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Smith, Sanchez declare for NWSL Draft

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: January 16, 2020

Women's Division I soccer will be missing two of its top talents when the 2020 season start.

Stanford sophomore Sophia Smith and UCLA junior Ashley Sanchez were officially included on the final edition of draft-eliglble list for the 2020 NWSL College Draft.

Smith is expected to be selected No. 1 overall by the Portland Thorns after the organization traded up for the top selection in the draft last week. The Colorado native is currently in camp with the U.S. women's national team, and was named to the Preliminary roster for the 2020 Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament.

MORE: NWSL Mock Draft | NWSL Big Board

Injuries limited Smith during her two seasons of college soccer with the Cardinal, but she still managed to score 24 goals and add 11 assists from 33 appearances. She helped Stanford win the 2019 national championship, scoring a hat trick in the College Cup against UCLA. She's currently eligible to play for the U.S. U20 WNT at this season's World Cup, and has appeared for the USA at just about every age group from Under-17 on up.

A longtime teammate of Smith's for various U.S. youth squads, Sanchez departs UCLA after three very good seasons with the Bruins. The highly-rated recruit notched double-digit assists all three years at Westwood, setting the program record for career helpers with 42. She chipped in 23 goals as well.

Her involvement at the U.S. youth national team level dates back to 2013. In 2016, Sanchez played at both the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups, and she was also part of the U.S. U20 World Cup team in 2018. Sanchez was called up to the full U.S. squad in November.

"Ashley is one of the most dynamic players to ever play at UCLA," UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell said in a statement. "It's remarkable that she broke our career assists record as a junior. We know Ashley's success as a Bruin will help her in her endeavors as a professional and national team member. We are excited for her future and wish her the best of luck."

The NWSL Draft takes place on January 16, starting at 11 p.m. EST.

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