2022 NWSL College Mock Draft – Version 2.0

A picture of NWSL draft prospect Summer Yates, as the header to a mock draft article
Summer Yates, potential NWSL college draft selection (courtesy Instagram @uw_wsoccer)

The off-season has officially started, and the NWSL college draft is only a few weeks away. The new post season Dossier is out, we have a new draft order (not reflecting the championship game just yet) and we have a few new faces making selections.

Meet your NWSL college mock draft GM’s:

Representing OL Reign – Bella Munson: Contributor for equilizersoccer.com (see her NWSL work here and follow @munson_bella on Twitter).

Representing the Houston Dash – Theo Lloyd-Hughes: Contributor for thestrikertexas.com, and Relativley Football podcast host (follow @theodore_LH on Twitter).

Representing Gotham FC – Gary Gibson: Soccer Over Gotham podcast host and producer (follow @garygibson13 and @overgothampod on Twitter).

Representing Racing Louisville – Zach W. Allen: Vamos Morados podcast host and general Louisville soccer aficionado (follow @zachwallen on Twitter).

Representing San Diego Wave FC – J.J. Post: College soccer beat writer for the Observer (the Notre Dame student newspaper), buckys5thquarter.com, and now SoccerDossier.com as well (follow @jayjaypost on Twitter)

Round One

1.01 – Louisville (from Angel City FC) – Jaelin Howell (M – Florida State)

This was an easy choice for Racing. The team needs to improve the midfield play next season and Jaelin Howell is not only a midfielder but the consensus best player in this year’s draft class. She’s lead a dominant Florida State team this season and would be an impact player right away for Racing. – @ZachWAllen

1.02 – San Diego – Naomi Girma (D – Stanford)

San Diego is an interesting team to draft for because they are, at least until the expansion draft, a blank canvas. Until the baseline of players with league experience on the roster is filled out in the said expansion draft, we really don’t know what the Wave’s strengths and weaknesses are going to be. With that in mind, in this mock I’ll just use pure resume to make my number 2 pick. Girma gives San Diego a great young piece to build around at the back, as she’s a three year college captain, full USWNT camp alumnus, and former US Soccer female young player of the year. She hails from California too! – @jayjaypost

1.03 – Kansas City – Mia Fishel (F – UCLA)

Fishel climbs up into the top three here, and this feels more representative of where she goes in the actual college draft. Early declares have been drafted early in the past, and that won’t change this year. Fishel had 78 points through three years at UCLA, and that pace looks likely to continue at the next level.

1.04 – Louisville – Clara Robbins (M – Florida State)

Coming off an MVP performance in the ACC tournament this year, Clara would add some much needed depth to the spine of this Racing team. – @ZachWAllen

1.05 – Orlando – Penelope Hocking (F – USC)

One of the most prolific strikers in this class, her youth national team experience and ability to finish with either foot land her squarely in the top five. Watch a few of her highlights and goals on our YouTube channel.

1.06 – Houston – Gabby Carle (D – Florida State)

My gut says that the Dash trade out of the 1st round. But if they have to pick someone, it’s going to be someone who is an experienced college player with versatile defensive attributes. Houston needs options across the backline. – @theodore_LH

1.07 – North Carolina – Rebecca Jarrett (F – Virginia)

Back in the first round where she belongs! Knee injury aside, Jarret remains an elite player in this class. Check out her highlights on the YouTube channel and read about her chance creation on our site here.

1.08 – Gotham – Julia Grosso (M – Texas)

Canadian international with 21 goals and 16 assists in her Texas career. Gotham needs a number 10. After losing Carli Lloyd, Gaetane Thiney, and Sodom Lee there is a big hole in middle. Grosso joins fellow Canadian gold medalists Evelyne Viens and Kailen Sheridan on the roster. And she can also play outside back, another position of need. – @soccerovergotham

1.09 – Gotham (from Chicago) – Emily Madril (D -Florida State)

2021 ACC defender of the year. Gotham needs center back and outside back depth with essentially only three center backs on roster. When Mandy Freeman got hurt, Estelle Johnson and Gina Lewandowski played a majority of the minutes, and both are over 30 years old. Not ideal. – @soccerovergotham

1.10 – Kansas City (from Washington) – Frankie Tagliaferri (M – Rutgers)

Tagliaferri pairs a Big Ten Midfielder of the Year award with a Rutgers Final 4 bid and finds herself in the first round. One of the most accomplished players in the draft, it’s surprising to find her in the double digits. Kansas City gets a steal.

1.11 – Washington (from OL Reign) – Alexa Spaanstra (F – Virginia)

Spaanstra is an ideal prospect by SoccerDossier standards. 24 points as a freshman, US youth national team experience, multiple time All-ACC, and an appearance on the Mac Hermann watch list. An easy choice at the end of the first round.

1.12 – OL Reign (from Portland) – Summer Yates (M – University of Washington)

Reign are bound to lose some of their young attacking talent in the expansion draft but there is a lot to build on. A Washington native, she has been putting herself in the UW record books. Named to the all PAC-12 First Team this season. – @munson_bella

Round One Recap:

This top three looks locked in, but Clara Robbins continues to go in the top five, and it will be interesting to see how NWSL teams view her. Her injury history contributes to her lack of youth national team experience in comparison to her first round peers, but she is no doubt a first round talent, and it will be exciting to see where she falls on draft day.

Round Two

2.01 – Angel City FC – Jordan Brewster (D – West Virginia)

Brewster has a very good case for the best centerback in this years draft class. Height, speed, positioning, and a great resume. Oh and highlights over on the YouTube channel.

2.02 – San Diego – Mackenzie George (F – Tennessee)

In keeping with my earlier notes about San Diego essentially being a blank canvas as of right now, my aim is to add as many players in different positions as possible. In round one I went defensive, now I’ll flip the script and supplement the attack. The stats tell the story- George can score (6 goals in 2021) and create (9 assists), and would be a fine addition to the Wave’s first go at creating an attacking core in their inaugeral season. And if help is needed elsewhere, she has prior experience at fullback at the college level. – @jayjaypost

2.03 – OL Reign (from Kansas City) – Yujie Zhao (M – Florida State)

The Reign don’t exactly lack depth on any part of the pitch but a player like Zhao who can score and assist would, I think, learn a lot from Jess Fishlock who probably, sadly, only has a few years left. With plenty of accolades I think she’d fit in well with this team that is essentially a mishmash of incredibly talented players. – @munson_bella

2.04 – Louisville – Kim Rodriguez (D – Oklahoma State)

Rodriguez has been the anchor of a strong Oklahoma St. defense for several seasons now, earning back to back All-American second team honors. Racing has several forwards joining the team from last years draft so I think a big focus for the team this year will be defense, and Rodriguez would be a strong addition to the squad. – @ZachWAllen

2.05 – Kansas City (from Orlando) – Brandi Peterson (D – TCU)

The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year lands in Kansas City. Peterson has an impressive resume and deserves to be one of the top full/wing backs selected.

2.06 – Chicago (from Houston) –Nicole Douglas (F -Arizona State)

The Red Stars took 4 forwards in last years draft, most notably Kelsey Turbow and Madison Haley, but how can they pass up Nicole Douglas here? With all of the injuries they had this year, and after the expansion draft takes its toll, there can never be too much attacking depth in Chicago.

2.07 – Chicago (from North Carolina) – Savannah DeMelo (M – USC)

Chicago has a great chance to capitalize on a talented draft class by securing depth with their three second round picks. DeMelo adds attacking midfield experience to the NWSL championship runner up Red Stars.

2.08 – OL Reign (from Gotham) – Sydny Nasello (F – USF)

You can never have enough attacking depth, am I right? – @munson_bella

2.09 – Chicago – Alia Martin (D – Michigan)

Centerback help in Chicago? Yes please. Sarah Gorden played a billion minutes last year, spell her with one of the Big Ten’s best.

2.10 – Washington – Izzy Rodriguez (D – Ohio State)

Izzy checks all the boxes, and the Spirit are happy to take her here in the second round. Big Ten Defender of the Year, started every game as a freshman, Mac Hermann watch list, and plenty of youth national team experience.

2.11 – Houston (from OL Reign) – Messiah Bright (F – TCU)

The Dash will be looking in several places for forward cover considering that Rachel Daly will be off at Euro 2022 for a large portion of the year. Bright has plenty of experience leading a team in close scoring games – which suits the Dash. Bright is also a great link up player who can help Houston’s wide forwards come into play. – @theodore_LH

2.12 – Portland – Kelly Ann Livingstone (D – Georgetown)

Mac Hermann award watch list, Big East Defensive Player of the Year, multiple time All-Big East award winner. Livingstone adds youth and depth to the back line in Portland.

Round Two Recap:

Bella threw us for a loop here taking Sydny Nasello. Two time American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and multiple time Mac Hermann watch list recipient, Nasello is a talented striker who could very well find herself being drafted if she declares. Messiah Bright climbs a whole round from the last mock and lands in the back half of the second, a much deserved rise for a talented player.

Round Three

3.01 – Angel City FC – Sarah Stratigakis (M -Michigan)

Stratigakis takes her talents to Los Angeles. Her highlights on our YouTube channel show a talented, offensive minded playmaker with the ability to be the number 10 in LA for years to come.

3.02 – San Diego – Emily Gray (M – Virginia Tech)

First pick was defense, second was attack, now it’s time to go midfield. For the last two years Gray has led the Hokies in both goals as well as assists from the center of the park, and is about as good as they come in terms of creative midfielders in this class. She’s not just about strong G+A totals either- her overall inStat ratings pop off the page as well as some of the highest out of all the seniors in college soccer. – @jayjaypost

3.03 – Kansas City – Zsani Kajan (F – St. John’s)

Big East Offensive Player of the Year, fully capped Hungarian international, and over 100 career points. Great value in the third round, considering Kajan just finished a 40 point season.

3.04 – Louisville – Karlina Sample (D – Texas A&M)

Racing would be fortunate to pick up a player of Sample’s caliber in the third round. Sample has in impressive resume, including winning SEC co-defender of the year in 2020 as well as first team all conference. – @ZachWAllen

3.05 – Orlando – Kayla Mckeon (M – Arkansas)

94 career points, 20 of those coming as a freshman, McKeon lands on an Orlando squad that should be trying to rebuild.

3.06 – OL Reign (from Houston) – Mijke Roelfsema (D-Rice)

With so many draft picks this year it makes sense to add depth all over the field. Mijke is a Netherlands international with experience at the U-19 level. A strong defender who contributed to clean sheets and helped her side win some games they were not expected to (i.e. against nationally ranked Texas A&M). – @munson_bella

3.07 – OL Reign (from North Carolina) – Daisy Cleverley (D – Georgetown)

Cleverly has experience with the full New Zealand national team, including the 2019 World Cup and Tokyo Olympics. She didn’t score a ton while at Cal or Georgetown, but she has speed and intelligence on the ball. I think she has a high ceiling that could be met on this very talented team (doesn’t hurt that fellow international Rosie White plays here too). – @munson_bella

3.08 – Gotham – Cecily Stoute (D – Georgia)

Trinidad and Tobago national teamer. Gotham has little outside back depth. Also an activist which fits Gotham’s character and will fit in with the other BWPC members. A two-way player comfortable getting up the field, Stoute would be a good backup to grow behind Dydasco. – @soccerovergotham

3.09 – Chicago – Abby Swanson (M – Loyola Chicago)

It’s not a NWSL college draft if Chicago doesn’t take someone local. Swanson is a talent. Multiple time MVC Defensive Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and a regular on the Mac Hermann watch list. Abby gets drafted this year, and chances are she stays close to home.

3.10 – Washington – Gabby Provenzano (D – Rutgers)

Big Ten Defender of the Year and multiple time first team All-Big Ten selection, somehow Provenzano slips down into the third round to the Washington Spirit.

3.11 – Portland (from OL Reign) – Haley Hopkins (F – UVA)

Hopkins finished her undergrad career at Vanderbilt and transferred this year to Virginia. After Rebecca Jarrett went down early in the season, the grad student stepped up and delivered with a third team All-ACC performance.

3.12 – Portland – Jyllissa Harris (D/M – South Carolina)

A four time All-SEC performer, Harris finds a home in Portland. A defender who moved to the midfield later in her South Carolina career, Harris can provide depth behind NWSL MVP candidate Angela Salem.

Round Three Recap –

Karlina Sample falls only because she may return to school for another year, but she’s easily a first or second round talent. Stratigakis and Gray find themselves in the third round and are easily second round talents. There are a lot of quality players available in later rounds this year, and it will be interesting to see if teams make moves to take advantage of that.

Round Four

4.01 – Angel City FC – Sarah Griffith (F – Purdue)

J.J. did a great job talking Sarah up in our last mock draft when he selected her in the third round, but she falls to the fourth here. A terrific 16 goal senior season gets her paired with Christen Press in Los Angeles, to start ACFC’s attacking core.

4.02 – San Diego – Nicki Hernandez (M – Michigan)

Hernandez is a fast and powerful wing presence that can pair with previous selection Mackenzie George in San Diego. She leaves Michigan with 79 career points.

4.03 – Kansas City – Raleigh Loughman (M – Michigan)

Right after teammate Nicki Hernandez goes, Kansas City selects Loughman. A key piece of Michigans offensive attack, Loughman had 9 goals and 9 assists in her senior season. Raleigh was voted first team All-Big Ten, and has international experience on the U20 Argentine squad.

4.04 – Louisville – Claudia Dickey (GK – North Carolina)

Goalkeeper is a position where Racing is already pretty set, but late in the draft is the time to just take the best player available and Dickey has had an incredible season with North Carolina this year. It’s a long season and it never hurts to have more depth at keeper. – @ZachWAllen

4.05 – Orlando – Grace Yochum (M – Oklahoma State)

Orlando has a chance here to build the tallest midfield in the league. Yochum is a very talented and decorated midfielder, and she’s also 5’10”. Putting her with Kayla McKeon who was selected earlier (also 5’10”), and current Pride midfielder Taylor Kornieck (6’1″), Orlando could build a team around set pieces. And win them all.

4.06 – Houston – Bryana Hunter (D – Arkansas)

If the Dash want their first two picks to contribute somewhat straightaway, I think their final pick could be more developmental. That said, Hunter has had an incredible few years in Arkansas and played a lot of football. But I could see Hunter being the long term partner to go with Katie Naughton. She’s also originally from Texas, so a homecoming of sorts. – @theodore_LH

4.07 – North Carolina – Trinity Watson (D – Pepperdine)

Watson follows fellow Pepperdine alumni Joelle Anderson (a Houston Dash selection) into the NWSL. The multiple time All-WCC defender and previous WCC Defender of the Year will fit nicely within North Carolina’s system.

4.08 – Gotham – Hannah Sharts (D – Colorado)

More defensive depth for Gotham, a defender who scored 6 goals over the past two years. – @soccerovergotham

4.09 – Chicago – Caitlin Cosme (D – Duke)

The Duke captain and terrific free kick taker lands in the Windy City. Cosme may have had a slow start to her career, but she finished strong and has the youth national team experience and leadership qualities to land on an NWSL team.

4.10 – Washington – Marley Canales (M – UCLA)

Canales has registered playing time with several US youth national teams, and has made All-Pac 12 lists two years in a row. The Spirit add to their young, championship winning core.

4.11 – OL Reign – Lauren Brzykcy (GK – UCLA)

With the departure of Bouhaddi I believe Phallon Tullis-Joyce will be the new number one but with no clear starter this is certainly a position the Reign could afford to add more depth. The UCLA keeper is experienced in the NCAA and has one of the highest save percentages among draft eligible keepers. There are a couple keepers in this class that could be picked, Hensley Hancuff is another good one, but I’m going with UCLA here. – @munson_bella

4.12 – Portland – Kirsten Pavlisko (D/M – Florida State)

If she declares, a second or third round selection seems likely. Portland gets a gift here in the fourth, adding speed and versatility to the outside back position. I hope Meghan Klingenberg plays soccer forever, but in the event that she is no longer a Thorn, they’ll need fresh legs on deck.

Round Four Recap –

It sounds silly to say that I’m most excited about the fourth round, but it’s true. There will be talent available, and at great value. This was an exciting NWSL college mock draft, and the real one on December 18th can’t come soon enough.

Working to cover and predict the NWSL draft earlier than it ever has been before. Make sure to check out our other articles, and The Dossier, a list of NWSL draft prospects!