NWSL Draft: All picks for the 2023 season, part 2

NWSL Draft 2023
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 12: A general view during the 2023 NWSL Draftat the Pennsylvania Convention Center on January 12, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The first part of our 2023 NWSL Draft recap saw us look at Angel City, Kansas City Current, Orlando Pride, NJ/NY Gotham, Portland Thorns and Chicago Red Stars.

Now let’s take a look at the rest of the teams ahead of the new season.

North Carolina Courage

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The Courage held the 6th, 8th, 9th and 11th overall picks in this year’s NWSL draft.

North Carolina has always been a team that was considered one of the best in the league.

After a rough season and offseason departures, the Courage looked to add players they needed to be the successful team they once were. They selected: Olivia Wingate, forward (University of Notre Dame), Sydney Collins, defender (University of California, Berkeley), Clara Robbins, defender/midfielder (Florida State University), Haley Hopkins, forward (University of Virginia).

Wingate and Hopkins will play up top for North Carolina. Prior to the draft, the Courage only had three forwards, as Diana Ordonez was traded during the draft, and Rylee Baisden tore her ACL while playing in Australia.

Wingate joins after scoring 26 goals and 11 assists at Notre Dame. She has prior experience with the U.S. Youth National Teams.

Hopkins tallied 56 goals and 26 assists in her 104 collegiate appearances for Virginia. A huge 21 of her goals scored were game-winners, which the Courage needs going into this season.

After losing star midfielder Debinha in free agency, Collins and Robbins join the team’s backbone in the midfield. The Courage is known to play a box midfield which proves to help them greatly against opponents. Collins comes in as a defensive midfielder.

Many of the Courage’s roster midfielders are attackers, but having Collins in a more defensive role can help the team anchor the defense and improve this season. Robbins comes in as a more attacking midfielder. She tallied 17 goals and 25 assists at FSU. Robbins aims to add to the attack lacking in the Courage’s season last year.

San Diego Wave FC

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The Wave held the 13th, 33rd and 45th pick this year.

After a very successful season last year as an expansion team, the Wave looks to add players to ensure an NWSL Championship.

With their picks in the NWSL draft, they selected: Sierra Enge, midfielder (Stanford University), Lauren Brzykcy, goalkeeper (UCLA), Giovanna DeMarco, midfielder (Wake Forest University).

Enge and DeMarco add to the Wave’s midfield. The players join a mix of veterans and young players. Enge appeared in 79 games and tallied five goals and 13 assists while helping lead Stanford to an NCAA Championship. DeMarco appeared in 74 games and tallied 11 goals and seven assists at Wake Forest.

In her final collegiate season, she was versatile as she played defensive midfield, center back and forward. She can be useful to the Wave, who have multiple internationals in those positions.

Brzykcy adds to the talented goalkeeper pool of Kailen Sheridan and Carly Telford. She had 234 saves in her five-year UCLA career, tallied 29 shutouts, and was the starting keeper for UCLA’s national championship last season. Learning from some of the best keepers in front of her can allow her to earn some minutes in the future.

Racing Louisville FC

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Racing held the draft’s 16th, 17th, 29th and 31st picks.

Louisville did not have the best season last year, but with many young players in the starting 11, the team looks to have a promising run for the championship in the coming years.

They selected: Kayla Fischer, forward (Ohio State University), Brianna Martinez, defender (University of Notre Dame), Jadyn Edwards, forward (University of New Mexico), Riley Parker, forward (University of Alabama).

Fischer, Edwards and Parker join the forward pool at Louisville. They come to a team lacking Nadia Nadim and Emina Ekic, as they both were injured and will require a majority of the next season to rehab.

Fischer achieved a career-high eight goals last season, along with eight assists. She co-captained Ohio State to an NCAA Tournament appearance. Edwards totaled 31 goals and 24 assists across her collegiate career and helped New Mexico to three conference titles.

Parker bounced back from an ACL tear last season to tally 17 goals and help lead Alabama to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. These forwards can combine with other young stars on the team to create a dangerous attack for the ninth-place team last season.

Martinez was the lone defender of Louisville’s selections. She helped lead Notre Dame to the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament while holding down the back line. She has also seen a call-up for the USWNT U-23 squad. After the departure of Gemma Bonner this offseason, Martinez can make an immediate impact with the vacant starting spot.

OL Reign

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The Reign held the 19th and 46th picks of the NWSL draft.

OL Reign won the tight race for the NWSL Shield in the last regular season game. They went on to the semifinals in their championship run, where they lost to the Kansas City Current. The Reign look to add more young players to their star-studded team.

They selected: Shae Holmes, defender (University of Washington), Natalie Viggiano, midfielder (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Holmes is a defender who adds to an experienced backline that includes Lauren Barnes, Alana Cook and newly acquired Emily Sonnett. Holmes played in 44 collegiate games, with two goals and seven assists as a left-footed defender at Washington. She reunites with head coach Laura Harvey after playing under her on the youth national team.

Viggiano joins the squad as a midfielder to accompany Quinn, Jess Fishlock and Rose Lavelle. She started in all 19 games this last season and provided six goals and two assists for Wisconsin. Viggiano will be an integral part of the squad while her teammates are with their national teams.

Houston Dash

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The Dash held the 20th, 22nd, 36th and 48th picks in the draft.

Houston had a rather good season last year after having an average one the year prior. They made it to the quarterfinals as the fourth seed on the road to the NWSL Championship.

They selected: Sophie Hirst, forward (Harvard University), Jyllissa Harris, defender (University of South Carolina), Lindsi Jennings, defender (LSU), Madelyn Desiano, defender (UCLA). The Dash also acquried Diana Ordonez after a trade with the North Carolina Courage.

Hirst joins the already dangerous squad of Houston forwards . They were very successful, having acquired Ebony Salmon and Maria Sanchez, who gave a spark to the offense. Hirst played in 60 games, scored 10 goals and tallied 12 assists for Harvard.

Harris, Jennings and Desiano join the Dash as defenders. They join an experienced back line that helped the team to a fourth place finish in the league last season. Over her 107 games played, Harris scored 16 goals and had 11 assists. Jennings appeared 40 times in her collegiate career at LSU, netting three goals and recording two assists. Desiano helped UCLA to last season’s NCAA Tournament Championship title, where she played all 110 minutes. She also helped the team record 14 shutouts. Adding depth to their defensive pool will help the Dash overcome cases of injury like they experienced last season.

Washington Spirit

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The Spirit held the 26th, 28th, 30th, 34th, 37th and 40th picks in the NWSL draft.

After winning the NWSL Championship in 2021, the Spirit had quite a tough season last year as they finished 11th in the standings.

They selected: Nicole Douglas, forward (Arizona State University), Lyza Bosselmann, goalkeeper (Gonzaga University), Riley Tanner, forward (University of Alabama), Lena Silano, forward (Long Beach State University), Civana Kuhlmann, forward (University of Colorado), Delaney Graham, midfielder (Duke University).

Forwards Douglas, Tanner, Silano and Kuhlmann look to help the young offense this season. The Spirit currently has four rostered forwards, and more is never too much. Douglas played five seasons with Arizona scoring 60 goals and 21 assists in 89 appearances. Tanner played 45 games in two seasons, scoring eight goals to go along with 11 assists at Alabama.

Silano totaled 27 goals and 10 assists in her collegiate career. She became a sensation for her bicycle kick goal against San Diego this past season. Kuhlmann rounds out the forwards with 12 goals and six assists in her one season at Colorado. She previously won three conference championships with Stanford.

Bosselmann joins Nicole Barnhart and Aubrey Bledsoe between the pipes. She made 182 saves in her career with Gonzaga and maintained a goals-against average of 0.87. After losing Devon Kerr in the offseason, Bosselmann becomes the third keeper on the roster with plenty of experience to learn from. Graham has been a stalwart defender, holding the school record for both most starts (103) and minutes played (8,767).

Looking ahead

Following the 2023 NWSL draft, the regular season is set to kick off on March 25th. Teams may begin pre-season camps starting no earlier than January 23rd, and no later than February 6th.

The regular season schedule has not been released yet, but be sure to tune in to see the class of the 2023 NWSL draft take the pitch.

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