A day ahead of the 2023 NWSL Draft, which features a talented class of players, OL Reign made a trade with the Kansas City Current that will give the Seattle club a second-round draft pick and forward Elyse Bennett, who had a productive rookie season in 2022. In exchange, OL Reign sent $150,000 in allocation money to the Current.
The 23-year-old Bennett was the 7th overall pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft after a standout college career at Washington State University. She scored three goals and earned two assists in the regular season, and had a league-high four assists in the NWSL Challenge Cup.
ElYSE BENNETT ARE YOU KIDDING— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) April 24, 2022
KC Current up 2-1 pic.twitter.com/Vn4RaNKEV8
“We’re really excited to have Elyse joining the team,” said OL Reign general manager Nick Perera in a club press release. “We believe she’s a player that has a unique skillset and after an impressive rookie season, we look forward to watching her develop even further.”
The forward, who can play in the center or on the wing, was one of the best dribblers on the frontline, using her speed and ball control to whip around defenders. According to FBref, Bennett is in the 99th percentile among forwards for assists and 80th percentile in dribbles completed. She also averaged 1.25 tackles per 90 in her rookie year. That skill set should serve OL Reign well as a team that likes to press opponents and transition quickly into the attack.
Elyse Bennett cuts Orlando Pride's lead in half pic.twitter.com/JQ4MPEHA6O— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) August 1, 2022
At 5’ 10”, Bennett should also offer another strong threat in the air — getting on the end of Sofia Huerta’s crosses or Megan Rapinoe set pieces, for example.
Elyse Bennett with a header— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) May 15, 2022
We're all tied up in Orlando pic.twitter.com/DzJXOcEPOW
At WSU, Bennett had 26 goals and 12 assists in 93 games. She scored 10 goals in her final year as a Cougar and was named a Second Team All-American, First Team All-Region, and All-Pac-12.
“Elyse is a great addition up top. Through her rookie season, she proved that she is a force to be reckoned with and that she is willing to put in the work. I know she will make a great impact on our squad,” said head coach Laura Harvey in a club release.
OL Reign also acquired the 23rd overall pick in the NWSL Draft, which moves them into the second round. Ride of the Valkyries sources indicate that OL Reign may be looking at defensive depth for this pick in the draft. OL Reign also hold the 32nd and 46th picks.
To put some of this trade’s numbers in context, the Reign received $125,000 in allocation money last August in a trade with the Orlando Pride that sent Ally Watt to Florida. In addition, due to the talented players in this year’s draft, Angel City FC spent $450,000 to acquire the top pick, while NJ/NY Gotham FC sent $350,000 to the Orlando Pride to acquire the second pick (granted, this was after Gotham received $250,000 and Yazmeen Ryan from Angel City for the number one overall pick).