The 2020 Edition of the NWSL College Draft is nearly here, as the best of college soccer looks for a chance at the next-level.
Both players slot into the top five of the TopDrawerSoccer Big Board, with Smith likely to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Portland Thorns. Portland swung a deal last week to move atop the draft order and are expected to grab the Colorado native.
Who are some of the other top prospects available? Below is the TopDrawerSoccer Big Board for the NWSL Draft. Stats and highlight vidoes are embedded for those that posted them.
1. Sophia Smith – CF – Stanford*
Stats: 33 games, 24 goals, 11 assists
While not yet official, Smith is expected to leave Stanford early and enter the draft. She’s had two solid, albeit injury-impacted seasons at the Cardinal. The combination of upside and the way she projects as a dynamic forward that can play a variety of positions makes her all but a lock to go first overall in the draft. Sources have also indicated that she’s done very well at the January camp with the full U.S. women’s national team.
2. Kaleigh Riehl – CB – Penn State
Stats: 102 games, 2 goals, 3 assists
The cream of the center backs in the draft pool, Riehl’s been a big success since her freshman year, when she was a starter for the national champions in 2015. A veteran of various U.S. youth national teams, there’s every reason to believe that she could develop into a full team candidate. First up, is showing that she can make the move up to the NWSL. She’s ready to make the move and should slot in right away at the No. 2 pick.
3. Ally Watt – CF – Texas A&M
Stats: 90 games, 49 goals, 12 assists
A dynamic forward that can bring the required pace needed to excel in the NWSL, Watt’s success could be determined by how she’s able to improve with the ball. If she’s sharp enough against the better level of defending and can be clinical at a rate, there’s every reason to believe that her impact to the league can be immediate.
4. Taylor Kornieck – CM – Colorado
Stats: 82 games, 39 goals, 24 assists
A potential top-five talent, Kornieck has shown the ability to boss games from central midfield. Her position at the pro level could be up front, or it could be central, as long as she can move the ball quickly enough and is sufficiently mobile in the faced-pace league. Neither should be an issue for her, and there's always the possibility to move her up the field and try her as a No. 9.
5. Ashley Sanchez – W – UCLA*
Stats: 69 games, 23 goals, 42 assists
Also expected to declare early for the draft, Sanchez brings upside but more uncertainty than Smith. A wide attacking player with brilliant vision, she set the record for most assists in UCLA history as a junior. How she fits into the NWSL is a big question, as she’s certainly talented but there’s going to be an adjustment period. She'll need to show that she can put in a bit more defensively in order to really thrive and excel not just at this level. Whatever coach puts in the effort to find a way to get the most out of her abilities will be rewarded.
6. Evelyne Viens – CF – South Florida
Stats: 77 games, 73 goals, 23 assists
One of the top goal scorers over the past four seasons, Viens looks to be a lock to come off the board in the first round, despite requiring an international spot. While not the same top end athlete of some of her other peers, Viens should be able to come in and contribute to the next level right away. How effective she is could be dictated by her ability to convert her chances at an efficient enough rate against better defenders in the league. There are the usual caveats to track about how she didn’t face an ACC or Pac-12 schedule, but her goal-scoring record speaks for itself.
7. Tziarra King – W – NC State
Stats: 88 games, 48 goals, 19 assists
One of the best stories of the past four seasons of college soccer, King’s rise and consistency have both been impressive. Any player that can score at the rate she did in the ACC warrants a look, and she’s equipped to handle the athletic demands of the NWSL level. Fitting her in the right system, so she can score or create from the flanks, is something worth keeping in mind. Consistency is another piece to it, of course, as that will help determine her ceiling.
8. Kaiya McCullough – CB – UCLA
Stats: 91 games, 1 goal, 5 assists
Few players in the draft pool have the same track record of defending against the best attackers in the Pac-12 like McCullough. During her entire collegiate career, she’s shown the ability to play along a three or four-player back line. McCullough’s upside, whether it’s her athleticism at the back or experience in UCLA’s ball-playing system, nudges her high up the list.
9. Kelcie Hedge – CM – Santa Clara
Stats: 85 games, 17 goals, 19 assists
The WCC Player of the Year as a junior, Hedge embraced and excelled in a different role last fall, playing as more of a facilitator with Isabella D’Aquila and Kelsey Turnbow accounting for the goal-scoring. She has the youth national team pedigree, competing at the Under-20 World Cup in 2016, and the physical build and tools to slot right into a midfield role in the league.
10. Courtney Petersen – LB – Virginia
Stats: 78 games, 5 goals, 12 assists
Arguably the best outside back in the entire draft class, Petersen’s position and ability to fit a need right away could see her go very high on draft day. Like just about every player at Virginia, she’s a good passer of the ball and can defend well enough to make an immediate contribution. Just how good of a one-on-one defender she is against better attackers will factor into just how good she can be. Even if she struggles at left back, there’s a chance she could be an impact player on the left wing.
11. Zoe Morse – CB – Virginia
Stats: 85 games, 4 goals, 3 assists
Another of Virginia’s senior quintet to head into the draft as one of the top prospects on the board, Morse could certainly be considered as the second-best central defender behind Riehl. Great with her passing, UVA’s undoing last fall proved to be handling the pace and power of Washington State. Should that reflect poorly on Morse? Probably not, but the U.S. youth national team veteran will need to show she can stick against the higher paced attackers the league will throw at her.
12. Morgan Weaver – CF – Washington State
Stats: 85 games, 43 goals, 12 assists
With her strong play towards the end of the season and run to the College Cup, Weaver seems like she’s hovering on first-round territory ahead of the draft. While perhaps not the top-end athlete, her ability to compete with her back to goal could see her force her way into a relatively prominent role sooner rather than later. Weaver showed that she and excel in a competitive league like the Pac-12, and she stepped up and delivered for the Cougars in a big way last fall.
13. Natalie Jacobs – D/M/F – USC
Stats: 87 games, 26 goals, 23 assists
Few players can match Jacobs’ versatility in the draft, as she’s a very intriguing fit and has played just about every position for USC and Notre Dame. A U.S. youth national team veteran that is potentially a touch overlooked, she’ll reward whatever team ends up taking her. The next step for her is to replicate the ability to excel at various spots on the field, or perhaps even hone in on a position, at the next level. Regardless, Jacobs is a quality soccer player that should be more than a capable fit for an NWSL squad.
14. Julia Bingham – LB – USC
Stats: 89 games, 1 goal, 10 assists
Slotting in behind Petersen as a top left back prospect, that alone could see Bingham come off draft boards early. There’s a case to be made that Bingham could be the better of the two prospects at the spot, as Petersen’s strength is certainly going forward with the ball. Bingham has a bit more about her defensively, and her track record at USC over the past four seasons gives the indication that she could make the jump with relative success.
15. Amanda McGlynn – GK – Virginia Tech
Stats: 75 games, 297 saves, 32 shutouts
The best goalkeeper in the draft pool, McGlynn is a potential starting goalkeeper at the NWSL (obviously not right away) that could be better served with a move abroad, should that get her games sooner. A well-rounded goalkeeper that can do a number of things, whether shot-stopping, coming off her line, or claiming balls in the air, very well, how teams view goalkeepers will dictate when she’s picked. But she’s a talent not to be overlooked.
16. Phoebe McClernon – CB/RB – Virginia
Stats: 88 games, 1 goal, 0 assists
Stellar as a sophomore and junior, McClernon wasn’t at the peak of her powers in 2019. Pushed for playing time by freshman Natalia Staude, the senior saw time at left back and right back as well as in the middle. If she’s able to replicate that kind of versatility while handling the pace and power of NWSL attackers, everything could come together for her and whichever team gives her a look.
17. Meaghan Nally – CB/LB/RB – Georgetown
Stats: 88 games, 8 goals, 6 assists
Deployed mostly as an outside back during her first couple of seasons in college, Nally saw minutes in central defense during her senior campaign. Showing that she can be effective in whatever opportunity she gets is obviously going to determine her success when making the jump; whether it’s handling forwards through the middle or dealing with attackers out wide, Nally can do that at the college level with no problem. Proving that she can shackle or slow down the league's best offensive talent that will make-or-break her chances.
18. Camryn Biegalski – RB – Wisconsin
Stats: 85 games, 2 goals, 6 assists
There isn’t a plethora of true right backs in the class, leaving Biegalski as one of the better options. A consistent presence for Wisconsin, she was at the peak of her powers in 2019, nabbing Big Ten Defender of the Year. She brings enough athleticism and can cover the physical side of the game to stick on a roster somewhere, and even get games as a rookie.
19. Konya Plummer – CB – UCF
Stats: 64 games, 13 goals, 7 assists
After transferring from Southeastern University, Plummer played just 26 times at UCF. But that’s due to her experience with the Jamaican national team, as she played in Concacaf qualifying in 2018 and was at the World Cup in the summer of 2019. While a move overseas is still possible, and she’ll require an international spot, Plummer has the combination of talent, experience and presence to bring a real impact to an NWSL team.
20. Bridgette Andrzejewski – F/D – North Carolina
Stats: 101 games, 28 goals, 21 assists
A fascinating case in this draft, Andrzejewski is an athletic player that could play either as a winger or an outside back. Her overall positional fit is what keeps her somewhat surprisingly low in this ranking, although given how 2019 went, she should come off the board by the second round. If she can make the adjustment to a wing player or outside back at the professional level, her pedigree and development over the past four seasons could have her poised for a significant contribution. At the back, being able to defend one-on-one against the best attackers will be key, while if it’s up front, how she combines and passes that will dictate what kind of player she can be.
21. Ella Stevens – CM – Duke
Stats: 91 games, 24 goals, 34 assists
Arguably the top attacking central midfielder available in the draft, Stevens has been a model of consistency for Duke. While she can pick a pass and is extremely creative, her mobility and how that projects in the NWSL is something to watch for. In the right system, with teammates to run in behind, Stevens can be an impact player – provided that the game isn’t too quick for her at that level.
22. Meghan McCool – CF – Virginia
Stats: 88 games, 27 goals, 7 assists
After working her way into a starting role as a junior, McCool saved her best for last in terms of statistical production in her final season. How that translates to NWSL will be fascinating. McCool works hard and can be dangerous, but at times lacks a clinical finish or makes the wrong decision in the penalty area. But one team could be swayed by her prolific senior season and give her an opportunity. There’s a chance she could play anywhere in a front three, offering valuable versatility that if she puts in the work, could pay off.
23. Paula Germino-Watnick – AM/F – Georgetown
Stats: 86 games, 21 goals, 16 assists
The local standout come good at Georgetown, Germino-Watnick was part of Georgetown’s runs to the College Cup in 2016 and 2018, with the latter serving as her true breakout season. A talented attacking midfielder that could be shunted out wide, she was a bit inconsistent last fall, scoring just three times (all in one game) during the final nine of the campaign. That shouldn’t deter from what is a promising player, although she’ll need to show that she can make a next-level impact to stick in the league. A move abroad wouldn’t be a huge surprise, at least at first.
24. Kate Del Fava – CM/OB – Illinois State
Stats: 84 games, 25 goals, 11 assists
While mid-major concerns could push del Fava down draft boards, the tough and tenacious midfielder is active, busy and brings a lot to several different spots. Given her motor and defensive ability, a move to an outside back wouldn’t be a huge shock either, and the kind of versatility that could lead her to big things at the highest level.
25. Stasia Mallin – RB/LB – Memphis
Stats: 73 games, 4 goals, 29 assists
It was a dream 2019 season for both the Indiana native and Memphis as a program, which finished with a sterling 17-3-1 record. Mallin earned First Team All-America honors from United Soccer Coaches, putting in several impressive performances as an outside back. Her stock has soared over the past couple of seasons, and as an outside back that can use both feet relatively effectively, Mallin should hear her named called on draft day. From there, it becomes about showing the requisite athleticism to defend at a level in order to see minutes in the pros.
26. Uchenna Kanu – W/F – Southeastern
Stats: 78 games, 157 goals, 52 assists
Perhaps it's slightly ambitious to put a striker from the NAIA ranks this high in a draft ranking. But when you consider that Kanu's shown she can hang at a World Cup level, then it's less far-fetched. Part of Nigeria's World Cup squad, she played in all four games in France last summer. Her stats are eye-popping, and while a move to Europe is certainly a strong possibility, her inclusion in the draft pool is noteworthy nevertheless. Given her international status, that adds a bit of unpredictability to whether or not she would be picked, but as a third or fourth round flier, it wouldn't be a bad thing for a team to own her rights at that point. Even coming from the NAIA, she averaged two goals per game during her four seasons, an astounding rate no matter the level.
27. Abigail Kim – W/F – California
Stats: 79 games, 18 goals, 10 assists
A member of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team squad in 2018, Kim rode that wave to a very strong showing as a junior, earning an All-Pac-12 Third Team nod. Cal had a strong season last fall, and while Kim’s influence wasn’t quite the same, her speed and dynamism on the flanks was always something opponents had to take account of her pace out wide. Whether her ability with the ball translates remains to be seen, but she follows in the profile of other players that have gotten a look in previous drafts.
28. Aerial Chavarin – DM/CF – Yale
Stats: 63 games, 25 goals, 12 assists
Originally a forward at Yale, Chavarin converted to a defensive midfielder as a senior in 2019, providing eight goals from her spot on the way to an Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year nod. Also a basketball player at Yale, Chavarin has the kind of athleticism that indicates she could handle the jump, and her youth background at MVLA in California indicates a player that's been developed well. Whether she sticks as a center midfielder or up front boils down to the needs of whichever team gives her a chance in the draft or as a camp invitee.
29. Natalie Winters – CM – Iowa
Stats: 77 games, 15 goals, 13 assists
A solid-and-steady performer at Iowa, Winters helped the program to a stellar 2019 campaign. While nothing she does pops off the page, if she can hone in on one or two traits and slot in centrally as a defensive midfielder, then there’s a solid chance that she could stick. Given the scarcity of prospects, if Winters proves that she can handle the demands of the No. 6 role in the league, she'll have a pathway to a very solid career in the league.
30. Abby Carchio – M/F – Brown
Stats: 58 games, 16 goals, 17 assists
The combination of a battling an injury and competing at an Ivy League program could leave Carchio on the outside looking in when it comes to the draft itself. But Carchio’s shown that she’s a high-quality soccer player, and she could easily make a roster and provide central midfield depth, even if it’s in a preseason camp.
31. Samantha Dewey – CM/F – Xavier
Stats: 86 games, 40 goals, 23 assists
32. Ricci Walking – CM – NC State
Stats: 86 games, 11 goals, 27 assists
33. Mikayla Krzeczowski – GK – South Carolina
Stats: 89 games, 215 saves, 51 shutouts, 7,948 minutes
34. Katie McClure – CF – Kansas
Stats: 87 games, 39 goals, 16 assists, 6,054 minutes
35. Alli Klug – CB – Saint Louis
Stats: 86 games, 9 goals, 3 assists, 6,764 minutes
36. Brianne Folds – CM – Auburn
Stats: 79 games, 24 goals, 25 assists, 5,131 minutes
37. Katie Lund – GK – Arkansas
Stats: 73 games, 214 saves, 25 shutouts, 5,893 minutes
38. Raimee Sherle – CF – Boise State
Stats: 85 games, 61 goals, 16 assists, 6,645 minutes
39. Cyera Hintzen – CF – Texas
Stats: 72 games, 27 goals, 18 assists, 5,450 minutes
40. Sinclaire Miramontez – CB – Nebraska
Stats: 76 games, 5 goals, 1 assist, 7,130 minutes
41. Amanda Dennis – GK – Penn State
Stats: 72 games, 202 saves, 24 shutouts, 6,128 minutes
42. Julia Lester – CB – Florida
Stats: 65 games, 3 goals, 5 assists, 6,447 minutes
43. Natalie Saddic – CM – UC San Diego
Stats: 83 games, 14 goals, 6 assists, 7,428 minutes
44. Milan Moses – CF – San Diego
Stats: 76 games, 29 goals, 5 assists
45. Jaci Jones – AM – Oklahoma State
Stats: 82 games, 18 goals, 24 assists, 5,709 minutes
46. Madie Gibson – W – Monmouth
Stats: 82 games, 35 goals, 32 assists, 6,060 minutes
47. Addisyn Merrick – CB – Kansas
Stats: 87 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 7,630 minutes
48. Dani Rhodes – F/W – Wisconsin
Stats: 85 games, 38 goals, 11 assists
49. Haley Crawford – W/F – James Madison
Stats: 81 games, 26 goals, 34 assists, 6,154 minutes
50. Chelsee Washington – CM – Bowling Green
Stats: 81 games, 19 goals, 21 assists, 5,801 minutes