NWSL Draft Ratings: Kansas City Current Earns A;  The Washington Spirit makes a surprising move

NWSL Draft Ratings: Kansas City Current Earns A; The Washington Spirit makes a surprising move

NWSL Draft Ratings: Kansas City Current Earns A;  The Washington Spirit makes a surprising move

Philadelphia The National Women’s Soccer League welcomed 48 new players to the league during the 2023 draft on Thursday. A wild first round full of trades with player movement and position switching set the tone for the evening. Angel City FC picked 18-year-old striker Alyssa Thompson with the No. 1 pick overall while Kansas City Current traded forward Lynn Williams jump to No. 2, pushing Duke forward Michelle Cooper. The project also ended the night with an exchange by Houston Dash. These were deep draft classes, with many teams coming away with good additions to their rosters and lots of positive vibes.

With the 2023 draft officially on the books, let’s rate the teams by their overall draft night:

City of Angels: B-

The Los Angeles side made headlines the day before the draft when they participated in a four-team trade to move into the No. 1 seed. The move was reported to Thompson’s draft. Here’s how Angel City won the top pick:

  • Angel City FC received the rights to transfer Yazmeen Ryan from the Portland Thorns in exchange for $200,000 in allocation, along with ACFC’s 2023 first round draft pick and 2024 second round draft pick.
  • Angel City FC then sold Ryan’s rights and $250,000 to the benefit Gotham FC in exchange for the #1 draft pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft.

The club eventually spent $450,000 to climb to number one and select Thompson. Thompson, a young prospect with a high ceiling, could play on the frontline, depending on the team’s plans to capitalize on it. It was a bold move and probably could have paid off sooner than expected. The club also needed to strengthen its starting goalkeeper and did so by selecting another California native – Angelina Anderson from California-Berkely.

Chicago Red Stars: C+

A team that had lost several players in the off-season due to free agency and retirement, the club entered the draft requiring players to be drafted in all areas. They started with three picks but ended up with four players. Penn State forward Penelope Hocking was named one of the best forwards in the draft class and was Chicago’s first 7th pick.

The additions Grace Yochum (Oklahoma), Ally Schlegel (Penn State) and Sophie Jones (Duke) are all offensive players to come in and compete for starting roles at the club. But the lack of additional depth defenders gives them a lower rating.

Houston Dash: B+

Houston traded from the first round, but it paid off in the trade North Carolina Courage. They received striker Diana Ordonez and number 30 overall. Ordonez ends a breakthrough season in which she broke the record for the number of goals scored by a rookie (12). They also had a need for depth in defense and midfield. They achieved this by picking players like Jyllissa Harris (University of South Carolina) and Lindsi Jennings (Louisiana State University).

Current Kansas City: A

The Current continued their streak of big draft day moves when they made a deal with NJ/NY Gotham FC to jump into second place. They picked top contender and Mac Hermann Trophy winner Cooper and closed out the first round with Alexa Spaanstra, a versatile striker who can also play in midfield.

NJ/NY Gotham FC: A-

The team started the day with the #2 pick, made a huge number of moves from Current, Racing Louisville and FC San Diego Wave – and still remains with the choice of the top five. The club acquired USWNT striker Lynn Williams from Kansas City Current in exchange for the No. 2 seed, then picked Jenna Nightswonger in the No. 4 seed after being traded to Louisville. The clubs move earlier in the week to acquire Yazmeen Ryan also sets them up well for 2023.

North Carolina Courage: C-

They lost Debinha in free agency and now Ordonez in trade, and for the available talent in the first round, they made somewhat confusing picks for their picks. They were the winners in last year’s draft, but unfortunately not this one. But Clara Robbins (FSU) in No. 9 could be a steal.

OL Reign: B-

OL Reign has an above-average roster and comes off with a slightly average rating. They come out of the day with only two pickaxes, but they rushed to the fences with the trade. Laura Harvey chose another star in the exchange Washington’s Ghost for USWNT defender Emily Sonnett.

Orlando’s Pride: A-

The team participated in a multi-team deal prior to draft day and earned a fair amount of allocation money in the process. They ultimately lost in the free agency race for Brazil national team Debinha, but made a good choice with their draft picks. Defender Emily Madril was the highest-rated defender entering the draft, and Pride had to target the back lane. They also leave with Messiah Bright, the highest-rated striker from TCU who scored 49 goals in his collegiate career.

FC Portland Thorns: B

The reigning champions took another first-round pick in a trade with Angel City FC and opted to pick Alabama’s Reyna Reyes – a player who can fit into the line of defense and midfield and become a long-term solution to their defense.

Racing Louisville FC:C+

Racing Louisville pulled out of the first round and signed Paige Monaghan in a trade to Gotham FC for the No. 4 spot. She was their biggest pick of the night, next to money allotment, giving them an average rating.

San Diego Wave FC: C+

The California club jumped up in the draft order to first pick in the second round, but didn’t really need to complete the bulk of their roster with this draft. They hit the jackpot with Naomi Girma in last year’s draft, made good free transfers through the agency in the off-season, and had little use in this year’s draft. However, midfielder Sierra Enge stood out at Stanford, and getting an extra goaltender in Lauren Brzykcy was a smart move.

Washington Ghost: D+

Ghost needed to increase their roster, so they traded USWNT defender Sonnett. Make it make sense. If Alabama striker/midfielder Riley Tanner can have a breakout year and help attack, maybe the team will beat the opposition on the field.

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