Here it is, our annual look back at NWSL Drafts gone by. It’s only been a few years, but nearly half of the class of 2013 has moved on, while many of those still in the league have switched addresses. This was also the last draft with some uncertainty at the top, something that won’t happen again until next year’s draft. Probably.
1 – Chicago – Zakiya Bywaters – F – UCLA
I’m going to guess Chicago are sick of this one being brought up annually. The Red Stars could’ve had USWNT contenders Kristie Mewis or Erika Tymrak or young stars AD Franch or Christine Nairn but instead shocked the WoSo world by taking Bywaters on the back of a fantastic senior season. Bywaters has been little more than a replacement level player for the Red Stars in between stints on the training table the past two seasons. She’ll have to come up big this season if the Red Stars are to get close to the playoffs.
2 – Washington – Tiffany McCarty – F – Florida State
Taken a half round too high and then scapegoated for the Spirit’s woeful form in 2013, McCarty’s career has run aground before it ever really got going. Moved to Houston in the offseason, McCarty was horribly inconsistent for the Dash up front instead of being just consistently horrible, as was the case in her rookie season. Another likely facing a make or break season.
3 – Kansas City – Kristie Mewis – MF – Boston College
Mewis not going first was a surprise. Mewis slipping to third was almost as surprising. She wasn’t a star right out of the blocks, but Mewis has since blossomed into a player fighting to make the WWC roster for the U.S. She was a key player in Boston’s offensive orchestra, but she’ll have to play conductor this season given the losses in the offseason faced by the Breakers. Could have a real star turn in 2015.
4 – Sky Blue FC – Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall – D – BYU
Injuries pretty much ruined Cutshall’s rookie season, and she hasn’t really played like a top four pick even when healthy. But she’s a likely starter at center-back for SBFC this season with Christie Rampone likely gone for much of the year. Still, she might end up as a defensive midfielder if the club needs more pace in central defense.
5 – Boston – Casey Short – D – Florida State
What could have been. Short missed all of 2013 before being traded to Chicago and missing all of 2014 through injury. Her status going forward is uncertain.
6 – WNY Flash – AD Franch – GK – Oklahoma State
Talk about a star-crossed career. Franch was as good as advertised as a rookie and looked to be on the fast track to an opportunity to break into the USWNT when she tore her ACL in the preseason last year. Seemingly recovered, she’s apparently being lowballed by the Flash and may be stuck hoofing it to Europe in the meantime. Thank you vague NWSL contract rules.
7 – Seattle – Christine Nairn – MF – Penn State
Considering most felt that Nairn would be a top three pick, her slip to the end of round one was a shock. Nairn certainly played like a woman with a point to prove for the Reign as a rookie but was a part of the clearout in the offseason, being sent to Washington. There, she’s quickly turned into the player most thought she’d be coming out of college and perhaps can count herself unlucky to not be with the extended U.S. U23 camp. Another who can make a name for herself in a WWC year.
8 – Portland – Kathryn Williamson – D – Florida
It’s been a topsy-turvy two years for Williamson, who started for the Thorns’ title winning team as a rookie before being traded to the club Portland beat in that final, WNY. Williamson retained a starting role in Rochester but labored as a part of an error prone Flash backline last season. Traded back to Portland, Williamson will likely add some stability to the Thorns’ sometimes implosive defense.
Players Still in League: 7/8
Players Still on Draft Team: 3/8 (Not counting Williamson, who was traded twice.)
9 – Chicago – Rachel Quon – D – Stanford
Quon hasn’t hit the heights some may have expected of her coming out of college, but she’s still represented fine value for draft position after two seasons. She looks to be a fixture at full-back for the Red Stars but not quite for country as she remains on the fringe of the Canadian WNT. Her absence if she makes the WWC roster would be a big blow to the Red Stars.
10 – Washington – Caroline Miller – F – Virginia
Terminally unlucky, Miller has missed almost all of two seasons through injury for the Spirit. She’s been re-signed for 2015, so there’s hope yet that she’ll live up to her potential, but you have to wonder if the injuries have taken a severe toll on her physical tools.
11 – FC Kansas City – Erika Tymrak – MF – Florida
Taken roughly a round and a few picks too late, Tymrak was a star for FCKC as a rookie and has been a major success story for last year’s champs. The tricky midfielder has been effective out wide or in the middle in the 4-2-3-1 and could be one of the NWSL’s best this year if she doesn’t make the WWC roster for the U.S.
12 – Sky Blue FC – Kendall Johnson – D – Portland
Left school a year early and perhaps slipped further in the draft than expected but still showed signs of promise as a rookie. Went off the boil a little bit last year and fell out of favor for SBFC though. Status for 2015 seems to be up in the air, and a fresh start may be in order for the marauding left-back.
13 – Boston – Mariah Nogueira – MF – Stanford
Boston could have used a defensive midfielder of her ilk last season, so why in the world did they trade her after 2013? She quickly turned into a great asset off the bench for the Reign last season and continues to be one of the best pure defensive midfielders in the league right now.
14 – WNY Flash – Amy Barczuk – D – Colorado
Had a ton of upside coming out of the draft, but Barczuk hasn’t been much more than a replacement level player in the NWSL thus far. She hardly grew into a starting role last season for the Flash and was traded to Boston in the offseason for a second round pick, which seems generous. She won’t be short of chances to shine on the Breakers’ woeful backline this year though.
15 – Seattle – Mallory Schaffer – MF – William & Mary
A bust, pure and simple. Schaffer’s game couldn’t translate to a higher level after being a mid-major star, not making the grade here or on trial with Washington. Seemingly dropped out of the game at this level.
16 – Portland – Nicolette Radovcic – F – UCF
An odd pick at the time, it looked no less odd when Radovcic was cut before final rosters were set. The UCF star never popped up in the pro ranks again.
Players Still in League: 6/8
Players Still on Draft Team: 4/8
17 – Chicago – Taylor Vancil – GK – Florida State
At the time, it was perhaps the biggest WTF pick of the entire draft, as Vancil had been a backup to Kelsey Wys at FSU and had hardly lived up to her youth press clippings having previously been a U17 international for the U.S. But Vancil proved competent enough as Chicago’s backup as a rookie and filled the same role last season. Whether she’s good enough to take another step up this season to start for the Red Stars is another matter entirely.
18 – Washington – Holly King – MF – Florida
Had impressed in the W-League but looked out of her depth in brief NWSL time with the woeful 2013 Spirit. Was waived after the season and played in Colorado in the W-League last year.
19 – FC Kansas City – Whitney Berry – MF – Kansas
Didn’t make FCKC’s final roster and hasn’t popped up since.
20 – Sky Blue FC – Ashley Baker – GK – Georgia
Stopped a penalty as a rookie as a GK sub for SBFC but didn’t see action otherwise and looks to be out of the game.
21 – Boston Breakers – Jo Dragotta – MF – Florida
Another who excelled as a system player in college but who was unimpressive at this level. Dragotta was waived after the season and looks to be out of the game at this level.
22 – WNY Flash – Vicki DiMartino – F – Boston College
Provided a little spark off the bench as a rookie for the Flash but left the club before 2014 and played with the WPSL’s New York Athletic Club last year.
23 – Seattle – Kristen Meier – MF – Wake Forest
Struggled for time with an abysmal Seattle team as a rookie before being moved on after the season. Showed up in camp with WNY last year but didn’t make the final cut.
24 – Portland – Amber Brooks – MF – North Carolina
Brooks had signed in Germany before the draft, explaining her sudden slide, though Portland picking up her draft rights this late was very shrewd indeed. She returned stateside for 2014 and endured an uneven season for Paul Riley’s Portland side. Has since been traded to WNY, where she’ll battle for starting minutes again.
Players Still in League: 2/8
Players Still on Draft Team: 1/8
25 – Chicago – Jen Hoy – F – Princeton
Hoy didn’t arrive with the Red Stars until later in the 2013 season but proved an instant hit for a punchless Red Stars offense. She began 2014 in solid form but went ice cold later in the season, and questions linger over her ability to mesh with Christen Press in the attack. There won’t be that problem early this year, and Chicago will be depending on Hoy’s goals to keep them afloat.
26 – Washington – Colleen Williams – F – Dayton
Missed almost all of 2013 with injuries and then ripped up her knee again as she tried to make a comeback last season. Another facing an uncertain future.
27 – FC Kansas City – Nia Williams – D – Missouri State
Hung around at the end of FCKC’s roster as emergency defensive cover as a rookie but disappeared mysteriously from their roster early last year.
28 – Sky Blue FC – Becky Kaplan – MF/F – Maryland
Didn’t make SBFC’s roster as a rookie and hasn’t popped up afterward.
29 – Boston – Maddy Evans – MF – Penn State
Has turned out to be a nice surprise for the Breakers, providing instant energy off the bench for two seasons. Will be back again in 2015, likely in the same role.
30 – WNY Flash – Jackie Logue – D – Wake Forest
Never made the Flash’s roster for the 2013 season. Hasn’t been seen since.
31 – Seattle – Haley Kopmeyer – GK – Michigan
The Reign got good value with their last pick in the 2013 draft, as Kopmeyer has been a solid backup for two seasons in goal. She’ll have a step up on incoming competition for the starting job when Hope Solo’s away on international duty.
32 – Portland – Roxanne Barker – GK – Pepperdine
The Thorns grossly mismanaged their backup goalkeeping situation in their first year, to the point that it’d take a lot longer than just this column to explain in detail the headache inducing situation. Barker didn’t make the final Portland roster and has instead played professionally in Iceland and internationally with South Africa.
Players Still in League: 3/8
Players Still on Draft Team: 3/8
Players Still in League: 18/32
Players Still on Draft Team: 11/32
Still In League, Still With Team – By Team
2/4, 1/4 – Boston
4/4, 4/4 – Chicago
2/4, 1/4 – FC Kansas City
2/4, 0/4 – Portland (Williamson is back w/ club after offseason trade.)
2/4, 1/4 – Seattle
2/4, 2/4 – Sky Blue FC
2/4, 1/4 – Washington
2/4, 1/4 – WNY Flash