2017 NWSL College Draft ruled by Boston in first round
The National Women's Soccer League hosts its fifth annual college draft in Los Angeles, California. (Source: NWSLSoccer.com)

2017 NWSL College Draft ruled by Boston in first round

bianca-verar
Bianca Verar
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That's all for the draft! Thank you for tuning in, I'm Bianca Verar for VAVEL USA! Until next year!

With the 40th and final pick of the whole draft, the Thorns select Caroline Flynn  from Nebraska

Portland Thorns on the clock

With the 39th pick, the Red Stars select Lauren Kaskie from UCLA

Chicago is on the clock

With the 38th pick, Boston Breakers select Haley Dowd from Boston College

Breakers are now on the clock.

With the 37th pick, the Reign select Kristen McNabb from UVA

Seattle is now on the clock

With the 36th pick, Spirit select Cameron Castleberry from UNC

Washington Spirit now on the clock.

With the 35th pick, the Blues select Rashida Beal from Minnesota

FC Kansas City on the clock

With the 34th pick, Sky Blue selects McKenzie Meehan from Boston College

Sky Blue is now on the clock

With the 33rd pick, Houston selects Erin Smith from Rutgers

Houston Dash now on the clock

With the 32 pick, Orlando selects Nikolette Driesse from Penn State

Orlando calls 5 minute time out

Orlando Pride is now on the clock

With the 31st pick, Breakers select Sammy Jo Prudhomme from USC

Fourth and final round, Boston Breakers on the clock.

We will have one last break before the final round 

With the 30th and final pick of the third round, Sky Blue FC selects Catrina Atanda from Clemson

Sky Blue FC on the clock

With the 29th pick, the Washington Spirit select Meggie Dougherty-Howard from Florida

Spirit on the clock.

With the 28th pick, the Houston Dash select Nichelle Prince from Ohio State.

Dash takes five minute time out.

Houston on the clock

TRADE: Red Stars acquires second round 2018 pick, Houston gets this pick.

Chicago is now on the clock

With the 27th pick, Courage selects Jaycie Johnson from Nebraska

Courage is on the clock

With the 26th pick, Seattle Reign selects Arielle Ship from Cal!

Seattle Reign takes 5 minute time out.

Seattle Reign now on the clock

With the 25th pick, FC Kansas City picks Alexis Shaffer from UVA

FC Kansas City on the clock

With the 24th pick, Sky Blue FC selects Madison Tiernen from Rutgers

Sky Blue FC still on the clock

With the 23rd pick, Sky Blue FC selects Kailen Sheridan from Clemson

Sky Blue FC on the clock

With the 22nd pick, the Orlando Pride select Danica Evans from Colorado

Orlando Pride now on the clock

With the 21st pick, the Portland Thorns pick Tyler Lussi from Princeton

Sky Blue FC is calling their timeout.

Thorns are now on the clock

TRADE: Red Stars have acquired Thorns' 2018 second and third round picks. In exchange, Thorns acquire this pick.

Portland Thorns using their 5 minute time out now

Chicago Red Stars call 5 minute timeout

Chicago on the clock

5 minute break between rounds.

With the 20th and final pick of the second round, Courage selects Claire Wagner from Clemson.

Courage on the clock

With the 19th pick, Spirit select Lindsay  Agnew from Ohio State

The Washington Spirit called a time out

Washington Spirit is now on the clock.

With the 18th pick, Portland Thorns select Savannah Jordan from Florida

Portland is now on the clock.

TRADE: Courage takes the 10th pick of the second round, the 7th pick of the third round. In exchange Portland gets this pick

Courage is now on the clock.

With the 17th pick, FC Kansas City selects Stephanie Ribeiro from UConn

FC Kansas City is now on the clock.

With the 16th pick, Seattle Reign select Katie Johnson from USC

Seattle is on the clock

TRADE between CRS and Seattle Reign: Red Stars earned 2018 first pick, Seattle Reign earns this pick.

Chicago has called a five minute time out.

Chicago Red Stars on the clock

With the 15th pick, Houston Dash selects Jane Campbell from Stanford

Houston Dash now on the clock.

With the 14th pick, Portland Thorns selects Rachel Hill from UConn

Portland Thorns are now on the clock.

With the 13th pick, FC Kansas City selects Toni Payne from Duke.

FC Kansas City on the clock.

With the 12th pick, Chicago selects Morgan Proffitt from Marquette

Chicago still on the clock.

With the 11th pick, the Red Stars select Michelle Vasconcelos from BYU!

Chicago on the clock

Chicago acquires first pick of second round in exchange for their  2018 international slot and 2nd round in 2018 draft!

The league office has called time out.

We're back and Boston is on the clock!

We will not have a short break in between now and the next round.

With the 10th and final pick of the first round, Sky Blue FC selects Miranda Freeman from USC!

Sky Blue FC is on the clock!

With the ninth pick, Boston selects Margaret Purce from Harvard!

Breakers are on the clock...for the fourth time this round

With the eighth pick, Breakers select Ifeoma Onumonu from Cal Berkeley

Boston Breakers are now on the clock (again).

With the seventh pick, the NC Courage selects Darian Jenkins from UCLA!

Courage are now on the clock.

With the sixth pick, Seattle Reign selects Maddie Bauer from Stanford!

Seattle Reign is now on the clock.

With the fifth pick, FC Kansas City picks Christina Gibbons from Duke!

Kayla  Mills takes the podium.

FC Kansas City is now on the clock.

With the fourth pick, Sky Blue FC selects Kayla Mills from USC!

Sky Blue FC is on the clock.

With the third pick, Breakers select Morgan Andrews from USC!

Boston Breakers are now on the clock again!

Courage takes Ashley Hatch from BYU!

Courage is on the clock!

She thanks the league, the coaches and teammates at Wisconsin?, and her friends and family at home - high school, club, etc!

Lavelle takes the podium to speak. 

With the first overall pick, the Boston Breakers select Rose Lavelle!

Boston Breakers are on the clock! It's time!

Plush thanking Sahlen family, WNY owners, for everything they have done for women's soccer.

Plush is recounting the amazing 2016 NWSL season.

NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush takes the podium

The league may call a timeout at any time when they feel needed.

Each team will have 5 minutes to announce their pick in Round 1, 3 minutes in the remaining rounds.

The presentation is about to begin! Get ready folks, the 2017 NWSL College Draft is underway!

We're minutes away from the draft everyone!

Looks like USWNT is in the house too! Jill Ellis and Alyssa Naeher have arrived.

Many people have speculated Lavelle will be the first overall pick, which belongs to the Boston Breakers.

Many draftees are already present today! This includes top prospects Jane Campbell from Stanford and Rose Lavelle from Wisconsin!

That’s all for now! The full draft order can be found here. Check back as the draft gets closer for more updates!

They had a rather exciting opening to their first season, but expansion side Orlando Pride was unable to stay consistent enough to do well. Most of this was due to lack of depth, and now with Alex Morgan gone for half the season, it’ll be important for the Pride to get the most out of the draft. With only two picks - 22 and 32 - head coach Tom Sermanni will have to choose carefully. Like the Thorns, the Pride should look to strengthening their inconsistent backline and adding depth to the midfield - especially with the retirement of Becky Edwards.

The Houston Dash is a team with one of the most threatening offensive collection in the league, yet they were unable to make playoffs, much less turn their season around until Kealia Ohai got going and scored 11 goals in the second half of the season. The Dash should look to draft consistent goal scorers as well as players to help solidify their ever-changing backline. They enter the draft with the 15th and 33rd overall picks. With only two picks, head coach Randy Waldrum may look for versatility.

Perhaps the most stacked roster on paper, on the surface it doesn’t seem like the Portland Thorns need much out of this draft. With all their European internationals, it is important to remember they will need players to step up while those internationals are gone for the Euros later this year. Something they also should look for are players with speed, as this weakness was exposed by the Flash in the hectic semi-final match last season. The Thorns hold the 20th, 27th and 40th draft picks. With those, they should plan to add depth to the defense and midfield positions.

The 2016 finalists Washington Spirit have a lot too look for in the draft. Despite making it all the way last season, the offseason has seen many losses for the Spirit - most importantly the losses of Ali Krieger and Crystal Dunn. This team won’t make an appearance in the draft until the end of the second round, as they have picks 19, 29 and 36 overall. Hopefully the Spirit will be able to add players to strengthen their weakened roster with all the players that have said goodbye to the DC area.

Now we enter the teams without first round picks and Chicago Red Stars are first up. Although they have a strong starting lineup - considering all players are healthy and not with national teams, the Red Stars are in need of depth and consistent scoring ability. They have five picks overall in the draft: 12th, 16th, 21st, 28th and 39th. Lucky for the Red Stars, this year’s draft class is stacked on attacking players so head coach Rory Dames and company should be able to grab a handful to add to their roster.

The Seattle Reign enter this year’s draft with plenty of attacking needs. The Reign have seen many of their core players retire or move elsewhere, in addition to the question of Hope Solo and where she will be when the new NWSL season starts. They enter the draft with picks 6, 26 and 37. Head coach and general manager Laura Harvey is rather famous for her signings, and it’ll be interesting to see who she wants to add to her roster this year.

2016 was a year of adjustment and rebuilding for FC Kansas City. Plagued with retirements and pregnancies, the former back-to-back champions were unable to even make the playoffs last season. They are a team who should probably draft players from all positions. Eight out of their 18 goals came from forward Shea Groom and their defense is not what they used to be, despite the talented Becky Sauerbrunn playing at center back. The Blues have The 5th, 13th, 17th, 25th and 35th picks in this year’s draft. With such a powerful draft class, there is a high chance for the former powerhouse will add quality players to fill the holes.

Sky Blue FC had a rather successful 2016 NWSL College Draft, being able to draft players such as 2015 NCAA Champion Raquel Rodriguez from Penn State and Hofstra University’s English international Leah Galton. Despite not making playoffs last season, Sky Blue was still a force to be reckoned with. They enter the draft with picks 4, 10, 23, 24, 30 and 34. It will be interesting to see how head coach Christy Holly will use these picks when the time comes.

Technically a new team, the North Carolina Courage will follow the Breakers, having the second overall pick. Formerly known as the Western New York Flash, the Courage enters the draft as the technical defending champions. Even though their current roster was able to win it all, they have wasted no time in adding to their already strong roster. On top of second pick overall they also have the 7th and 18th overall picks. For a team who seemed to excel with pace and attacking threats, it will be interesting to see who the Courage are planning to take.

The Boston Breakers finished last on the table in 2016, so they enter the draft with the first overall pick. Most impressively, they have been very busy in this offseason. With trades and signings all over for the Breakers, they also hold the 3rd, 8th, 9th, 11th, 31st and 38th overall picks. It will be a busy start for them, seeing as they hold four of the 10 draft picks in the first round and then start off the second round with another pick.

Hello and welcome to VAVEL USA’s live minute-by-minute 2017 NWSL College Draft coverage and commentary. Today, Thursday January 12, 2017, 40 out of almost 200 hopeful draft  prospects will be selected by the 10 NWSL teams. The draft begins at 3:00 PM Eastern Time, but until then we’ll have some pre-draft analysis from me, Bianca Verar. Make sure you stay tuned and follow along.

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