soccer

2014 NWSL Draft: Year-end assessment

I compiled this for a couple of reasons:

1. I wanted to include in an epilogue to Enduring Spirit that I’m now abandoning, and I’m putting useful stuff I gathered on the blog instead.

2. I was seeking proof of my hypothesis that NWSL teams cannot and should not rely on immediate help from the draft, no matter how talented the draft class might be. I know that takes away some of the fun of previewing and reviewing the draft, but we might just need to take a longer-term view of it.

Feel free to flesh out some of the descriptions in the comments — I’m game for some crowd-sourcing and some discussion. Here’s the info to get you started:

First round

  1. Crystal Dunn, Washington – 21 games, 18 starts, 3 assists. Sparkplug in attack but sometimes burned defensively.
  2. Kealia Ohai, Houston – 23 games, 21 starts, 4 goals, 1 assist. Heated up toward season’s end.
  3. Julie Johnston, Chicago – 21 games, 21 starts, 2 goals, 2 assists. Former U.S. Under-20 captain was named Rookie of the Year.
  4. Vanessa DiBernardo, Chicago – 23 games, 19 starts, 1 goal, 3 assists. Had 11 shots on goal.
  5. Kassey Kallman, Kansas City – 18 games, 18 starts, 1 assist. Steady defensive presence.
  6. Maya Hayes, Sky Blue – 23 games, 13 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist.
  7. Amanda Frisbie, Seattle – Injury wiped out season.
  8. Nkem Ezurike, Boston – 11 games, 6 starts, 2 goals. Also played a little bit with Breakers Reserves.
  9. Courtney Verloo, Western New York – 1 game (1 minute); waived in late May

Second round

  1. Rafaelle Souza, Houston – 16 games, 6 starts, 1 assist.
  2. Marissa Diggs, Houston – 13 games, 11 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist.
  3. Morgan Marlborough, Kansas City – 9 games, 2 assists, 2 goals.
  4. Natasha Anasi, Boston – Never reported to Breakers; signed with IBV in Iceland.
  5. Cloee Colohan, Western New York – Did not play and seems to have retired from pro soccer.
  6. Hayley Haagsma, Sky Blue – Tore ACL in first preseason game.
  7. Jenna Richmond, Kansas City – 22 games, 20 starts, 1 goal, 4 assists.
  8. Megan Brigman, Seattle – 2 games (17 minutes).
  9. Kelsey Wys, Western New York – 10 games, 9 starts. Pressed into service in goal after injuries to Adrianna Franch and Lydia Williams.

Third round

  1. Frances Silva, Kansas City – 18 games, 5 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist.
  2. Mandy Laddish, Kansas City – 2 games (15 minutes).
  3. Jazmine Reeves, Boston – 17 games, 13 starts, 7 goals, 1 assist. Steal of the draft.
  4. Hayley Brock, Chicago – 8 games, 3 starts, 1 goal, 1 assist.
  5. Mollie Pathman, Boston – 21 games, 18 starts, 1 assist. Versatility helped.
  6. Michelle Pao, Sky Blue – Did not play. Stayed with Sky Blue’s reserve team and was called up when national team players were absent.
  7. Emily Menges, Portland – 23 games, 22 starts. Solid defender.
  8. Molly Menchel, Washington – Did not play. Former Spirit Reserve trained with French power Lyon and wound up signing with Norway’s Røa.
  9. Annie Steinlage, Western New York – Did not play. Signed with W-League’s Ottawa Fury and played 11 games.

Fourth round

  1. Jordan Jackson, Houston – 20 games, 13 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist.
  2. Shasta Fisher, Washington – Did not play. Played a few games with the WPSL’s Westside Timbers.
  3. Ellen Parker, Seattle – Did not play.
  4. Elisabeth Sullivan, Portland – 1 game (1 minute). This was the pick the Spirit traded for Tiffany Weimer.
  5. Jami Kranich, Boston – Made roster but did not play — backup keeper behind NWSL goalkeeper of the year Alyssa Naeher.
  6. Elizabeth Eddy, Sky Blue – Did not play. Went to another “blue” team — LA Blues, which beat the Spirit Reserves in the W-League final.
  7. Kim DeCesare, Boston – 1 game (9 minutes). Spent most of the season with the Breakers Reserves before moving to Eskilstuna United in Sweden.
  8. Maegan Kelly, Kansas City – Did not play. Signed in Iceland with Stjarnan.
  9. Kristen Hamilton, Western New York – Did not play.

Again — updates, suggestions, observations and promises to buy me beer and pizza go in the comments.

Thanks to dayecarter on Twitter for chasing down some of the European signees.

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Categories: soccer

4 replies »

  1. I’ll only speak to the 2 teams I follow the closest, Boston and KC.

    I think Boston’s picks were weak overall and the good ones were poorly utilized. Pathman and Reeves clearly the best picks and while Pathman contributed all season, Reeves wasn’t used effectively. Not getting Kranich any minutes might bite them in 2015 if Naeher works into NT plans. Ezurike, Anasi, and DeCesare all wasted picks, imo. Ezurike didn’t grow during season and I’m curious to see if either Anasi or DeCesare come back to NWSL. Something is not right in Boston, but I can’t put my finger on it. I’m not sure Durkin is the right fit for the team he picked.

    KC on the other hand had some strong picks that contributed right away and effectively. Kallman in particular was big all season. Richmond was solid and started most of the season. Silva and Marlborough were effective subs and Silva contributed well when asked to start. Laddish I never really understood and I think Kelly was one of those sentimental hometown picks with hopes that she “might” contribute.

    In the third season I don’t think draft picks will be as important since there is somewhat of a talent base growing in the league. But players able to make an instant impact will be still be prized with World Cup play involved.

  2. The only WoSo college draft I can think of with players that had an immediate impact on their teams would be the 2002 WUSA draft. The 8th-place Carolina Courage drafted Danielle Slaton, and the 7th-place Washington Freedom drafted Abby Wambach. The teams would go on to play for the WUSA championship, with Slaton winning Defensive Player of the Year and Wambach winning Rookie of the Year while getting the first double-double in WoProSo history (10 goals, 10 assists). (Slaton had to retire early due to knee problems – if she’d stayed healthy she’d have been a WNT regular for years.)

  3. The draft was absolutely HUGE two years in a row for KC. Tymrak and Mewis both started a lot and played really well. Mewis traded for ARod, a valuable pickup. Kallman a huge pickup given the loss of Mewis and Sesselman (who may have played left back had she stayed in KC). Richmond was the steal of the draft. Rewatch the Final and semis if you doubt me. Even Vlatko said that while they lost Scott’s physicality, they moved the ball and kept the ball better because of Jenna

  4. Beau, I really believe your skepticism of the draft is due to your close view of the Spirit. There are great rookies out there every year who can make a big time difference. The Spirit have had bad luck mixed with poor choices. Think of the Spirit with Reeves playing for them, instead of Cuellar or Adams. Reeves was actually a more effective player than LDV. Had Dunn been healthy and played just one position this yr, you’d feel better about the draft.

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