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Recapping Every Team’s Selection from NWSL Draft 2024

Recapping Every Team’s Selection from NWSL Draft 2024

Dela Acolatse
NWSL Draft 2024

Two months away from the new NWSL season, and teams are continuing to make new additions for their squads. This year’s NWSL draft concluded recently, with 56 new names from the US, Canada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and Tonga looking to make an impact on their new teams. Forty-One takes a look at the players to keep an eye on for the upcoming season.

  1. Angel City FC
    • Felicia Knox, Alabama (Round 3, Pick 37)
    • Jessica Garziano, St. John’s (Round 4, Pick 44)
    • Madi Curry, Princeton (Round 4, Pick 51)

Angel City drafted toward the lower ends of the draft, but added quality to their midfield and defense.

Player to Watch: Felicia Knox joins Angel City with plenty of collegiate and national team experience, and the Alabama all-time assists leader will be sure to bring creativity to the midfield.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Bay FC
    • Savy King, UNC (Round 1, Pick 2)
    • Maya Doms, Stanford (Round 1, Pick 8)
    • Jamie Shepherd, BYU (Round 3, Pick 30)
    • Caroline Conti, Clemson (Round 3, Pick 34)
    • Laveni Vaka, BYU (Round 4, Pick 55)

One of the upcoming teams for the new season, UNC standout Savy King headlines a strong group of players for Bay FC.

Player to Watch: While King’s breakout season will get Bay FC fans excited, players Maya Doms and Laveni Vaka, fresh off of All-American seasons and College Cup runs will provide experience to the new team.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Chicago Red Stars
    • LeiLanni Nesbeth, FSU (Round 1, Pick 10)
    • Jameese Joseph, NC State (Round 2, Pick 15)
    • Hannah Anderson, Texas Tech (Round 3, Pick 31)
    • Bea Franklin, Arkansas (Round 3, Pick 41)
    • Celia Gaynor, Michigan State (Round 4, Pick 45)

Midfielder LeiLanni Nesbeth, fresh off an NCAA win, joins Chicago alongside four other selections.

Player to Watch: A two-time national champion and capped with Bermuda women’s national team, LeiLanni Nesbeth will be a pillar of support for the Red Stars.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Houston Dash
    • Avery Patterson, UNC (Round 2, Pick 19)
    • Kiki Van Zanten, Notre Dame (Round 2, Pick 21)
    • Amanda West, Pittsburgh (Round 3, Pick 36)
    • Heather Hinz, South Carolina (Round 3, Pick 38)
    • Alyssa Bourgeois, Santa Clara (Round 4, Pick 47)

Highlights from Houston’s draft haul include Patterson, another UNC player, and the Jamaican international Van Zanten.

Player to Watch: Kiki van Zanten has provided plenty of clutch moments for both Notre Dame and the Jamaica national team, a quality the Dash will be excited to have for the season.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Kansas City Current
    • Ellie Wheeler, Penn State (Round 2, Pick 18)
    • Halle Mackiewicz, Clemson (Round 3, Pick 32)
    • Hope Hisey, Arizona (Round 4, Pick 46)

Defense was the priority for Kansas City’s draft, as they picked up a defender in Wheeler and two goalkeepers in Mackiewicz and Hisey.

Player to Watch: Wheeler will provide quality and experience at defense, however the 2023 ACC Goalkeeper of Year in Halle Mackiewicz will be a strong challenger for KC’s goalkeeper position.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Gotham FC
    • Maycee Bell, UNC (Round 1, Pick 14)

The NWSL champions make a single selection, choosing the defender from UNC.

Player to Watch: Bell will be tasked with filling in the retired Ali Krieger’s shoes for Gotham, and her accolades at center back suggest she’s up for the challenge.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. North Carolina Courage
    • Talia Staude, Virginia (Round 2, Pick 24)
    • Julia Dorsey, UNC (Round 3, Pick 40)
    • Landy Metz, Pittsburgh (Round 4, Pick 52)

Staude, Dorsey and Metz aim to provide reinforcements to North Carolina for the coming season.

Player to Watch: Talia Staude has extensive national team youth experience, and has leadership qualities that will boost the Courage’s defense throughout the season.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Orlando Pride
    • Ally Lemos, UCLA (Round 1, Pick 9)
    • Cori Dyke, Penn State (Round 2, Pick 22)
    • Alex Kerr, Texas Tech (Round 4, Pick 50)
    • Talia Gabarra, UCF (Round 4, Pick 56)

With a focus on attacking, first round selection Ally Lemos headlines an impressive collection of forwards and midfielders. 

Player to Watch: While Lemos look to make an instant impact, Cori Dyke capped off a stellar career as the Big Ten Defender of the Year and all time leader in matches played in Penn State. That consistency will come in handy in Orlando.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Portland Thorns
    • Payton Linnehan, Penn State (Round 1, Pick 11)
    • Olivia Wade-Katoa, BYU (Round 2, Pick 23)
    • Kelsey Kafusi, Utah State (Round 2, Pick 25)
    • Kat Asman, Penn State (Round 3, Pick 39)
    • Katie Duong, Stanford (Round 4, Pick 53)

The Thorns look to make noise with their draft class, with Payton Linnehan from Penn State leading the charge. 

Player to Watch: Payton Linnehan has a penchant of scoring on the center stage, especially during Penn State’s Elite Eight run last year. The Thorns will be looking for the same throughout the season.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Racing Louisville
    • Reilyn Turner, UCLA (Round 1, Pick 6)
    • Emma Sears, Ohio State (Round 2, Pick 28)
    • Sam Cary, Iowa (Round 4, Pick 48)
    • Madison White, Texas Tech (Round 4, Pick 54)

Louisville brings a strong draft haul across the board, including standout forward Reilyn Turner. 

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Player to Watch: Turner has produced double-digit goals all 4 of her seasons at UCLA, where she also became a national champion. One of the best forwards of the draft, Louisville will have a proven scorer for the season.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. San Diego Wave
    • Kennedy Wesley, Stanford (Round 1, Pick 12)
    • Mya Jones, Memphis (Round 3, Pick 42)

Wesley and Jones join the NWSL Shield winners.

Player to Watch: Kennedy Wesley’s resume speaks for herself: 2x national champion and Stanford’s all time leader in matches played, she will provide a quality defensive option alongside USWNT Player of the Year Naomi Girma.

Photo Credit: Gillian Faski
  1. Seattle Reign
    • Sam Meza, UNC (Round 2, Pick 17)
    • Maddie Mercado, Notre Dame (Round 2, Pick 27)
    • Makena Carr, Saint Mary’s (Round 4, Pick 43)

Meza and Carr join the Reign’s midfield corps, while Mercado adds another attacking option to Seattle. 

Player to Watch: Both Sam Meza & Maddie Mercado have come off of all-American seasons and are winners at the youth international level. The two second round picks are strong additions to Seattle’s squad this season.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Utah Royals
    • Ally Sentnor, UNC (Round 1, Pick 1)
    • Brecken Mozingo, BYU (Round 1, Pick 4)
    • Lauren Flynn, FSU (Round 2, Pick 16)
    • Olivia Smith-Griffitts, BYU (Round 2, Pick 20)
    • Emma Jaskaniec, Wisconsin (Round 2, Pick 26)
    • Zoe Bruns,USC (Round 3, Pick 29)
    • Cristina Roque, FSU (Round 3, Pick 33)

The newly re-formed Royals have the biggest draft class of the NWSL, led by their number one overall pick Ally Sentnor. 

Player to Watch: Sentnor will deservedly get the attention for Utah, but fellow first round pick Brecken Mozingo will feel the hometown love as her BYU career ended with an All-American season at midfield and a College Cup semifinal run.

Photo Credit: NWSL
  1. Washington Spirit
    • Croix Bethune, Georgia (Round 1, Pick 3)
    • Hal Hershfelt, Clemson (Round 1, Pick 5)
    • Kate Wiesner, Penn State (Round 1, Pick 7)
    • Makenna Morris, Clemson (Round 1, Pick 13)
    • Anna Podojil, Arkansas (Round 3, Pick 35)
    • Courtney Brown, Utah (Round 4, Pick 49)

The Spirit have a whopping four first round selections, with Bethune, Hershfelt, Wiesner, and Morris all looking to make an immediate impact.  

Player to Watch: Croix Bethune had a stellar career filled with accolades at both Georgia & USC, and now one of the top attacking prospects finds a home in Washington.


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