It is that time of the year again when college players, now current and about to graduate, have that butterfly feeling in their stomach. It is such a nerve-wracking moment when it is unknown where your talents in college have paid off to have turned the heads of the coaches of one of the top women's leagues in the world, the NWSL.
Now, before I share the final round picks, I want to share some interesting changes that have been made to the league and my perspective.
The NWSL announced rule changes to their league curriculum that has increased the following: roster size, salary cap and permitted team assistance cap for the 2019 NWSL season. In regards to the roster size, teams will now be able to have a minimum of 20 and maximum of 22 players rostered, in addition to four supplemental spots. Furthermore, there will also be a raise in the salary cap. The NWSL Salary Cap will be increasing to $421,500 for each NWSL club for the upcoming season. This includes $54,000 for the two new spots. The minimum and maximum salary figures will be rising to $16,538 and $46,200, respectively.
What great news that there has been an increase! Very exciting.
Looking at the larger picture though, how crazy is it that a female professional soccer player can actually try to live off of $16,538 for majority of the year? And, unless you are on the national team or the pool (USA / Canada), it is a very challenging lifestyle which is why a large percentage of female soccer players retire before the usual footballer peaking age.
Anyways, away from my rant and onto sharing the awesome news of the latest draftees!
Here are the draft picks:
Stanford and USWNT defender Tierna Davidson is now a member of the Chicago Red Stars. Davidson left Stanford early to join the NWSL and was picked first overall. She made the obvious and most respected decision of leaving college before graduating because she wanted to focus in on the USWNT camps and roster chances ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup in France this Summer.
The UCLA standout missed nearly half of the season while playing with the U.S. Women’s National Team and 2017 she was a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist after an outstanding season run. However, according to The Equalizer, Hailie Mace had informed Sky Blue FC prior to Thursday’s NWSL College Draft that she has no intention of playing for the New Jersey club that made her the No. 2 overall pick. Sky Blue general manager Tony Novo said that “there’s challenges with her but I think that she will be here once we talk to her and get by some of the negativity we’ve had in the past. There’s a lot of things that we need to improve.”
The Pac 12 Midfielder of the Year. Sky Blue FC had their eyes on her since she’s most likely a non World Cup roster spot and could be available to them all year. VERY IMPORTANT as Sky Blue came off the worst season ever, finishing last place with a record of 1-17-6 in their 2018 campaign.
4. Washington Spirit — Samantha Staab, D, Clemson 5. North Carolina Courage — Leah Pruitt, F, USC 6. Sky Blue FC — Julia Ashley, D, North Carolina 7. Washington Spirit — Tegan McGrady, D, Stanford 8. Washington Spirit — Dorian Bailey, M, North Carolina 9. North Carolina Courage — Hailey Harbison, D/M/F, Pepperdine
10. Sky Blue FC — Paige Monaghan, M/D, Butler 11. Sky Blue FC — Julie James, M, Baylor 12. Houston Dash — Aly Prisock, D, USC 13. Houston Dash — CeCe Kizer, F, Ole Miss 14. North Carolina Courage — Lauren Milliet, M/F, Colorado College 15. Chicago Red Stars — Maria Sanchez, F, Santa Clara 16. Houston Dash — Betsy Brandon, M, Virginia 17. Washington Spirit — Bailey Feist, M, Wake Forest 18. Houston Dash — Kayla McCoy, F, Duke
19. Sky Blue FC — Kyra Caruso, F, Georgetown 20. Chicago Red Stars — Bianca St. Georges, D, West Virginia 21. Houston Dash — Jazmin Jackman, D, Oregon 22. Houston Dash — Grace Cutler, M, West Virginia 23. Utah Royals FC — Michelle Maemone, D, Pepperdine 24. Portland Thorns — Emily Ogle, M, Penn State 25. Orlando Pride — Erin Greening, D, Colorado 26. Chicago Red Stars — Kayla Sharples, D, Northwestern 27. Utah Royals FC — Maddie Nolf, D, Penn State
28. Sky Blue FC — Kaylan Marckese, GK, Florida 29. Sky Blue FC — Kenie Wright, D/M, Rutgers 30. Orlando Pride — Marisa Viggiano, M, Northwestern 31. Chicago Red Stars — April Bockin, F, Minnesota 32. Utah Royals FC — Alex Kimball, M/D, North Carolina 33. Chicago Red Stars — Hannah Davidson, D, Northwestern 34. Sky Blue FC — Sabrina Flores, M/D, Notre Dame 35. Chicago Red Stars — Jenna Sczesny, F, Loyola Chicago 36. North Carolina Courage — Kaycie Tillman, M/F, Florida State