The 2023 NWSL Draft is in the books for OL Reign, and while the headlines this week are the trades for forward Elyse Bennett and defender Emily Sonnett, OL Reign also drafted two players on Thursday night. Let’s get to know a little bit about each of their newest players.
Shae Holmes, defender
Picked 19th overall, the University of Washington graduate won’t have to go far to begin her professional career. Holmes was limited to 44 appearances (32 starts) in her collegiate career because of three — that’s right THREE — instances of sustaining a torn ACL.
While Holmes is a defender, she does also have two goals on her Huskies account, with both of them being game winners. Her first came in 2019 in a NCAA tournament first round match against Seattle University.
And more recently, she scored this free kick winner against Utah in the 2022 season.
Holmes is a familiar player for OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey. Speaking with media after the draft, Harvey shared that Holmes was part of the US U-20 squad when Harvey was that team’s head coach and Holmes trained with the Reign at times last season. While OL Reign were positioned to draft 23rd overall (acquired as part of the Bennett trade), they ultimately moved up four spots to 19 to select Holmes. Harvey joked that with former assistant Sam Laity now the head coach of the Houston Dash, she needed to stay one step ahead of him.
“I am honestly speechless and just overwhelmed with so much joy. Ever since I have been coached by Laura in World Cup qualifying, I loved her as a coach, and I have always wanted to be coached by her again,” said Holmes in the club’s post-draft press release.
Natalie Viggiano, midfielder
Picked 46th overall, Viggiano made 83 appearances (44 starts) for the University of Wisconsin and is the younger sister of Houston Dash midfielder Marisa Viggiano. Viggiano’s six goals and two assists in her senior season was recognized with All Big Ten honors. Harvey said of selecting Viggiano, “I think she suits the style of play that we like to do,” which looks to be a box-to-box, attacking midfielder type. Viggiano is the second University of Wisconsin graduate on OL Reign’s squad, joining Rose Lavelle.
Welcome to Seattle, Shae and Natalie!