As the 2021 NWSL Draft ticked toward its fifth hour, Portland Thorns FC still had one more pick. It was their fourth and final pick of the draft and the 37th overall. With the seventh selection of the fourth round Portland selected Hannah Betfort, a defender from Wake Forest.
Betfort wasn’t always a defender. She was a South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year nominee in high school as a forward. She captained her club team, won five state championships, and was an All-State honoree who led her high school team in scoring each of her first three years.
Betfort started 17 matches her freshman season at Wake Forest. She scored the second most goals for the Demon Deacons with five, three of which were game-winners.
During her sophomore campaign, she made the transition from forward to defense, playing matches at both center back and right back.
Class of 2021— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) September 22, 2020
Hannah Betfort - D (CB, RB) - Wake Forest
Key Stat - 80% tackles won
Utility player can play on front or back-lines but future looks to be at center-back. Great passer & dribbler who also averaged almost 10 recoveries a match.
The following two seasons Betfort captained the Demon Deacons. As a junior she assisted a team-leading five goals. She is a no-nonsense defender. Betfort won nearly 80% of her attempted tackles. She is also good at making interceptions and recoveries.
NWSL Draft Prospect Watch— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) January 6, 2020
From RPI #61 - Wake Forest
Class of 2021 - Hannah Betfort - F (CF), D (CB, RB)
Former forward played CB in 2019. Offensive instincts still showed at times, with 8 key passes, 2.8 dribbles/90'. Also won nearly 80% of tackles, averaged 7 interceptions.
“[We were] really excited about this one so we weren’t sure that she was going to be available this late in this sort of draft,” said assistant coach Rich Gunney. “...[She’s] a good athlete, good player on the ball and some versatility in there as well.”
"Talented player, good athlete, good on the ball."— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) January 14, 2021
Assistant Coach Rich Gunney is thrilled with our latest draft pick, @hcbetfort. #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/B9ujlkjaVq
Betfort is a good player that can adapt to the team’s needs and serve as a leader. She amassed six goals and eight assists in her college career and has been a leader on teams from a young age. Betfort is also a smart player on and off the pitch. She was awarded All-ACC Academic Honors in 2019.
Betfort was unsure whether she would be drafted or not on Jan. 7th. She spoke to her underdog mentality and willingness to fight and prove herself. Her fighting spirit was on display with a quote host Marisa Pilla shared after she was drafted.
The ACC is the hardest conference in the country and I will fight anyone who says different,” Betfort said.
Betfort dealt with the ACC and soon enough she will be defending against the best of the best in the NWSL. There is no doubt that she will continue to use her underdog mentality to drive her to be the best player she can be. But for now, she can sit back and take in her accomplished dream of becoming a professional soccer player.
“You think about it, you dream about it,” said Betfort. “I know exactly what I’m going to say in these moments … and I don’t at all. It’s just an honor to have been picked and it’s just the first step. I still have to go into camp and prove myself to everyone. So it’s an awesome feeling … when I got the call I was over the moon.”
Drafted, and loving it. Wando HS and Wake Forest grad Hannah Betford goes #37 overall in the WPSL draft to the Portland @ThornsFC - elated for the opportunity, and certainly worth the wait for the Mt. Pleasant native. pic.twitter.com/v3eI9g9aCw— Scott Eisberg (@SEisbergWCIV) January 15, 2021