The countdown of the Top 40 players available in the 2017 NWSL Draft continues with a look at Nos. 11-20.
11. Michele Vasconcelos – M/F – BYU
Stats: 90 games, 33 goals, 30 assists
After three steady, yet not truly spectacular seasons prior to last fall, Vasconcelos exploded in her senior year, scoring 16 goals and adding 13 assists on the way to capturing WCC Player of the Year honors. A player that can take defenders on the dribble, pick out a pass or finish things herself, Vasconcelos is one of the top wide attackers on the draft board. If she can prove to handle more of the defensive load on the flank or finds the right system for her, a promising pro career is right around the corner.
12. Jane Campbell – GK – Stanford
Stats: 84 games, 210 saves, 35 shutouts
A glittering, four-year career came to an end for the star Stanford ‘keeper, as she reinforced the suggestion of being a potential national team player one day. In the meantime, while not a flawless prospect, she’s the top of the heap in terms of senior GKs given her all-around ability; from shot stopping, distribution and leadership at the back, she’s a very good goalkeeper and should only continue to improve.
13. Meggie Dougherty Howard – M – Florida
Stats: 94 games, 14 goals, 25 assists
The solid and steady central midfielder has the composure, frame and passing ability to succeed in a professional environment. Playing four years at Florida certainly helped Howard, who is a central midfielder that can sit deep, break up play and start attacks with her passing. Concerns about her pace and athleticism in NWSL’s helter skelter environment could be the long thing holding her back. Provided she makes that adjustment, Howard has everything else to be a hit.
14. Nickolette Driesse – M – Penn State
Stats: 96 games, 6 goals, 20 assists
In a similar vein to Howard, Driesse is a fantastic soccer player with questions about how her athleticism translates to the grind of the NWSL. A smart, cerebral player that displays an impressive passing range, she’s underrated defensively and somewhat overlooked with Penn State missing so many players with the U20 World Cup in her senior campaign. One of Driesse’s most notable accomplishments is winning back-to-back national titles with two different schools: Florida State (2014) and the Nittany Lions (2015); she's a proven winner when the games matter and even on the practice field.
15. Darian Jenkins – F – UCLA
Stats: 76 games, 29 goals, 12 assists
While a broken leg cut her season short in 2016, Jenkins remains a sleeper in this draft despite the concerns over her health. Before the season ended, she was in firing form, scoring seven goals from 10 appearances for the Bruins. Her dynamism and pace up front are reminiscent of recent successful NWSL attackers (Taylor Smith, Jessica McDonald, Lynn Williams) and as long as she returns to full fitness with no lingering issues is a player with massive potential in the league.
16. Catrina Atanda – M – Clemson
Stats: 70 games, 30 goals, 14 assists
A big part of Clemson’s renaissance over the past four seasons, Atanda is a left-footed attacking midfielder looking to continue the tradition of quality New Jersey talent. While she at points of her college career she would drift in and out of games, and can be a bit one-footed Atanda has the makeup to be a successful pro. Possessing a solid shot from range, the ability to find space and pass between the lines and combine in the final third, there’s plenty of traits that should lead to her being selected high in the draft.
Stats: 85 games, 37 goals, 29 assists
After redshirting in 2014, putting together a quality campaign in 2015, Ribeiro’s star continued to rise in her senior season, as she finished tied for the lead in scoring with 21 goals, adding a whopping 14 assists to go with it. Like a few of the other midfielders on the list, Ribeiro is a quality soccer player that faces the question of adaptation to the league’s physicality; the right system and coach will likely see a huge benefit from her passing and finishing skills.
18. Kailen Sheridan – GK – Clemson
Stats: 77 games, 229 saves, 29 shutouts
Full national team pedigree is difficult to overlook, exactly what Kailen Sheridan brings to the draft pool. Like Atanda, she’s been a part of the spine that’s led Clemson’s transformation, and the Canadian national team goalkeeper looks set to continue the upward trajectory of her career. A quality shot-stopper that’s been a part of numerous World Cup squads and a Bronze medalist at last year’s Olympics, she’ll certainly end up getting a long look for a team looking to boost its goalkeeping depth.
19. Maddie Bauer – D – Stanford
Stats: 88 games, 1 goal, 5 assists
Following a decorated career in Palo Alto, Bauer’s a central defender that could end up coming early off the board simply due to the lack of options in the draft pool. She enjoyed a solid and steady career, and seems likely to make a roster. Her ceiling may not be extremely high, though there’s every reason to believe that she can provide enough consistency to lock down a starting role.
20. Arielle Ship – F – California
Stats: 72 games, 29 goals, 14 assists
Smooth, elegant and dangerous on the dribble, the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2015 didn’t produce the same kind of impact in her senior season. That shouldn’t scare teams away, as Ship is a smart player that could end up forging a career out wide or centrally both up front and on the wing. Her versatility and well-rounded game is a huge asset that could push her towards the early portion of the second round.