Friday, January 18, 2013

MLS and NWSL draft results for the Northwest

Portland's Kendall Johnson was lone player chosen from a NW school in NWSL draft | photo: Gerald Barnhart
No players from the Inland Northwest were selected the past two days in the Major League Soccer or National Women’s Soccer League drafts at the NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis, but there was plenty of action for the Northwest on the other side of the Cascades.

The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers picked up three players, combined, and their NWSL counterparts Reign and Thorns tabbed four players each in the new league’s inaugural college draft.

Major League Soccer

The Sounders took Generation Adidas signing Eriq Zavaleta of Indiana University with the 10th overall pick in the SuperDraft, but post-selection interviews with coach Sigi Schmid revealed the coach was likely to use the two-position player in the back instead of up front, where he garnered most of his collegiate acclaim.

Their second round pick was also defensively minded, taking Dylan Remick out of Brown with the 35th selection.

Ironically, one spot prior the Timbers chose University of Washington defender Dylan Tucker-Gangnes, who had previously played with the club’s Premier Development League side, with their lone selection of the draft.  

The Timbers U23 side also saw two other players move onto MLS, both heading north of the border. Striker Emery Welshman of Oregon State was taken 16th overall by Toronto FC in the first round and Erik Hurtado (Beaverton, OR) was taken fifth overall by Cascadia rival Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Canadian clubs had a taste for northwest PDL talent as the Montreal Impact nabbed Sounders U23 forward Fernando Monge with the 18th pick in the first round.

National Women’s Soccer League

The NWSL’s first draft was without question dominated by collegiate talent east of the Mississippi with only seven players from western states (4 from California schools) taken in the 32-player draft.

Seattle and Portland, surprisingly, kept to that trend with the Thorns taking only one player from the Pacific time zone, Pepperdine goalkeeper Roxanne Barker with the very last selection in the draft.

Prior to taking Barker, the Thorns started things off with two from the Sunshine State, picking defender Kathryn Williamson of Florida with the eighth pick and striker Nicolette Radovcic of Central Florida at 16. North Carolina’s Amber Brooks (M/D) was taken at 24.

Seattle, meanwhile, had a single focus in mind during the draft, taking midfielders with the first three picks before finishing things off with a goalkeeper to back up the allocated Hope Solo. They chose Penn State’s Christine Nairn seventh and then took William & Mary’s Mallory Schaffer at 15 and Kristen Meier of Wake Forest in the third round. Michigan keeper Haley Kopmeyer was the fourth round choice.

University of Portland midfielder/defender Kendall Johnson was the only player from the northwestern school’s taken in the draft, going 12th overall to New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC in the second round.

The league will now finish out the process of filling out the 20-player rosters with a two-part system that includes the teams signing four free agents and then utilizing a supplemental draft.

How the Rosters Look So Far

Seattle Reign
1-7 Christine Nairn - M - Penn State
2-15 Mallory Schaffer - M - William & Mary
3-23 Kristen Meier - M - Wake Forest
4-31 Haley Kopmeyer - G – Michigan
Kaylyn Kyle – M (Canada)
Teresa Noyola – M (Mexico)
Megan Rapinoe – D (USA)
Amy Rodriguez – F (USA)
Jenny Ruiz – D (Mexico)
Hope Solo – G (USA)
Emily Zurrer – D (Canada)

Portland Thorns
1-8 Kathryn Williamson - D - Florida
2-16 Nicolette Radovcic - F - Central Florida
3-24 Amber Brooks - M/D - North Carolina
4-32 Roxanne Barker - G – Pepperdine
Rachel Buehler – D (USA)
Tobin Heath – M (USA)
Karina LeBlanc – G (Canada)
Alex Morgan – F (USA)
Marlene Sandoval – D (Mexico)
Luz Saucedo – D (Mexico)
Christine Sinclair – F (Canada)