Impactful NWSL Rookies to Watch

Impactful NWSL Rookies to Watch
by Victor Olorunfemi
March 15, 2024
Players featured in this article:
MF | Angel City FC
F | KC Current

Another exciting NWSL awaits with even more exciting rookies than previous editions. From U18 signings like Alex Pfieffer and Kennedy Fuller to seasoned collegiate stars such as Ally Lemos and Reilyn Turner, here is a list of NWSL rookies who could have a significant impact.

Maycee Bell, Gotham FC – Anytime a team invests their only draft pick on a particular player, they must hold that prospect in high regard. A possession-heavy Gotham squad will cherish one of the most technical center backs in recent NWSL drafts, suggesting the team may find a way to utilize Bell sooner rather than later.

Kennedy Fuller, Angel City FC – Having foregone her commitment to North Carolina to sign a pro contract, Fuller is next in line as an exciting American prospect choosing to skip the collegiate route. A ruthless attacker with remarkable intelligence and movement in the final third, it will be fascinating to see how quickly the 2023 Gatorade National Player of the Year adjusts to the highest level of soccer.

Ally Lemos, Orlando Pride – With some injuries opening up an avenue to receive competitive minutes sooner than later, Lemos could slot into a prominent role with Orlando sooner than expected.

Leilanni Nesbeth, Chicago Red Stars – Playing in a system requiring tough tackling to initiate transition opportunities, Nesbeth is in the perfect environment for her strengths as a ball-hawking center mid. Bea Franklin, another excellent ball-winner and athlete, could slot into a starring role as a rookie.

Alexandra Pfeiffer, Kansas City Current – With the grand opening of the first women’s soccer-specific stadium in NWSL history, the Kansas City Current needed exciting prospects on the pitch, and they landed a big one in Pfeiffer. The would-be high school junior has the swagger and skill to earn significant minutes for a Current attack that should be a must-watch.

Allyson Sentnor, Utah Royals – This list would not be complete without the first overall pick in the draft, and landing on an expansion team looking to sell tickets and excite home fans, Sentnor, along with fourth pick Brecken Mozingo, could star from day one.

Reilyn Turner, Racing Louisville – Heading into the draft, Turner was billed as the perfect addition for Racing Louisville. She fit a need in the attack and was also the ideal athlete and runner for a team that prefers to play in transition. And with the momentum generated from an impressive preseason, the former UCLA star is among the favorites for Rookie of the Year.

Olivia Wade-Katoa, Portland Thorns – Another who shined in preseason, Wade-Katoa has likely done enough to land in the core rotation for the Thorns. With elite technical prowess, the BYU graduate could contribute multiple goals and assists.

Kennedy Wesley, San Diego Wave FC – With the versatility to play multiple positions along the back line, Wesley has plenty of avenues to land on the pitch. And with a gulf of experience from her days at Stanford, the transition to pro soccer will not be too intimidating.

Amanda West, Houston Dash – The fact that the Houston Dash used one of their five international spots on a rookie reveals how highly they value West as a prospect. The Canadian forward will have every opportunity to earn minutes for a Dash team that finished last in the league in goals last season after scoring just 16 in 22 matches.

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