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NWSL Draft 2019: Washington Spirit select Clemson defender Samantha Staab

The Spirit needed defenders, and they nabbed a good one with the #4 pick

Jason Anderson

With the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft, the Washington Spirit selected Clemson center back Samantha Staab. A native of San Diego, California, Staab had a stellar senior season for the Tigers, posting an impressive 11 assists despite playing a defensive position. Staab’s free kick delivery will likely be a real weapon for the Spirit in 2019, while she’s also known for having a very long throw-in that Clemson used to create havoc on a regular basis.

A 5’7” USA under-23 international, Staab figures to compete for a starting role immediately. Washington entered draft day with just three defenders under contract, and one of them (Taylor Smith) has a torn ACL. With rumors pointing to Estelle Johnson among the players involved in the Spirit’s trade for the #3 pick earlier today, Staab could in fact step right into the starting eleven.

However, a major draw for Washington is likely her ability to create from dead balls. A team that only managed 12 goals in a full season needs any source of goals it can get. If Staab can produce real chances from free kicks and throw-ins, she may quickly become a valuable piece for Washington.