With its final pick of the 2017 NWSL College Draft, the Washington Spirit selected University of North Carolina midfielder Cameron Castleberry. Castleberry, the No. 36 overall pick, joins Lindsay Agnew and Meggie Dougherty-Howard as the three players in Washington’s 2017 draft class. All three have youth national team experience; Castleberry played with the USWNT Under-20 team.
Castleberry is a speedy winger who improved greatly during her time at UNC. She was mainly deployed on the flanks but was used as a central attacking midfielder her senior year. As the Spirit midfield is pretty well-stocked, it seems likely that Spirit head coach Jim Gabarra intends to use Castleberry as a wide forward in a 4-3-3.
Gabarra’s choice to draft midfielders today could mean he is expecting the departure of another midfielder or simply wants to strengthen the midfield. In 2016, the trio of Christine Nairn, Tori Huster, and Joanna Lohman often dictated the Spirit’s performance last year. When they kept it simple and clean in the midfield, wins followed.