The 2023 NWSL year kicks off today with the NWSL Draft, taking place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The draft represents the first big league event of the new year as teams ramp up to the start of preseason at the end of January. With the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off later this summer, teams will be looking to the draft to build up their depth, as well as potentially find the next star of the league.
And of course, it is a place where teams can find future MVPs — just as the Portland Thorns did when they selected Sophia Smith three years ago.
After executing a blockbuster trade to acquire the number one pick, it is widely expected that Angel City FC will select 18-year-old phenom Alyssa Thompson to kick off the draft. After that, teams will have perhaps the deepest pool of draft-eligible players ever to select from as they build out their rosters.
The Portland Thorns have their first pick at fifth overall, which they acquired as part of the aforementioned trade which saw Yazmeen Ryan traded to NJ/NY Gotham FC. The reigning NWSL Champions also hold selections 12, 24, 36, and 48.
Trades of course may always change that, but for now the Thorns will be selecting five players to complete their roster as they mount their title defense in 2023.
Will Portland find another Sophia Smith or Morgan Weaver? Will they swing a trade to build up more assets — or perhaps acquire another player? We’ll find out in a few hours.
Leave your thoughts and commentary in the comments below!
The Thorns will have a new man in charge making picks today, as Mike Norris was introduced as the Thorns new head coach earlier this week.
How did the Thorns acquire the fifth pick? It was part of a big multi-team trade which saw midfielder Yazmeen Ryan traded to Gotham FC.
How to Watch
Location: Pennsylvania Convention Center | Pennsylvania, PA
Time: 3 p.m. PT
Watch: CBS Sports Network, Paramount+ and CBS Sports HQ (from 3 p.m. — 4 p.m. PT), Paramount+ and CBS Sports HQ (from 4 p.m. — 8 p.m. PT); NWSLSoccer.com and the NWSL’s YouTube channel (international viewers only)
Running list of Thorns selections
With their first pick the Thorns selected Reyna Reyes, a defender/midfielder out of University of Alabama (which our own Phuoc Nguyen totally called in his mock draft!)
With their second pick the Thorns selected forward Izzy D’Aquila out of Santa Clara University (making Phuoc two for two in his Thorns mock draft. Holy smokes).
With their second round selection, the Thorns picked another forward: Lauren DeBeau out of Michigan State University.
No. 32* Acquired via trade with Houston
After trading the 36th pick along with $20,000 in allocation money to the Houston Dash, the Thorns selected another Michigan State product: goalkeeper Lauren Kozal.
Traded to Houston Dash for the 32nd pick and $20,000 in allocation money.
And with the final pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft, the Thorns... made a trade. Portland flipped the 48th pick to previous trade partners the Houston Dash for a 3rd round natural pick in next year’s NWSL draft along with $10,000 of that allocation money the Thorns sent the Dash previously.
And there you have it! The Thorns selected four players in the 2023 NWSL Draft: Reyna Reyes, Izzy D’Aquila, Lauren DeBeau, and Lauren Kozal.