Women's Soccer

Chicago selects Bywaters, Nairn falls to Seattle in inaugural NWSL college draft

Photo by ISIphotos.com


Early on Friday morning in Indianapolis, the National Women’s Soccer League held their first college draft. For four rounds, each team had the opportunity to add players to their rosters before the inagural season commences in April.

Coming into draft day, the odd-on favorites for the No. 1 draft pick were MAC Hermann Trophy finalist Christine Nairn from Penn State and Boston College midfielder Kristie Mewis. But when the Chicago Red Stars revealed their choice, it was neither Nairn or Mewis.

Instead, it was Zakiya Bywaters, a first team All-American forward from UCLA.

“I’m very surprised. I was really excited when [head coach] Rory [Dames] gave me the call to let me know. I’m still kind of in shock about the whole experience,” said Bywaters. “But I’m really looking forward to playing in a professional environment. I’m very excited and honored.”

Washington Spirit went second and selected Tiffany McCarty from Florida State, leaving FC Kansas City to land Mewis with the third overall pick.

“I was really excited. I don’t know too much about Kansas City,” said Mewis. “It’s going to be a change, it’s going to be new, and I think it’s going to be really good for me.”

Other notable picks in the first round included Western New York Flash drafting U.S. women’s national team pool goalkeeper A.D. Franch sixth overall. Franch played her college soccer at Oklahoma State.

Seattle Reign F.C. picked Nairn at No. 7, which was a great pick for the Reign, as Nairn will be a big asset in a Seattle midfield that will be without U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe until her contract with French club Lyon runs out in May.

One of the bigger surprises in the later rounds came from Portland Thorns F.C., as they chose Amber Brooks from North Carolinan with their third-round pick. The midfielder, who starred on the Tar Heels run to their National Championship this past fall, signed a contract with Bayern Munich recently. With allocated players Alex Morgan, Christine Sinclair and former Tar Heel Tobin Heath already lining up for Thorns F.C., head coach Cindy Parlow Cone is hoping Brooks will follow as well.

Here are the full results of the draft:

Round 1

1.         Chicago Red Stars- Zakiya Bywaters (UCLA)
2.         Washington Spirit- Tiffany McCarty (Florida State)
3.         FC Kansas City- Kristie Mewis (Boston College)
4.         Sky Blue FC- Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall (BYU)
5.         Boston Breakers- Casey Short (Florida State)
6.         Western New York Flash- AD Franch (Oklahoma State)
7.         Seattle Reign FC- Christine Nairn (Penn State)
8.         Portland Thorns FC- Kathryn Williamson (Florida)

Round 2

9.         Chicago Red Stars- Rachel Quon (Stanford)
10.       Washington Spirit- Caroline Miller (Virginia)
11.       FC Kansas City- Erica Tymrak (Florida)
12.       Sky Blue FC- Kendall Johnson (Portland)
13.       Boston Breakers- Mariah Nogueira (Stanford)
14.       Western New York Flash- Amy Barczuk (Colorado)
15.       Seattle Reign FC- Mallory Schaeffer (William and Mary)
16.       Portland Thorns FC- Nicolette Radovic (Central Florida)

Round 3

17.      Chicago Red Stars- Taylor Vancil (Florida State)
18.      Washington Spirit- Holly King (Florida)
19.      FC Kansas City- Whitney Berry (Kansas)
20.      Sky Blue FC- Ashley Baker (Georgia)
21.      Boston Breakers- Jo Dragotta (Florida)
22.      Western New York Flash- Vicki DiMartino (Boston College)
23.      Seattle Reign FC- Kristen Meier (Wake Forest)
24.      Portland Thorns FC- Amber Brooks (North Carolina)

Round 4

25.      Chicago Red Stars- Jen Hoy (Princeton)
26.      Washington Spirit- Colleen Williams (Dayton)
27.      FC Kansas City- Nia Williams (Missouri State)
28.      Sky Blue FC- Rebecca Kaplan (Maryland) f
29.      Boston Breakers- Maddy Evans (Penn State)
30.      Western New York Flash- Jacyln Logue (Wake Forest)
31.      Seattle Reign FC- Haley Kopmeyer (Michigan)
32.      Portland Thorns FC- Roxanne Barker (Pepperdine)


What are your thoughts on the NWSL College Draft? Was there a clear winner from today’s results? Any surprising picks as well?

Please leave your thoughts below

    • RB

      And I wondered even before clicking to see the full entry how long it would be until somebody made such remarks.

      Last time I looked, Ives hadn’t recategorized his site as one focused on _men’s_ soccer, just on soccer. Why so many alleged soccer fans feel the need to come on here every last time there’s an article on anything related to women’s soccer and make disparaging comments is beyond me.

      Just get over it already. The women play the game, too. It’s bona fide soccer, no matter what you may think. Many of us enjoy watching it and wish them well. If the new league fails, it fails. Women are still going to play their perfectly valid soccer, one way or another.


      • Adam

        He wasnt saying that there should be no women’s soccer content on the site. Given the fate of the other womens’ leagues in the US it’s a valid question. Even in other countries (and leagues such as the WNBA) the women’s soccer leagues are propped up by hugely successful men’s leagues, and would not be able to support themselves. MLS is not able to provide the same kind of boost and support to the women’s league currently. Im not saying that this is fair or just, its just the economics of the situation at the moment.


      • RB


        And the very first comment on a women’s soccer piece is that: will it last? Nothing about the picks or the team distribution or looking forward to seeing how it plays out or good luck or this or that player is good. Just whether the league will last. A comment we’ve heard over and over and over and over and over and over and over, usually only punctuated by lewd remarks about what someone might like to do to this or that player or comments about how lame the women’s game is, etc.

        It’s old. It’s very, very old.


      • Adam

        As someone who supports the WNT and watched WPS games when it was around, I hope the league does succeed. But, I cant help but be a little skeptical of its long term viability. Several of the national team players have expressed the same concern…

        That being said, I’ll watch the games when they are available and do my best to support the league, just as I do with MLS.


      • RB

        Glad to hear it! I will similarly support women’s soccer and follow it with interest going forward.

        Given your comments along those lines, I guess you can also imagine how old it gets. I mean just imagine if every time the USMNT came up, people began questioning the entire enterprise by commenting not on whatever that specific report happened to be about, but rather by expressing skepticism as to the probability of them ever winning the WC, or began disparaging them for not being of the level of quality of Spain or Germany or Brazil, or for not being as exciting as those teams to watch… and then that happened like clockwork every time the USMNT was brought up… Well what is the point? Do you want to talk about the report and support the sport or not, you know?


      • Adam

        I guess Dan made your point for you… At this point I’m not educated enough on women’s college soccer to know who did or did not have a good draft. Although in fairness I could say the same thing about the MLS draft…

        Hopefully the competition is good and the league develops players well. Would be nice to see the next generation of WNTers grow in the league.


      • dan

        ur a joke RB. he was talking about every single womens league failing miserably


      • RB

        Yes, that is precisely what I pointed out. So you agree, even though you say I’m a joke…. ???


    • JoeW

      Yeah, people have been saying that about the men’s pro soccer leagues and teams in the States since the 1960’s. There have been more men’s teams and men’s leagues that have gone belly-up in the States than women’s teams. I’m just thankful that MLS is on solid ground. Maybe the women can do so too.

      Frankly, a healthy women’s league is good for the men. It increases the number of fans and players (which ultimately will benefit MLS as fans are drawn to a higher quality of play). It will increase press coverage and help pro soccer have a national presence (rather than be absent in about 60% of the country). And it may help make MLS stadiums much more lucrative…which will draw in more ownership. If a consortium in St. Louis or Atlanta or Orlando or Jackson or Quad Cities or Minneapolis or Oklahoma City or Memphis can run the numbers and discover that with a men’s and women’s team, a SSS becomes a cash cow, then suddenly you have far more interest in ownership and investment, even in A-League/NASL stuff. And that only benefits us all as soccer fans and supporters.


  • AMPhibian

    i hope the women’s game can thrive. i will be rooting for the NW teams and their superior crests. thorns should win it all if they can blend on the pitch. i wish they would have kept the teams geographically closer, tried to succeed in the NE before expanding. they need to work out their website.


  • dan

    No one cares, women’s league is a joke. No offense to women but don’t you think they should wait till at least MLS is a powerhouse before they stand a chance? 3 strikes your out I thought was the rule?


    • Joe+G

      You sound just a touch like all the commenters on ESPN who complain about any soccer story.


    • keith

      way to be rude. maybe rb was quick to the defensive, but i guess rb also had a good reason to be since you just proved their point.

      i’m excited for the women’s league. yes, the track history isn’t awesome, but we’re allowed to be excited for another try, right? and also, everyone loves to be told that they are a joke, and that what they are passionate about is a joke.

      three strikes and you’re out? for real? does that apply in reality?


    • RB

      “No one cares”

      More corroboration of what I am noting.

      It’s quite obvious to anybody in the country, much less anybody in the countey interested in soccer, that “nobody cares” is patently false and grossly inaccurate when it comes to women’s soccer. You’d have to be literally living under a rock to think so. But it seems important to degrade women’s soccer with such hyperbole in every discussion where it comes up.


    • JpJ

      I’ve have to say, I used to only follow the USWNT during the Olypics or the World Cup but have never watched any of the other games. But, living in the Portland, OR area it will hard not to at least keep an eye on a team with 2 of the best players at their position in the world and I’ve always liked the Tobin Heath flair. I think with the MLS the arguement is that they are not the “best” in the world, you can’t say that about the new womens league.


      • DCLee

        And the MLS is near the point of being able to help hold the women’s league up in cities like Seattle,Portland and KC.


  • AtlPRPlanner

    Lets hope this is a success. Really, no need to post complaining about women’s league or Ives covering it. We have great women’s soccer in the US, and having a strong womens/mens packet can only be good for the sports growth. I think association with MLS just makes sense.


  • assocfoot

    I like the Washington Spirit’s choices – clearly decided to go local with the first two picks having gone to high school within 20 minutes of Soccerplex (OK, without traffic) and good fits with national team players they were allocated. The 11 they have so far should be fun to watch, I’ll definitely catch a few games.


  • Dinho

    How is it fair that the same team gets the first pick in EACH round!??!?!?!? Who planned that?


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