Here’s a look back at some of the best draft picks in NWSL history.
CHICAGO – With the 2017 NWSL College Draft finally here, the Chicago Red Stars look to add even more depth to their already stellar team with their five draft picks, holding the 12th, 16th, 21st, 28th and 39th picks. Taking a look back in the past, Chicago has made some key moves to seal some of the best players in the league through the draft.
2013 NWSL College Draft:
Round 1, pick 1 – Zakiya Bywaters (UCLA)
Bywaters went on to score two goals in six games her rookie year, despite being sidelined for majority of the season. In 2014, she scored another two goals in 19 games. Unfortunately, Bywaters would never recover fully from her injury and was eventually waived by Chicago.
Round 2, Pick 9 – Rachel Quon (Stanford)
Quon made 19 appearances her rookie season, the second most on the team in 2013, and assisted on one goal. The following two seasons, she clocked a total of 2739 minutes in 36 games before retiring from professional soccer after the 2015 NWSL season.
Round 3, Pick 17 – Taylor Vancil (Florida State)
Vancil backed Canadian goalkeepers Erin McLeod and Karina LeBlanc in 2013 and 2014, respectively. During her rookie year, she saw time in the goal during six matches, saving 23 shots on goal with a 1.33 goals against average. In 2014, she started three matches, saving 13 of 18 shots on goal. She announced her retirement from professional soccer just before the 2015 NWSL season.
Round 4, Pick 25 – Jen Hoy (Princeton)
The only 2013 draftee to still be named to the roster today, Hoy remains one of the best fourth-round picks in NWSL history. Hoy nabbed three goals and one assist in nine games her rookie campaign and followed that up with four goal in 2014. Hoy continued her scoring consistency with four goals and four assists in 2015 and two goals in 2016.
2014 NWSL College Draft:
Round 1, Pick 3 – Julie Johnston (Santa Clara)
A staple in the U.S. Women’s National Team backline, Johnston played the whole 90 minutes in the 21 games she started, scoring two goals and two assists in her rookie season. Despite being away for National Team duty during the Women’s World Cup in 2015, Johnston found herself with two assists after playing 11 matches for Chicago. Johnston played a total 1080 minutes in 2016, starting in 12 matches.
Round 1, Pick 4 – Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois)
DiBernardo has grown tremendously since being drafted by Chicago with the fourth-overall pick in the 2014 NWSL College Draft. The Illinois native has the most minutes in Red Stars history, coming close to 5,500 total minutes and 45 consecutive appearances. In 2015, she totaled 1733 minutes in 20 matches, netting two goals while again leading the team with five assists. DiBernardo led the team in minutes in 2016, playing a team high 1787 minutes for the season, assisting seven goals to once again lead the team, but this time as co-captain.
Round 3, Pick 22 – Hayley Brock (Maryland)
Brock saw the field eight times her rookie season, starting three matches. She totaled 238 minutes while also netting one goal and earning an assist. After a season-ending injury, Brock ended her career and returned to school to finish her degree.
2015 NWSL College Draft:
Round 1, Pick 8 – Arin Gilliland (Kentucky)
Gilliland assisted two goals and started 17 of her 19 appearances in 2015, while also posting five of 13 shots on goal, the most of any defender on the team. In 2016, Gilliland only missed 81 minutes of play, which was due to injury against FC Kansas City, and finished with two assists.
Round 1, Pick 9 – Danielle Colaprico (Virginia)
In her rookie season, Colaprico lead the team with 1776 minutes in 20 games, and proved to be a major piece of Chicago’s future. In 2016, she was just 17 minutes shy of playing every minute, while also adding one goal and two assists during the season. Her play with DiBernardo in the central midfield has been tabbed the best duo in the NWSL.
Round 2, Pick 11 – Sofia Huerta (Santa Clara)
A constant attacking threat to many teams, Huerta found the back of the net six times during her rookie season, assisting three goals, second most on the team. In 2016, Huerta was able to assist twice and net seven goals, while maintaining 16 of 35 on frame, second most for Chicago.
Round 3, Pick 23 – Cara Walls (Wisconsin)
In 2015, Walls appeared 10 times for the Red Stars, nabbing a goal and an assist, while posting 100% of her shots on goal. She played 12 matches during the 2016 season, finding the back of the net once, with seven of her 11 shots on frame.
Round 3, Pick 27 – Nicole Setterlund (Washington State)
Setterlund opted against a professional career prior to preseason due to concussion issues.
Round 4, Pick 32 – Rachel Tejada (Illinois State)
Tejada appeared twice for Chicago, clocking 16 minutes. Finishing the 2015 season, she chose to return to school to finish her degree.
2016 NWSL College Draft:
Round 2, Pick 19 – Katie Naughton (Notre Dame)
Naughton appeared in 16 matches for Chicago during her rookie year, where she filled in on the backline and was part of the previous NWSL shutout record of 495 minutes.
Round 3, Pick 22 – Sarah Gorden (DePaul)
Gorden earned 112 minutes in four matches with the Red Stars in 2016. Due to an injury to starter Arin Gilliland against FC Kansas City late in the season, Gorden stepped up and played nearly the entire match and helped maintain a draw between the rivals.
Round 4, Pick 32 – Courtney Raetzman (Kentucky)
Raetzman clocked in 52 minutes for Chicago, appearing in six games.
Round 4, Pick 33 – Jannelle Flaws (Illinois)
Flaws made one appearance, playing an entire half for the Red Stars. She spent most of her rookie year competing with the Red Stars Reserves, leading the team with 10 goals and four assists in just six games.
Round 4, Pick 35 – Adrienne Jordan (Northern Colorado)
Jordan was drafted to Chicago before being offered a professional contract with Ostersund DFF of the Elitettan in Sweden, where she currently plays.
Round 4, Pick 36 – Candace Johnson (Missouri)
Johnson played for the Red Stars Reserves in a defensive role, but still managed to net one goal in six games.
Round 4, Pick 39 – Ashleigh Ellenwood (Arkansas)
Ellenwood played for the Red Stars Reserves during eight matches, netting three goals and making two assists.