The 2016 NWSL Draft kicks off in Baltimore, Maryland, at 7:00 a.m. this morning. The Seattle Reign FC have the fourth pick in the draft, while our rivals down South claim the first selection in the draft. The Reign also have picks 25, 30, and 40.
Previous Reign first-round draft picks have been stricken by the injury curse. Both Amanda Frisbie (2014 first-round pick) and Havana Solaun (2015 first-round pick) suffered season-ending injuries. It is time to reverse the curse in 2016!
In pre-draft remarks, Harvey indicated that the team may be thinking longer term this draft. The Reign don't necessarily need someone who can start from day one, and they might look for talent that falls behind a few consistent starters, but has the potential to be a big part of the team in future years.
This year's draft class is loaded with talent among the top 10, but is noticeably weaker after the second round. While it is always hard to predict who Laura Harvey has her eyes on, here are a few strong players that might be available when the Reign get on the clock for the fourth pick.
- Raquel Rodriguez - MF, Penn State: If Rodriguez, the Hermann Trophy winner this year, falls to fourth, the Reign would be silly to pass her up. Rodriguez scored a goal in the World Cup for Costa Rica, and has a terrifyingly good shot from distance. She's aggressive and great at winning 50/50 balls. She's got great vision as well, and can play wide or in the center of the field.
Janine Beckie - F, Texas Tech: Beckie is a Canadian international that has a chance of making it onto Canada's Olympic roster (should they qualify). If she gets allocated by Canada, it would make her selection even more enticing. While she scored 12 goals in her last 13 matches, Beckie struggled early this season, and consistency could be a concern. Taking her this early seems like a risk to me.
Rachel Daly - F, LB, Saint John's: Daly, an English international, scored 19 goals her senior year, but there is also talk that she could be a really strong left back, a position the Reign need to consider with Stephanie Cox retiring. If the Reign selected Daly, she would take up their final international roster spot, and I'm not sure Harvey wants to do that with a rookie.
Katie Bowen - D (LB, CB), MF, UNC: Bowen is already a member of the national team for New Zealand, and would therefore take up the final international spot. What I like about her is her versatility. Bowen played both centerback and outside midfielder for soccer powerhouse UNC, and was used more frequently as an outside back and left mid for New Zealand, including in all three 2015 World Cup matches.
Carson Pickett - LB, LM, Florida State: While Antonia Goransson appears to be Stephanie Cox's replacement, Harvey might be looking for additional options on the left side. Pickett is, by far, the strongest option at left back. Pickett managed 22 assists in her last two seasons at FSU. Twenty-two. She has left-footed service that could rival Cox, and that must be enticing to Harvey.
Cari Roccaro - CB, CDM, Notre Dame: It was just announced yesterday that Roccaro had surgery and will be out 4-6 months. If that hadn't happened, I would be pushing for her to be the highest on this list. Roccaro isn't flashy, but she has great positional awareness and tenacity. While her play leveled off her senior year, Roccaro captained the U-20 USWNT that participated in the 2014 U-20 World Cup, and while it is now a risk to take her early, I wouldn't hate the decision.
This is your way-too-early-Pacific-Time NWSL Draft live thread. We'll have updates in the comments, and will update the table below at the conclusion of the draft.
NWSL 2016 Draft Order
|1||1||Portland Thorns FC (via ORL) - Emily Sonnett, D|
|1||2||Sky Blue FC (via POR) - Raquel Rodriquez, MF|
|1||3||Boston Breakers - Portland Thorns FC (via POR/SBFC) - Christen Westphal, D|
|1||4||Seattle Reign FC (via WNYF) - Carson Pickett, D|
|1||5||Houston Dash ( via SRFC/PTFC) - Cari Roccaro, D|
|1||6||Houston Dash - Rachel Daly, D|
|1||7||Washington Spirit - Cheyna Williams, F|
|1||8||Houston Dash (via FCKC) - Janine Beckie, F|
|1||9||Western New York Flash (via CRS) - Michaela Hahn, MF|
|1||10||Orlando Pride (via PTFC/SRFC)* - Samantha Witteman|
|2||11||Western New York Flash (ORL) - Makenzy Doniak, F|
|2||12||Washington Spirit (via BOS) - Cali Farquharson, F|
|2||13||Sky Blue FC - Leah Galton, D/F|
|2||14||Western New York Flash - Mallory Weber, M/F|
|2||15||Orlando Pride (via FCKC/WAS/PTFC) - Christina Burkenroad, M/F|
|2||16||FC Kansas City (via WAS/PTFC/HOU) - Katie Bowen, M/D|
|2||17||Boston Breakers (via CRS/WAS) - Brittany Ratcliffe, M/F|
|2||18||FC Kansas City - Brianne Reed, D|
|2||19||Chicago Red Stars - Katie Naughton, D|
|2||20||Washington Spirit (via BOS/PTFC/BOS/SRFC) - Alli Murphy|
|3||21||Portland Thorns FC (ORL)|
|3||22||Chicago Red Stars (via BOS)|
|3||23||Sky Blue FC|
|3||24||Western New York Flash|
|3||25||Seattle Reign FC (via PTFC)|
|3||26||Western New York Flash (via HOU)|
|3||27||Chicago Red Stars (via WAS)|
|3||28||FC Kansas City|
|3||29||Chicago Red Stars|
|3||30||Seattle Reign FC|
|4||33||Sky Blue FC|
|4||34||Washington Spirit (via WNYF)|
|4||35||Boston Breakers (via PTFC)|
|4||36||Sky Blue FC (HOU)|
|4||38||FC Kansas City|
|4||39||Chicago Red Stars|
|4||40||Seattle Reign FC|