As the National Women’s Soccer League prepares for an historic 5th College Draft, Backline Soccer is taking the opportunity to reflect on the previous four drafts and how each pick panned out.
First up is the first draft in 2013.
5. Casey Short (D) – Florida State
Short’s NWSL career did not get off to a strong start, as she missed both the 2013 and 2014 seasons after suffering ACL tears in her knees. Chicago acquired the rights to Short after the 2013 season, but she chose to sign for Avaldsnes in Norway’s Toppserien for the 2015 season. Avaldsnes finished runner-up in 2015, and Short was to the league’s Best XI. She returned to the US for the 2016 season and helped the Chicago Red Stars earn a second consecutive playoff berth. She also was voted into the Second XI and was called up to the USWNT for matches against Switzerland and Norway.
13. Mariah Noguiera (M) – Stanford
Noguiera was a consistent starter in 2013 with 16 starts and 20 appearances for Boston. She scored 3 goals and helped the Breakers to a respectable 5th place finish. She was traded to Seattle after the 2013 season, but struggled for playing time over the next two seasons, mostly appearing as a late sub for the Reign. Noguiera retired from soccer after the 2015 season.
21. Jo Dragotta (M) – Florida
Dragotta began the 2013 season as a starter for Boston but was relegated to the bench in early June and did not make a single appearance for the Breakers in the final 8 games of the season. She was waived by the club after the season.
29. Maddy Evans (M) – Penn State
Evans joined the club midseason in 2013 and slowly became a consistent presence for Boston during her three years with the Breakers. She was selected by Orlando in the 2015 Expansion Draft and enjoyed a solid debut season for the Pride.
Chicago Red Stars
1. Zakiya Bywaters (F) – UCLA
A somewhat surprising pick at #1 overall, Bywaters struggled with injuries during her time with Chicago. While she was able to play most of the 2014 season, her 2013 season was limited by injury, and she sat out all of 2015. She was cut by the Red Stars in the 2016 preseason.
9. Rachel Quon (D) – Stanford
Quon was a consistent starter on the backline for most of her three seasons in Chicago, but she was benched towards the end of the 2015 season and did not appear in the Red Stars’ semifinal loss that year. She elected not to re-sign with Chicago in 2016 after being dropped from allocation status.
17. Taylor Vancil (GK) – Florida State
Vancil was another surprising pick by Chicago, as she was backup to Kelsey Wys at Florida State. Her two seasons for the Red Stars were also limited to backup duty, and after making making only 9 appearances, Vancil retired from soccer after 2014.
25. Jen Hoy (F) – Princeton
Hoy missed the first part of the 2013 season to graduate college but became an impact player late in the season, and her brace in the regular-season final that year knocked Kansas City out of first place on the table. While Hoy saw less playing time as the 2016 season progressed, she remains on the roster and is currently on loan to Newcastle Jets in Australia’s W-League.
FC Kansas City
3. Kristie Mewis (M) – Boston College
Mewis had a solid rookie season in 2013, helping Kansas City to a playoff berth. She was then traded to Boston via Seattle and put up two good years for the Breakers before being loaned to the Japanese league in the 2014 off-sesaon. An ankle injury sidelined Mewis for half of 2016 and she was traded to Washington in November of this year.
11. Erika Tymrak (M) – Florida
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2013 season, Tymrak overcame a low start to the year to set a league record with 6 goals as a rookie. She was named the Rookie of the Year after a strong season for the Blues, which earned her a call-up to the NT. Her partnership with Lauren Holiday was a major component of KC’s two championship seasons. Tymrak struggled in 2016 following the departure of several key players from Kansas City, and is currently on loan to Melbourne City in the W-League.
19. Whitney Berry (M) – Kansas
Berry did not make the roster.
27. Nia Williams (D) – Missouri State
Williams saw limited time in her season and a half with Kansas City and was waived in 2014.
Portland Thorns FC
8. Kat Williamson (D) – Florida
A starter in the league in her first 3 seasons–2013 and 2015 with Portland, 2014 with Western New York–Williamson suffered a knee injury in the second game of 2016 and missed most of the year. She retired from soccer after the 2016 season.
16. Nicolette Radovcic (F) – Central Florida
Radovcic did not make the roster.
24. Amber Brooks (M) – North Carolina
Brooks signed with Bayern Munich in the Frauen Bundesliga for 2013 but returned to Portland for 2014. She was traded to Seattle in 2015 and is currently with Houston following a trade in 2016.
32. Roxanne Barker (GK) – Pepperdine
Barker did not make the roster.
Seattle Reign FC
7. Christine Nairn (M) – Penn State
One of the few bright spots for Seattle in an otherwise dismal year, Nairn helped carry the club along with Jess Fishlock. She was traded to Washington after the 2013 season in a deal that gave the Reign Kim Little’s discovery rights, and has since helped lead the Spirit to three straight playoff appearances. She was re-acquired by the Reign following the 2016 season and is currently on loan to Melbourne Victory in the W-League.
15. Mallory Schaffer (M) – William & Mary
Schaffer did not make the roster.
23. Kristen Meier (M) – Wake Forest
Meier saw limited action in her lone season with Seattle, failing to make a single appearance in the last half of the season. She was waived after the season. Meier signed with Western New York for the 2014 season, but was waived after one game.
31. Haley Kopmeyer (GK) – Michigan
Kopmeyer had a rookie season to forget, only making one appearance for the Reign in 2013. With the departure of Michelle Betos to Portland following the 2013 season, she was re-signed by Seattle to be the backup to Hope Solo. Though performing well, she mainly saw backup duty in 2014 and 2015, but in 2016 she was given the #1 spot following Solo’s decision not to return to the Reign after the Olympics. With Solo’s status uncertain for 2017, Kopmeyer is set to be the #1 for Seattle in 2017.
Sky Blue FC
4. Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall (D) – BYU
Cutshall missed the start of the 2013 season due to injury but became a starter for Sky Blue towards the end of the year. After missing time in 2014 with another injury, she reclaimed her starting spot and held it through the 2015 season. Cutshall elected to sit out the 2016 season.
12. Kendall Johnson (D) – Portland
Johnson started every match in her rookie season and was a consistent starter in 2014. She was traded to Portland after the 2014 season and made 17 appearances for the Thorns in 2015. Johnson was named to the Portland roster in 2016, but did not make an appearance for the club.
20. Ashley Baker (GK) – Georgia
Signed as a backup for Brittany Cameron while Jill Loyden was out with injury, Baker only played one minute in the 2013 season. She was waived late in the season and is out of the league.
28. Becky Kaplan (F) – Maryland
Kaplan did not make the roster.
2. Tiffany McCarty (F) – Florida State
McCarty had a very lackluster rookie season for Washington, scoring only 2 goals for the wooden spoon winners. She was selected by Houston in the 2014 Expansion Draft, but failed to impress in two seasons with the Dash. She is currently with Kansas City following a trade to the Blues after the 2015 season.
10. Caroline Miller (F) – Virginia
Injuries limited Miller to a handful of minutes in 2013 and she missed all of 2014. She was waived by the Spirit in 2015 and signed in Sweden.
18. Holly King (M) – Florida
Mostly used as a squad rotation player in her lone season, King failed to make an impact and was waived after the 2013 season.
26. Colleen Williams (M) – Dayton
Williams played only a few minutes in 2013 before suffering an ACL injury and was waived by Washington in 2014. She retired from soccer after the 2014 season.
Western New York Flash
6. Adrianna Franch (GK) – Oklahoma State
Franch began her NWSL career with a standout season for Western New York in 2013, leading the league in several statistical categories and earning a call-up to the NT. She missed all of 2014 with an ACL injury and elected not to re-sign with the Flash for 2015. Franch signed with Avaldsnes in Norway for 2015, but returned to the NWSL in 2016 with Portland.
14. Amy Barczuk (M) – Colorado
Barczuk was mostly a sub in her two seasons with WNY, struggling to earn time in an established Flash midfield. She was traded to Boston after the 2014 season and became a starter for the Breakers, but retired from soccer after the 2015 season.
22. Vicki DiMartino (F) – Boston College
DiMartino was mostly a sub for Western New York in her single season, missing several games with a knee sprain. She elected not to return to the Flash for the 2014 season.
30. Jaclyn Logue (D) – Wake Forest
Logue did not make the roster.
Not the best draft to begin the league with. Most of the players selected either did not make the cut in preseason or failed to make an impact for their clubs and were cut after one year.
Winner: Seattle Reign FC
No team had an outstanding draft in 2013, but Seattle was one of the only teams that selected well. Kopmeyer has been one of the best keepers in the NWSL over the last two seasons, and the Reign got three seasons of Kim Little after trading Nairn to Washington. With Nairn back in the fold for 2017, Seattle’s initial draft looks to be a success.
Honorable mention: FC Kansas City
Loser: Washington Spirit
A massive failure by the Spirit, bypassing solid players like Mewis, Nairn, and Tymrak in favor of local products who did not produce for Washington.
Dishonorable mention: Western New York Flash