2024 NWSL Mock Draft – Version 3.0

2024 NWSL Draft Prospect Maya Doms (photo courtesy @mayad0ms on Instagram)

The 2024 NWSL Draft registration list has been finalized and it’s time for the last mock before the draft. Let’s get into it.

Representing the even selections – 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.

Round One

1.01 – Utah Royals – Ally Sentnor (UNC) – M

The North Carolina sophomore is fresh off of a first team all ACC season where she won ACC midfielder of the year. She shakes up the board with her declaration, and goes first overall.

1.02 – Bay FC – Reilyn Turner (UCLA) – F

Bay FC could use forward options as they construct their inaugural roster, making Turner, a prolific goalscorer who grew up in California and won a national championship with UCLA, a natural pick. Turner’s versatility and consistency should both serve her well as Bay looks to develop (and compete) in their first NWSL season – JJ

1.03 – Chicago Red Stars – Croix Bethune (Georgia) – M

Like JJ said in the previous mock, Bethune has a real shot at the number one spot, but Chicago will be delighted if she falls to them here. A franchise player they can really build around.

1.04 – Utah Royals – Brecken Mozingo (BYU) – M

The BYU star makes a ton of sense for Utah here, who keep a hometown hero (and a quality all-around talent) home to build their midfield around. – JJ

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

Doms has been at the top of these mock drafts for two years now, the talented attacking midfielder finds a home in North Carolina.

1.06 – Racing Louisville – Savy King (UNC) – D

King was a bit of a surprise late addition to the draft board, but her placing in the first round isn’t a fluke after an exceptional freshman season. Her relative youth may even serve as a strength as teams sort out their draft board, as she likely still has potential that’s yet to be unlocked. – JJ

1.07 – Washington Spirit – Kennedy Wesley (Stanford) – D

Wesley is as solid a defensive prospect as you’ll find, Washington gets Sam Staab a running mate.

1.08 – Bay FC – Makenna Morris (Clemson) – D

A jack-of-all trades type of player, Morris’ positional versatility makes her a tempting pick for a Bay squad that still is figuring out a significant portion of their roster. – JJ

1.09 – Orlando Pride – Ally Lemos (UCLA) – M

Lemos is the last of the non-goalkeeper early declares, and one of the most talented defensive midfielders. The potential is too high to pass up here for Orlando.

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

North Carolina keeps up the theme of keeping things local early on and takes the Tar Heel midfield product. – JJ

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

Losing Emily Menges was a big blow for the Thorns, and with Beck Saurbrunn still out of contract the Thorns need some centerback depth. Bell helps do just that.

1.12 – San Diego Wave- Bea Franklin (Arkansas) – M

Franklin has been a consistent producer for Arkansas for a bit now. The Razorback’s high pressure system demands physical buy-in and a willingness to challenge the ball, both traits that should serve Franklin well in the pro ranks. – JJ

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

Knox is an absolute monster on set pieces, and she can fill in for Ashley Sanchez during the Olympics.

1.14 – Gotham FC – Cori Dyke (Penn State) – D

This draft for Gotham will likely be more about finding warm bodies for international breaks than anything else, but if they are looking for immediate roster supplements taking a defender here would make a lot of sense. Dyke has been a rock for Penn State for years, and has the versatility to slide in at midfield if need be. – JJ

Round One Recap:

Eva Gaetino is off training with PSG, so we don’t see her familiar name here. That moved up the likes of Cori Dyke and Bea Franklin from the previous mocks. Three underclass(wo)men have declared this year, the highest number I think we’ve seen so far in any NWSL draft.

Round Two

2.01 – Racing Louisville – Avery Patterson (UNC) – F

Patterson is the fifth Tar Heel off the board in the first 15 picks, quite an accomplishment for the program. The winger heads to Louisville to help out their attack.

2.02 – Utah Royals – Jamie Shepherd (BYU) – M

If you’re Utah, why not go back to the pool of talent in your backyard? The Royals reunite Mozingo with her midfield partner in Provo, hoping to reap the rewards of an instant chemistry boost between the pairing. Shepherd adds a more defensive presence to the center of the park, freeing up the roles of those around her. – JJ

2.03 – Chicago Red Stars – Julia Leas (Georgetown) – D

Two time Big East defensive player of the year and a five time Big East All-American, Leas fits a defensive need in Chicago.

2.04 – Kansas City Current – Talia Staude (Virginia) – D

Virginia had one of the country’s best defenses this year, and Staude’s reliability at the back was a big reason why. Kansas City gets a great value add with their first pick of the draft in the second round. – JJ

2.05 – Houston Dash – Ally Cook (UCLA) – F

Ally ended her final season at UCLA on the First team all Pac-12 list. Houston needs help scoring, and Cook can do just that.

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

Utah will need immediate production and nothing says immediate production like Amanda West, who’s never gone under 10 goals in a full season in four years of collegiate action. West’s (relative) older age (she was at Pitt for five years) may allow her to slide down to Utah, who will be more than happy to pick up an experienced goalscorer. – JJ

2.07 – Utah Royals – Hal Hershfelt (Clemson) – M

Hershfelt is an incredibly talented defensive midfielder. Utah has nine total picks in this draft, and they continue to add quality here.

2.08 – Orlando Pride – Leilanni Nesbeth (Florida State) – M

Orlando keeps the defending national champion in her home state, and helps shore up a need in defensive midfield. – JJ

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

Losing Hannah Betfort and Michelle Vasconcelos leaves a gap up front for the Thorns, Podojil is a productive pacey player who can fill in.

2.10 – North Carolina Courage – Kate Wiesner (Penn State) – M

Wiesner is another experienced Penn State defender who projects as an immediate contributor. North Carolina shores up their fullback depth here with as safe of a pick as you can make. – JJ

2.11 – Portland Thorns – Payton Linnehan (Penn State) – F

Same logic as the previous Portland pick, after rounding out the defense in the first round, the Thorns patch up the offense in the second.

2.12 – Utah Royals – Hannah Anderson (Texas Tech) – D

A 5’10 centerback who played for one of college soccer’s top defenses last year that the numbers really like. What’s there not to love? Tall, proven centerbacks will always have a market in the draft and Anderson fits that bill to a T. – JJ

2.13 – Seattle Reign FC – Emma Jaskaniec (Wisconsin) – M

Jaskaniec overcame an injury to provide another stellar season for Wisconsin. Seattle adds a playmaker in response to losing Rose Lavelle.

2.14 – Racing Louisville – Kiki Van Zanten (Notre Dame) – M

Van Zanten is quick on the dribble, will press enthusiastically and has solid passing chops. While she enters the draft as an attacking midfielder, there’s potential in her game for a move further forward (or out wide) as well. – JJ

Round Two Recap:

Five forwards go here in the second round after only one went in the first. It’s a great draft for attacking midfielders, but seeing how thin forward is might push a few of them into the first round.

Round Three

3.01 – Utah Royals – Lauren Flynn (Florida State) – D

Not too many centerbacks with youth national team experience down here in the third round, Utah takes another defender to round out the back line.

3.02 – Bay FC – Madison Curry (Princeton) – D

If nothing else, athletes named Curry have a strong history of success in the Bay area. More relevant to Bay FC, Madison Curry is one of the top two-way fullbacks in the draft, and is a numbers darling. – JJ

3.03 – Chicago Red Stars – Zoe Burns (USC) – D

Julia Leas can play a few positions defensively, and so can Zoe Burns. Whether at outside back or midfielder, Burns made an impact for the Trojans.

3.04 – Kansas City Current – Mya Jones (Memphis) – F

Sometimes, you gotta follow the numbers. Jones was a production monster at Memphis, with 79 points spread out across 93 career starts. Those stats were boosted by a career year as a fifth year senior in 2023, with 11 goals and 11 assists. Her dribbling stats are pretty dang impressive as well. – JJ

3.05 – Utah Royals – Olivia Wade-Katoa (BYU) – M

It’s BYU FC in Utah, why not add another? Wade-Katoa was a creative centerpiece in Provo, and she brings that to the NWSL.

3.06 – Bay FC – Caroline Conti (Clemson) – M

An aggressive, physical midfielder who also has the chops to move forward and play a more attacking role as well, Conti is a proven, consistent competitor who finished off her career by helping lead Clemson to their best year in program in program history. No matter where she’d end up fitting in Bay’s lineup, she’d add some always-needed bite to the roster. – JJ

3.07 – Washington Spirit – Celia Gaynor (Michigan State) – D

The First Team All Big 10 defender lands in Washington after a great couple of years in East Lansing.

3.08 – Houston Dash – Sam Cary (Iowa) – D

Cary started every game but one over a five year career with Iowa, capturing a pair of Big Ten championships in the process. A big part of those two B1G tournament titles for Iowa – who had never won the Big Ten before 2019 – was defense. The Hawkeyes conceded just one goal across seven combined Big Ten tournament games in their two runs. At the heart of that rock solid defense was Sam Cary. – JJ

3.09 – Angel City – Gracie Brian (TCU) – M

Losing Savannah McCaskill leaves a gap for a creative midfielder on Angel City, Brian can help with that.

3.10 – North Carolina – Emily Moxley (UNC) – D

If you’re North Carolina, why not keep going back to the well of elite talent that’s right in your backyard? The Courage snag the Cary native who’s proven herself over three seasons in Chapel Hill after transferring to the Tar Heels from UNC-Wilmington. – JJ

3.11 – Portland Thorns – Jameese Joseph (NC State) – F

The Thorns have a lot of picks and only a few needs, so why not take a shot on a high upside player like Joseph.

3.12 – Houston Dash – Jessica Garziano (St. John’s) – M

Something of a sleeper pick out of the Big East, Garziano has established herself a hub of defensive production for St. Johns, but perhaps more importantly is composed with the ball at her feet, an important trait for any college No. 6 stepping up to the professional ranks. – JJ

3.13 – Chicago Red Stars – Madison White (Texas Tech) – GK

White is the first keeper off the board this time around, The Big 12 Goalkeeper of the year also holds team records for wins and shutouts. Also a Hermann Award Semifinalist. And 5’11”.

3.14 – Racing Louisville – Laveni Vaka (BYU) – D

I think Vaka honestly only fell this far because both drafters assumed she had already been taken earlier. I have no clue if Vaka would require an international spot and the complications that might come with that – she’s appeared for the Tongan national team previously – but this is a tremendous value pick at a position of need for Louisville. – JJ

Round Three Recap –

We see the first goalkeeper taken off the board, more BYU and North Carolina players, and still not too many forwards. It’s an interesting class this year.

Round Four

4.01 – Seattle Reign FC – Gianna Gourley (Grand Canyon) – F

Gourley is a prolific striker from a small school. Seattle has had success with that profile before.

4.02 – Utah Royals – Melissa Dagenais (Miami (FL)) – GK

You can’t teach height in net, and Dagenais is the tallest keeper registered for the draft at 6’1. More importantly though, she’s a quality shot stopper, conceding 19 goals on just over 24 post shot xG faced, per Wyscout. – JJ

4.03 – Chicago Red Stars – Sam Kroeger (Rutgers) – M

Kroeger has represented the US youth national team and has also been a Big 10 All-American in her four years at Rutgers. She lands on a Chicago team in need of, well, a lot of things really.

4.04 – Kansas City Current – Alia Skinner (Virginia Tech) – GK

Another goalkeeper off the board here as Kansas City looks to shore up their depth in net, selecting another one of Wyscout’s top shot stoppers in the class in Skinner. – JJ

4.05 – Houston Dash – Reagan Cox (Michigan State) – D

Cox adds to an already stout back line in Houston, but she provides depth at right back for the Dash.

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

Racing keeps their pick in-state here, selecting Rhodes following a career year for the Wildcats, where the graduate student picked up all-SEC honors and notched a career-best 22 points. Rhodes is part of an exclusive club of players who have eclipsed the 100 career points mark. – JJ

4.07 – Washington Spirit – Maddie Mercado (Notre Dame)– F

Mercado ended her time at Notre Dame on a high note, totaling 19 goals, 6 assists and two All-American selections in her final two years.

4.08 – Orlando Pride – Camryn Dixon (South Carolina) – D

Dixon can help Orlando shore up some depth at the fullback position. A more traditional defensive right back, Dixon’s attacking production won’t blow anyone away, but the Gamecock alum is great in 1v1 defensive situations and can deliver quality set piece service to boot. – JJ

4.09 – Angel City – Olivia Smith Griffitts (BYU) – D

Smith-Griffitts is the last BYU player off the board this draft, as the outside back ends up in Los Angeles.

4.10 – North Carolina Courage – Courtney Brown (Utah) – M

Brown seems to have slipped under the radar in this draft, but the Utah product is a silky smooth ball progressor and could be a steal for North Carolina being picked this late. – JJ

4.11 – Portland Thorns – Heather Stainbrook (Utah Valley)– M

Stainbrook put together a 105 point career at Utah Valley, and the midfielder is worth taking a shot on here in the fourth round.

4.12 – San Diego Wave – Jaida Thomas (Tennessee) – F

The injury concerns likely will push Thomas down draft boards, and she might not be on some teams’ boards at all. But San Diego is coming off a regular season title and have both a deep and talented squad. They can afford to take a home-run swing at Thomas, who’s been incredibly productive in the three full seasons she’s been on the field for the Volunteers. – JJ

4.13 – Bay FC – Halle Mackiewicz (Clemson) – GK

The 5’10” ACC Goalkeeper of the year has really shined the past two seasons at Clemson.

4.14 – Orlando Pride – Julia Dorsey (North Carolina) – D

Orlando could use a little help anywhere, and at this point in the draft versatility and proven experience are valuable. Dorsey has faced injury issues, but is a proven athlete, featuring in lacrosse and soccer at UNC. When healthy she has featured across the back line and in some big game moments. As she recovers from her ACL injury last spring, she should provide long term potential as a speedy, solid defender for the Pride. – JJ

Round Four Recap –

Always a surprise to see who registers and who goes back to school or plays overseas, and this year was no different. We don’t have huge hopes of beating last years Post-Season Dossier success rate, but you never know come draft time. Thanks for reading, and check out the draft Friday at 5pm (pacific)!

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!