The Portland Thorns enter the 2017 NWSL College Draft in a very different position than last season, after finishing with the best regular season record in 2016 and taking home the NWSL Shield for the first time in team history.
This year's draft is considered to be fairly deep. Holding the 14th, 20th, 27th, and 40th picks, the Thorns will look to fill the the gaps of what was perhaps the deepest squad in the NWSL in 2016. With the only major loss off the offseason being the retirement of defender Kat WIlliamson, the Thorns will look to add depth pieces that will be needed to fill the gaps when the 2017 European Championships roll around this summer, and other international call-ups the will no doubt occur throughout the season.
Portland Thorns Selections:
- 14th Overall (2nd Round, 4th Pick) - Rachel Hill (Connecticut) - Forward
- 18th Overall (2nd Round, 8th Pick) - Savannah Jordan (Florida) - Forward
20th Overall (2nd Round, 10th Pick)- Traded to North Carolina for the 18th Overall Pick
- 21st Overall (3rd Round, 1st Pick)* - Tyler Lussi (Princeton) - Forward
27th Overall (3rd Round, 7th Pick)- Traded to North Carolina for the 18th Overall Pick
- 40th Overall (4th Round, 10th Pick) - Caroline Flynn (Nebraska) - Midfielder/Forward
Portland has no draft picks in the first round of the draft this year, which means their selection is not going to be as rich as last year, when they had the first overall draft pick and picked Emily Sonnett. This year, Thorns has the most picks in the draft since 2013 though: compared to 2016 and 2015's two picks, Portland has four this year. Their picks, 14, 20, 27 and 40 are not ideal, but as every single Thorns fan will point out in the coming week, Emily Menges was a 36th pick in the 2014 draft, and she's been a wonderful asset for the Thorns.
One of the key things that Portland is looking to bolster is its bench. This means I believe Parsons will be looking to bring on two defenders, a midfielder and a forward. This will also help fill the gap of the three international players, Nadia Nadim, Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Amandine Henry, who will leave to play in the European Championship between mid-July and early August. The crucial thing for Portland's draft picks this year is to pick players who are celebrated amazing players, but who aren't in the top 10 of every single coach. As a result, I am looking at both the players nominated by The Equalizer and Women's Soccer United as the top 10 of their position, and looking further afield, for more risky draft picks that, like Emily Menges, would pay off in the long run.
Watch it on: Streaming on NWSLsoccer.com or embedded below
Start time: 12:00 p.m. PST