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2017 NWSL draft: Washington Spirit select Florida midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard

The Spirit added a USWNT under-23 and former Spirit Reserve in the 3rd round of today’s draft

Eric Glemser/Florida Athletics

With the 29th overall pick in the 2017 NWSL draft, the Washington Spirit selected midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard, a playmaker who spent her college career with the Florida Gators. Dougherty Howard was a four-year starter with Florida, and produced 14 goals and 25 assists in her NCAA career. That includes a stellar senior season, during which she scored 8 goals and 12 assists in 23 games. She is also in the USWNT’s under-23 pool and a former Spirit Reserves player.

For the Spirit, Dougherty Howard will add to an already crowded midfield. Given that Washington appeared ready to replace Christine Nairn with either Diana Matheson or newcomer Havana Solaun, we may now see Matheson playing as a full-time wide forward in 2017. Head coach Jim Gabarra wants his team to dominate possession, so adding another gifted passer is very much in keeping with the team’s playing style. Unlike last year, where Nairn was nearly ever-present, we may see some rotation as a result of the number of attacking midfielders available (particularly if Estefania Banini ends up re-signing with the club).