 2010, immediately taking her spot as one of the nation’s best player. Is a winner, pure and simple, bringing in a national title, a U20 World Cup title, and personally, a Hermann Trophy. That might have been two Hermann Trophies had she not been injured late in the season. International future is likely at full-back, though her role the past two seasons in large part has been as an attacking midfielder, dribbling at the heart of opposing defenses. She’s a terror moving forward with the ball at her feet and finishes better than most strikers in this class. Her stats against the big clubs say it all, tying for the national lead amongst seniors with seven goals against RPI Top 50 teams despite not playing every game this year. A franchise player, pure and simple.
2. Julie Johnston – MF/D – Santa Clara
Does it all. Really does it ALL. Can play just about anywhere on the pitch and did so with Santa Clara, being used to fix whatever problem was plaguing Jerry Smith’s side at the time. Scored no shortage of goals this past season and her usage stats for someone who isn’t close to being a natural center forward was ridiculous. Played center-back at the U20 level, though I think she’s too good on the ball to be stuck in central defense as a pro. I think her best position is as a versatile midfielder, able to be the club’s fulcrum in front of the defense if needed or as an attacking weapon through the middle if the situation warrants it. Know some people are seemingly wavering on her, but she’s probably a safe but not gamebreaking pick.
3. Kassey Kallman – D – Florida State
The nation’s best pure defender coming into this draft. Kallman’s got a perfect blend of power and pace, making her an absolute nightmare for opposing center forwards. Stands at 5’8″ but plays much bigger than that, able to hold her own against any target forward that was thrown against her in college. Shut down almost every big threat she faced this season and was a major reason the national title match against UCLA went into extra time, such was her heroic defending. Has grown by leaps and bounds since the U20 World Cup, with her improvement this season being particularly dramatic. Stick her on your backline and forget about your previous worries, because Kallman’s a big-time problem solver on defense.
4. Vanessa DiBernardo – MF – Illinois
Midfield dynamo with a tremendous pedigree and hopes of breaking into the full USWNT after an earlier call-up this season. Boasts a whip-like shot from distance that makes her a nightmare for defensive midfielders who pay the price for not staying tightly marked to the Illini star. If there’s a reason to take pause, it’s that DiBernardo’s stats across the board have gone down since her explosive 2011 season that saw her score seventeen goals. She probably isn’t going to be shooting as much in the pros, but shot on goal percentages of close to 40% aren’t exactly reassuring. Especially when you consider she’s more of a scorer than playmaker from attacking midfield. At the same time, she’s got the power to change a game with one smash of the ball and lives for the big moment, both coveted traits at the next level.
5. Kealia Ohai – F/MF – North Carolina
Not a center forward, not someone to carry your offense on her back. But man, is she a great winger and secondary option. Everyone probably got spoiled a bit by her electric freshman season, when she scored goals left and right. She didn’t come close to matching that goal total again. This year’s stats were probably a bit deceiving, as she scored eleven goals but did it on drastically more shots than she had previously taken at the college level. Usage rate was not very good this year, just underlining how Ohai can’t carry a team as its only scoring option as she had to try to do with Dunn out injured late in the year or when she was on international duty. But she shouldn’t have to do that at the next level and will be a potent threat getting up and down the line with her pace and either cutting it back at the endline or slashing inside. Could be the next Heather O’Reilly if she pans out.
6. Maya Hayes – F – Penn State
First step is unfathomably fast for the Nittany Lion forward who has scored goals at a barely fathomable clip the past three seasons. No shrinking violet from the big occasion either, having tied for the senior lead in goals against RPI Top 50 teams while leading by a ridiculous six goals in scores against RPI Top 100 opposition. Usage rate is utterly tremendous for a player that shoots and scores as much as Hayes does and bodes well for her professional future. Only question is whether her wispish frame is going to hold up against the hammering she’s going to take against center-forwards at the next level. It might force her out wide, but there’s little question that she’s this class’ best forward. You’d be brave to predict she won’t be a success at this level.
7. Amanda Frisbie – D – Portland
Nobody’s stock has surged as much over the past season after Frisbie’s star turn as a senior. Business was already booming for Frisbie as a junior attacker, as she turned into one of the region’s most potent attacking threats. Necessity forced Frisbie back to center-back as a senior despite not having played there collegiately. All she did was win WCC Defensive Player of the Year as one of the nation’s best defender. In her first season playing on defense. Some have mooted a move back into the attack, though her usage rate stats weren’t great as a junior. There’s still plenty of upside as a defender though, something I think a team will try and tap, either as a center-back or full-back, which would seemingly fit her like a glove. Could easily be one of the best few players from this class when all is said and done.
8. Courtney Verloo – F/D – Stanford (X)
Too high? I don’t think so, as I remember the fact that Verloo played center-back and played it well in 2010 for the Card. That kind of versatility erases a lot of potential flaws in the eyes of clubs, though Verloo’s not exactly rife with deficiencies anyway. The transition back to defense might take some time, so I wonder if she won’t be used on offense off the bench to start her pro career. Not going to be a dynamic scorer at the next level, as her usage stats aren’t overwhelming. An ace on dead ball situations though, particularly lethal from free kicks. If a club plays to her strengths and doesn’t demand she play a run and gun style, Verloo could be an instant contributor, no matter her position.
9. Jazmine Reeves – F – Virginia Tech
Hokie speedster has come from nowhere, well nowhere in the eyes of the casual fan, to turn into a potential first round pick after spearheading the offense of surprise College Cup side Virginia Tech. Had scored fourteen goals combined before this season but netted eleven times as a senior. Usage rate as a senior was good, not great, but she scored almost all of her goals against top opposition, which is pretty encouraging. The big worry is if the scoring spurt displayed this past season was a one off or on an outlier. But Reeves is as tough as nails, and you get the feeling she’ll find some way to stick.
10. Cloee Colohan – MF/D – BYU (X)
Big and mean. In this draft class, that’s an asset. Julie Johnston’s a more cultured option at defensive midfielder, but Colohan’s the best out and out destroyer in this class. And I’m struggling to think of anyone close amongst this group. The one-time Portland player is a crunching tackler with a mean streak that can be a tiger in the middle of the park in front of the back four. But she is what she is, and don’t let the offensive numbers at BYU fool you. Colohan’s not really going to be the type of player to fit in with tippy-tappy short passing teams, as she’s limited going forward by some substandard decision making with the ball at her feet. But she strikes a nice ball and does what she does very well. If she gets with a coaching staff that doesn’t try to make her something she isn’t, she’ll do very well for herself.
11. Natasha Anasi – D – Duke
Was out of this world as a sophomore center-back after being converted from defensive midfield when injuries hit the Blue Devils. It ended up being a decision that helped Duke to the national title game with an amazingly young side. Anasi hasn’t quite reached that level since for Duke, but she’s still been one of the nation’s preeminent central defenders in the two seasons since. Aggressive nature can get her in trouble with officials, but the physical nature of the pro game at times may demand such unrelenting play. Biggest question may be over her size, as she’s slightly undersized for a center-back, standing at just 5’6″. She has the qualities of a great defensive midfielder too though, so don’t be shocked if she’s converted back into the midfield by someone.
12. Michelle Pao – D – Pepperdine
13. Kristen Hamilton – F – Denver
14. Frances Silva – F – West Virginia
15. Shelina Zadorsky – D – Michigan (I)
16. Morgan Marlborough – F – Santa Clara
17. Mandy Laddish – MF – Notre Dame
18. Marissa Diggs – D – UCF
19. Emily Menges – D – Georgetown
20. Kelsey Wys – GK – Florida State
21. Nkem Ezurike – F – Michigan (I)
22. Annie Steinlage – MF/D – Virginia
23. Nicholette DiGiacomo – MF – Denver
24. Holly Hein – D – Michigan (X)
25. Charlyn Corral – MF – Louisville (I)