The 2022 NWSL College Draft is here, and with it comes what promises to be a wild day in terms of trades and intrigue. While this year’s event went from being in-person to virtual, the rumors all point to the customary flurry of trades, especially with expansion sides Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC (the latter has the 1st overall pick) coming into play.
Who’s going to be the first overall pick?: That’s a good question, because this draft has two phenomenal prospects. Florida State defensive midfielder Jaelin Howell has seemed like the probable #1 for most of 2021, but Equalizer Soccer’s Jeff Kassouf reported last night that San Diego (who have said they do not want to trade the #1 pick away, despite plenty of offers) is leaning towards taking Stanford center back Naomi Girma.
Both have USWNT potential, and in fact have spent time in national team camps before they’ve ever played a professional game. So really, San Diego can’t do wrong, though it is worth noting that their roster as of right now has the makings of a solid defense, a bunch of attackers, and absolutely no midfielders. It’s also worth adding that Racing Louisville, who really struggled all season defending through the midfield, would be overjoyed to find Howell available when they go on the clock with the second pick.
What about the Washington Spirit?: Well friends, it might be a long day. Thanks to some past trades, Washington doesn’t pick until the very end of the third round, #38 overall. They have one more pick after that, and it’s the last pick of the entire day, #50.
Draft day can always turn chaotic, and the Spirit have made huge trades a tradition. In fact, they’ve traded into the top five picks in each of the last four years, which is how they’ve ended up being the team to pick players like Quinn, Jordan DiBiasi, Ashley Sanchez, and Trinity Rodman. So while B&RU has heard little buzz to indicate that streak will continue, lowering your guard with this team is not wise.
As for where they might be looking to reinforce, late 3rd/4th round is extremely “best available player” territory. That said, with Tori Huster likely out for most of 2022, and the Spirit waiving Chinyelu Asher, central midfield might have a slight edge as a priority. Draft history points to there being some legit hope that these picks actually pan out. KC forward Kristen Hamilton was the last pick in 2014, while players like Lo’eau LaBonta, Dani Weatherholt, Kristen McNabb, and Celia Jiménez have all gone after the 30th pick.
Start time: 2:00pm Eastern
Available TV: CBS Sports Network (2-4pm only)
Paramount+, the CBS Sports HQ Twitch channel and on the CBS Sports HQ and NWSL YouTube channels.
Available streaming: CBS Sports HQ (2-4pm only), Paramount+, CBS Sports HQ Twitch channel, CBS Sports HQ Youtube channel, NWSL Youtube Channel.
Outside the United States, NWSL’s Twitch channel is where you want to be.
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What are you drinking?: It’s tempting to just pound a full pot of coffee, because the draft can be both mentally taxing and just hard to stay focused on, but that’s a rookie mistake that sends people to the bathroom or gives them the jitters. I’m an old head, so I know the path to draft day success is one cup just before, followed by water and light snacking throughout.
Also, while I’m doling out unsolicited draft advice, make sure you get up and move around when there are breaks.
This is the place for all your pre-draft, in-draft, and post-draft discussion.
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