The Portland Thorns made a splash in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, selecting Sophia Smith, Morgan Weaver, and Meaghan Nally in a trade-driven affair.
It was a huge deal last week that brought Portland the first pick in the draft, one that saw the departure of 2016 first overall draft pick Emily Sonnett along with Australian Caitlin Foord.
While the centerback hole left in Sonnett’s absence as yet to be filled, Smith is a tremendous acquisition for the Thorns. A player who was tremendous both at Stanford and on various U.S. teams, Smith’s goalscoring rate, tenacity, and speed on the ball hint at her potential. At the age of 19, Smith is an exciting prospect for Portland both in this upcoming season and for years to come.
The second overall pick was a late move for Portland, announced by The Athletic’s Meg Linehan on Twitter just as the draft began. As events unfolded, it was unveiled that the Thorns had traded for the pick from the Chicago Red Stars, who had picked it up in a last minute trade with Sky Blue FC. In return, Portland gave the Red Stars the 15th and 16th overall picks in this year’s draft, along with some sum of allocation money — reported to be $70,000 by The Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald.
Weaver has shown well in her years at Washington State, capped off by a stellar performance in the 2019 postseason. Her physicality will be a huge asset to the Thorns front line, especially if the rumored departure of Hayley Raso comes to fruition.
Coming out of Georgetown, Nally has shown the ability to take on any role along the defensive line, a valuable skill on a Thorns defense that could use some defensive depth. In her 88 appearances for the Hoyas, Nally has displayed that she’s an overall solid player at the college level; she’s comfortable going against players 1v1, has the awareness to make good recovery runs, or can push forward with the ball at her feet.
As the clock ticked down, yet another trade was announced, this time between Portland and Reign FC. The deal brings a Reign player to the Thorns in exchange for their 34th overall pick. Although Portland’s pick up is currently unnamed, it’s rumored that they’ve acquired defender Christen Westphal.
A source with knowledge of the deal tells The Inquirer that the Reign player going to Portland is Christen Westphal.— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) January 16, 2020