2024 NWSL Mock Draft – Version 2.0

2024 NWSL Draft Prospect Ally Sentnor (Photo courtesy @allysentnor on Instagram)

Still a few more players left to register, but that’s what Mock 3.0 is for. Take a look at the updated draft order, and where a few of these players could land this Friday.

Check out the latest mock here.

Meet your 2024 NWSL college mock draft GM’s:

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

Representing the Chicago Red Stars – Mickey Alfano: Mickey Mics Up podcast host and co-founder and editor of Women’s Sports Exchange (follow @mickey_alfano and @wsportsxchange on Twitter).

Representing the North Carolina Courage – Tyler Trent: Find his writing (Courage and all things North Carolina soccer) on Topbin90.com, and find him @TTrent4 on Twitter.

Representing the Orlando Pride – Luis Hernandez: Co-Host of The Purple Pulse Podcast (an Orlando Pride Podcast) and contributor at The Orlando Soccer Journal, find him at @RadioactivClown on Twitter.

Representing the Utah Royals – J.J. Post: College soccer reporter and broadcaster for Notre Dame’s The Observer and Fighting Irish Media. Draft Analyst for AmericanSoccerAnalysis.com and SoccerDossier.com. Can be found on Twitter @jayjaypost.

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

Round One

1.01 – Utah Royals – Reilyn Turner (UCLA) – F

Utah isn’t necessarily building an entire roster from scratch, but they’re definitely still figuring out a significant chunk of it, and they’re armed with plenty of picks to do so. In a draft that doesn’t seem to have a consensus No. 1 at this stage, Turner represents the exact sort of player you can be confident in building with. Her goalscoring production has remained remarkably consistent across four collegiate seasons. She’s capable of playing in multiple spots across the attack. And she’s shown she can deliver in the biggest moments. Turner checks both boxes of being a safe selection in terms of immediate returns as well as one that could bring further potential upside. – JJ

1.02 – Bay FC – Ally Sentnor (UNC) – M

We’re going to have an early declare at the top of the draft. Neither Trinity Byars or Lexi Missimo have declared as of yet, so Sentnor takes the spot here. The talented UNC sophomore is the 2023 ACC Midfielder of the Year, and is a finalist for US Soccer Young Female Player of the Year.

1.03 – Chicago Red Stars – Kennedy Wesley (Stanford) – D

Wesley is an experienced centerback that can really help solidify Chicago’s backline. 92 starts at Stanford, youth national team experience, and 4 time all Pac-12.

1.04 – Utah Royals – Croix Bethune (Georgia) – M

The injury concerns are legitimate. But it’s impossible to ignore the player she is when healthy. If you remove the injury history, Bethune is likely far and away the No. 1 pick in this draft. A talented midfielder who can add an explosive flair to the attacking phase, Bethune could be a plug-and-play spark for a roster that doesn’t have an obvious centerpiece to build around at present. Utah has six selections (including four in the second round) after this one to find players with a cleaner bill of health. If Bethune falls to No. 4, they can afford to take a swing on what could be a superstar-level prospect. – JJ

1.05 – North Carolina Courage- Maya Doms (Stanford) – M

If a player of Doms caliber is available at pick 5, I don’t see any other option for the pick. The Courage may have needs greater than in midfield, but Doms has shown she just has something that most players don’t. – Tyler

1.06 – Racing Louisville – Eva Gaetino (Notre Dame) – D

The back to back ACC defender of the year, Gaetino is in the top tier of a terrific centerback class this year. Racing can use help at the back and the highly decorated Notre Dame Senior gives them just that.

1.07 – Washington Spirit – Felicia Knox (Alabama) – M

Knox is a creative attacking midfielder, and like Maya Doms a few picks before, this might not be the biggest need for the Spirit, but it’ll be difficult to let a player of this quality slide. Devastating on set pieces and comfortable on the ball, Knox gives Washington depth and relief when Ashley Sanchez is away.

1.08 – Bay FC – Brecken Mozingo (BYU) – M

After the run BYU had at the end of the season, it would be hard to see Mozingo fall out of the first round. A dynamic threat on the wing, Mozingo can score or create for her teammates letting Bay FC continue to build a balanced squad.

1.09 – Orlando Pride – Samar Guidry (Virginia) – D

The Pride have been active this off-season signing players, so this draft will be more as a means to add some depth to the squad versus last year which saw drafted players go straight into the starting XI. Honestly, it wouldn’t be surprising if Orlando selected the best available player instead of any actual position of need. However, targeting additional fullback depth would be perferred. As in the previous mock draft, Guidry is here as that potential fullback option. At the time of this mock draft, her name is not on the list of players declared for the draft, but once she does this could be the place for the Pride to make her the team’s pick. – Luis

1.10 – North Carolina Courage – Sam Meza (UNC) – M

Similar to the first pick, Sam Meza is another case of picking a midfielder who fits the playstyle of the Courage and is immensely talented. With rumors of a potential Denise O’Sullivan departure, picking up early round midfielders may be more important than it initially seems. – Tyler

1.11 – Portland Thorns – Maycee Bell (UNC) – D

The Thorns are in need of centerback depth, and their recent signing of Isabella Obaze is a huge help, but it’s tough to pass up the height and skill of Maycee Bell. She falls into their laps at 11.

1.12 – San Diego Wave- Jody Brown (Florida State) – F

Jody Brown has yet to declare, but she’s a first round talent if she does. San Diego adds another savvy attacking presence to their shield winning squad.

1.13 – Washington Spirit – Savy King (UNC) – D

King is a Freshman from North Carolina in the recent group of declared players. Like Sentnor, she’s a finalist for US Soccer Young Female Player of the Year. The centerback lands in a great spot to learn and grow behind (and next to) Sam Staab.

1.14 – Gotham FC – Makenna Morris (Clemson) – D

In the mold of many Gotham FC players. Midge and Taylor. Can play both outside back and winger. Gotham will need bodies during the international window. A player who can play multiple positions of need is critical. Very attack minded. scored 10 goals and 6 assists. – Gary

Round One Recap:

Yes, it’s a lot of players from North Carolina. Ally Sentnor and Savy King declared 3/4 of the way through this mock, so some rearranging had to happen (sorry Tyler) to have them land where they did. The first round could change in a big way in a few days when the final registration list is released, but it’s a very talented group.

Round Two

2.01 – Racing Louisville – Brittany Raphino (Brown) – F

Raphino is a first round talent in a strong draft class. A U23 national team player, the forward ends her collegiate career with 104 points, and lands with Racing as they strengthen their attack.

2.02 – Utah Royals – Julia Leas (Georgetown) – D

Utah’s taken two attacking-minded players already this draft, and now they add some defensive steel. Leas is trained at both centerback and defensive midfield, and versatility will always have value among expansion teams with more undetermined lineups. Her accolades over the last two years are second to none, and her composed ability on the ball should translate well to the professional ranks. – JJ

2.03 – Chicago Red Stars – Ellie Wheeler (Penn State) – D

Another defender for Chicago might seem like a slight unconventional choice but losing Tierna Davidson and Kayla Sharples, as well as the rumor of Krueger leaving will open up some spots in the backline. Along with that Wheeler has the experience of working with some current Red Stars which will help team chemistry. She is someone who can be relied on to start, play well, and hold it down in the backline, something Chicago will definitely need. – Mickey

2.04 – Kansas City Current – Megan Bornkamp (Clemson) – D

Bornkamp is one of the most interesting prospects in the class. JJ mentioned it in the previous mock, but Megan has played forward, midfielder and defender in her collegiate career, and all at a high level. Kansas city can decide where she lines up and would be lucky to have her at 2.04.

2.05 – Houston Dash – Avery Patterson (UNC) – F

27 goals and 13 assists in her four years at UNC, Patterson brings a tough attacking presence to Houston. She joins Maria Sanchez and Diana Ordonez, adding to a young core that can hopefully score a few more goals this year.

2.06 – Utah Royals – Bea Franklin (Arkansas) – M

There’s a lot to like about Bea Franklin’s game. Per Chris Henderson’s draft spreadsheet, she has the second most xG+xA of any other “true” (not including DMs or AMs) central midfielder in this year’s class. Trained in Arkansas’ high-intensity, high-pressure system, Franklin is a capable ball-winner as well, giving her a nicely rounded skill-set that could feasibly suit a variety of potential roles in a presumably still-unknown Utah system. – JJ

2.07 – Utah Royals – Amanda West (Pitt) – F

It’s hard to find a more proven option up front than Amanda West. 72 collegiate starts under her belt. 50 goals, and 131 total points in her career with the Panthers. She’s played a major role – perhaps more than any other player – in Pitt steadily climbing from one of the ACC’s bottom feeders to a consistent top six team over the last half-decade. She’s more than just a clinical forward though – West adds some shiftiness with the ball at her feet in addition to having keen positional instincts around the goal. – JJ

2.08 – Orlando Pride – Payton Linnehan (Penn State) – F

The Pride should be targeting a winger with one of their first two picks, but in this spot Patterson got picked already, so Orlando should consider Linnehan who is coming off her Senior+ season at Penn State. She has versatility on the pitch, spent time with the U-23s, and had a hat trick against Central Connecticut State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Good crosser and can create scoring opportunities as she demonstrated versus UCF when she assisted on the game winner. – Luis

2.09 – Portland Thorns – Anna Podojil (Arkansas) – F

The Thorns suffered from a lack of attacking depth last year after losing Janine Beckie to a knee injury early in the year. Podojil helps with that, as the speedy forward can fill in for Morgan Weaver, Sophia Smith or the aforementioned Beckie this year.

2.10 – North Carolina Courage – Talia Staude (Virginia) – D

The Courage need some more depth at CB, and of the players currently registered for the draft she is one of the best. Staude is a player capable of staying healthy, defending strong, and contributing to the attack. She would be a valuable backup to learn under Kurtz. – Tyler

2.11 – Portland Thorns – Hal Hershfelt (Clemson) – M

Hershfelt is perhaps the best defensive midfielder in this class, and the Thorns can’t afford to miss out on a Sam Coffey replacement during international windows.

2.12 – Utah Royals – Madison Curry (Princeton) – D

2023 was a banner year for Ivy League soccer (really the last few years as a whole), and it stands to reason that the additional respect given to the strength of competition Ivy prospects face will help boost the stock of some players that would have gone overlooked in prior years. Madison Curry is one of those prospects. A two-way fullback whose numbers stand out in a major way, Curry could end up being a major steal for a team that keeps a keen eye on mid-major soccer. – JJ

2.13 – OL Reign – Olivia Wade-Katoa (BYU) – M

Wade-Katoa was a key piece of an incredible BYU squad this year. She really emerged as a goal scorer the past two seasons, totaling 21 goals to go along with her 13 assists.

2.14 – Racing Louisville – Catherine Barry (South Carolina) – F

You won’t find many 6’0″ tall, prolific goal scoring forwards in the second round of a draft. Barry is just that, and Racing adds her finishing ability and aerial presence to their front line.

Round Two Recap:

Much like we saw in the first mock, round one is dominated by midfielders and defenders, and round two is where all the forwards show up. Six of them here, and plenty of great players left on the board.

Round Three

3.01 – Utah Royals – Ashley Barron (Cincinnati) – D

You can never have enough depth at centerback. Barron makes a lot of sense as a selection here. Her measurables project well to the professional game. Numbers stand out – particularly in aerial duels. As has been previously discussed, Utah has the open roster slots and draft capital to go a number of different routes with their pick. Why not take a swing on the tall centerback who didn’t lose a step as the Bearcats stepped up to the Big 12 this season? – JJ

3.02 – Bay FC – Cori Dyke (Penn State) – D

The Big Ten Defender of the Year ends up at Bay FC here in the third round. Dyke has the ability for play centerback of defensive midfielder, and that versatility can be useful to an expansion team.

3.03 – Chicago Red Stars – Emma Jaskaniec (Wisconsin) – M

Emma J is an incredibly well-rounded player who bounced back with ease after a season-ending injury. She is easily one of the best midfielders in this talent pool, who is often overlooked. I think that her goal-scoring abilities, 27 throughout her collegiate career, along with her ability to set up goals, will greatly help Chicago excel. She is also a player who finds a way to get a shot off no matter the position which is always the kind of player you want on your team. – Mickey

3.04 – Kansas City Current – Gracie Brian (TCU) – M

A three time first team Big 12 player, Brian ends her career at TCU just 3 points short of 100. Kansas City has the makings of a very good team, and they get better here with Brian in the third round.

3.05 – Utah Royals – Samantha Estrada (SMU) – GK

We’ve reached the stage of the draft where teams often take a punt on a goalkeeper and see if they stick. It’s impossible to generally project where teams rank college ‘keepers because of how much variance there is in what different front offices want from their goalie, but Estrada is one of my favorites in this class. She was a ++ shot stopper this year, with one of the best xG(faced)-GA splits in the draft. – JJ

3.06 – Bay FC – Reagan Cox (Michigan State) – D

This isn’t the strongest year for outside backs, but Cox is one of the better ones. The Michigan State product started every game she played in college, and adds her toughness and tackling ability to a new squad.

3.07 – Washington Spirit – Kate Wiesner (Penn State) – M

Wiesner has played on the US youth national team and is a dynamic wing player. She can be used on offense or defense, and in the later rounds, that versatility is always a plus.

3.08 – Houston Dash – Ava Tankersley (Arkansas) – F

Tankersley won SEC forward of the year this year, after an 8 goal 5 assist season. The year previous she had 9 goals and 12 assists. It’s uncommon to find a player with this height and ease on the ball. Tank most likely won’t make it this far in the draft.

3.09 – Angel City – Sunshine Fontes (UCLA) – M

Fontes is a player with a ton of youth national team experience, and is the all time leading goal scorer for the U17 team with 24 goals. Her UCLA career was decorated as well, and although she ended on a knee injury, a team will pick her up in the draft.

3.10 – North Carolina – Maddie Mercado (Notre Dame)– F

Tyler originally had Ally Sentnor here after she declared, but we had to move her up a bit for realism purposes. Mercado helps North Carolina in their goal scoring endeavors as well, and the 5th year senior bring youth national team experience along with 64 career points to the Courage.

3.11 – Portland Thorns – Zoe Burns (USC) – D

Burns has spent time at midfielder and outside back during her time at USC, and the Thorns could use depth at both.

3.12 – Houston Dash – Heather Stainbrook (Utah Valley)– M

Stainbrook might not find her way onto to many teams boards since Utah Valley isn’t the biggest school, but her career is worth acknowledging here. Multiple time 1st team All WAC, Offensive Player of the Year, 105 career points, and was a key piece of a Utah Valley team that made it’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 2022.

3.13 – Chicago Red Stars – Harper White (Clemson) – D

Chicago is in need of beefing up their backline and a player like Harper White would be clutch. She has played 100 games in her collegiate career, starting 79. This past season she played the full 90 in all but four games proving she is a solid grounding player. – Mickey

3.14 – Racing Louisville – Lyndsey Heckel (Saint Louis) – D

Saint Louis has a great soccer program, and Heckel is one of several Billikens who could be drafted this year. A Hermann Trophy semifinalist and A10 Defensive Player of the Year, Lyndsey is more than worthy of a selection.

Round Three Recap –

JJ takes the first goalkeeper off the board here in round three, and it’s our first round with out a UNC player. What a twist!

Round Four

4.01 – OL Reign – Shyra James (Colorado) – F

Shyra led the Pac-12 in goals scored this year, and she finds herself in the fourth round two mocks in a row. 40 goals in 4 years at Colorado, OL gets help up front.

4.02 – Utah Royals – Gianna Gourley (Grand Canyon) – F

I will not lie to anyone here and pretend I watch a ton of Grand Canyon soccer. No doubt, teams will have fair concerns about the quality of opponent Gourley has faced. But her numbers are truly ridiculous. She’s been a goal machine since arriving at GCU as a transfer from Iowa, and her output has only increased with each passing year. Of the center forwards on Chris Henderson’s Wyscout stats spreadsheet (as of this writing), Gourley is first in xG + xA, second in dribbles won, second in shot assists, and fourth in shots on target %. I suspect the sheer volume of data she’s created will lead a team to take a flyer on her. – JJ

4.03 – Chicago Red Stars – Ryan Campbell (Stanford) – GK

At the moment, Chicago has two signed keepers, one of which is on loan. With Emily Boyd being a free agent, who has yet to resign, taking a pick at a keeper would be beneficial. Campbell had an excellent career at Stanford, only allowing 24 goals in 49 games. She ended her career with a 32-3-7 win-loss record proving she is solid between the posts. She would be a beneficial addition to the Chicago goalkeeper unit and a player who could no doubt step up quickly if needed. – Mickey

4.04 – Kansas City Current – Hannah Anderson (Texas Tech) – D

Anderson is a tall, physical centerback product with great defensive ability. The fourth round is a bit too low for her.

4.05 – Houston Dash – Justina Gaynor (Michigan State) – M

The Big 10 midfielder of the year in the fourth round? Sounds like a bargain.

4.06 – Racing Louisville – Jordyn Rhodes (Kentucky) – F

A great senior season landed Rhodes a First Team All SEC selection and it lands her a spot on Racing as well. She’s been scoring goals at Kentucky for five years now, and ends her career with 45.

4.07 – Washington Spirit – Landy Mertz (Pitt) – M/F

Mertz jumps out on tape with her ability to get out wide and send crosses into Pitt’s forwards, and that ability showed up on the stat sheet this year with 14 assists.

4.08 – Orlando Pride – Leah Freeman (Duke) – GK

Freeman is one of the top goalkeepers in the class, and landing her as the third keeper taken might be a steal for Orlando.

4.09 – Angel City – Anna Haddock (Auburn) – M

4.10 – North Carolina Courage – Emily Moxley (UNC) – D

Another UNC pick for the Courage, but a much-needed one. Ryan Williams was arguably the best right back in the league last season, but the Courage are short on backups for the position other than letting Lussi fill in. Moxley will be a solid backup that will likely be able to adjust quickly to the league and play valuable minutes for the team. – Tyler

4.11 – Portland Thorns – Ally Cook (UCLA) – F

First team All-Pac 12 for the first time in 2023 after several years on the third team, Cook had a stellar last season at UCLA. The Thorns add another attacking player for international break depth.

4.12 – San Diego Wave – Laveni Vaka (BYU) – D

Vaka is the last BYU player taken in the draft, but there are quite a few that could land on teams. In fact Vaka’s sister, Florida centerback Daviana Vaka, has a great shot at being drafted as well.

4.13 – Bay FC – Jameese Joseph (NC State) – F

Jameese is an exciting player who’s stats don’t live up to the tape. Surrounding her with NWSL talent might be just the thing that unlocks the goal scoring numbers.

4.14 – Orlando Pride – Kiki Van Zanten (Notre Dame) – M

Van Zanten is one of a few Jamaican National Team players in this years draft (Jody Brown and Peyton McNamara), and she’s a quality attacking midfielder who finished her Notre Dame career strong.

Round Four Recap –

Plenty of talented players left after four rounds, and it will be interesting to see how the USL Super League populates its rosters this summer.

This mock came out a bit later than usual, so there may or may not be a third when the final registration list is released. Thanks for reading!

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!