The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) held its 12th annual player draft Friday night in Anaheim, California. A year of expansion for the league led with the two newest teams holding the first two picks after having an expansion draft last month.
Various mock drafts and publications ranked their players, but two players were consistently at the top no matter the poll. A common phrase you'll hear amongst drafts of all sports, is "best available." The other would be "a need."
With the first pick in the draft the Utah Royals selected Ally Sentnor, a Youth National Team Captain and stalwart, the ACC Midfielder of the Year from UNC, and Team HOP's own. Sentnor is a dynamic player that possesses speed, speed with the ball, can play multiple positions in the midfield and up top, is great inside the 18 but also can strike from distance with either foot. Check her highlight reel if you don't believe us. Interestingly, Ally will go back to the state where her college career ended and with new teammate, Brecken Mozingo from BYU, who the Royals also selected with their fourth pick. It is safe to say that, in Sentnor, Utah selected the best available, and as an expansion team they fulfilled a huge need. Everybody needs an Ally Sentnor on their team. She is an elite soccer player and talent, but an equally good person.
With the second pick in the draft, the newly founded Bay FC selected Savy King, and brought the immensely talented California product home, after the year she spent with the Tar Heels in North Carolina. Savy is, of course, also a member of Team HOP. An incredible moment as legendary US defender and Bay FC co-founder, Brandi Chastain, fitted Savy with a team jacket as she went on stage. Savy King, an incredible young lady, possesses elite-plus speed and can play multiple positions along the back line. With the US Youth National teams, she was featured as an outside back but did extremely well in her lone season with UNC as a center back. She is very poised, sees the field well, and distributes the ball out of the back with precision but also possesses the power to play over the top. In limited instances, more so because the formation didn't allow it, King showed the vision and skill to push forward and be a real threat on goal.
In a draft that had well over 200 registrants, and only 56 selections, you can't argue with the two that were taken on top. Elite players, elite talents, and with Sentnor being 19 years of age, and King only 18...you'd have to say the future of the league and these teams is bright.
Yet, there was still a lot of talent left on the board, after all, the draft wasn't over just yet. North Carolina got back on the board with Maycee Bell being selected 14th to Gotham FC. A year after coming back from injury, and had she stayed healthy, would have likely been a top 5 pick in 2023, Bell is definitely an intriguing pick and could be the steal of the draft. A few picks later, Samantha Meza was selected by the Seattle Reign at 17, tremendous value at that slot. And just two picks later, another Tar Heel, Avery Patterson, went to the Houston Dash, a team in dire need of scoring should get just that with Patty.
A year out from suffering a knee injury in lacrosse, Julia Dorsey will stay in the Tar Heel State with the North Carolina Courage after being selected with the 40th pick. The Courage had one remaining pick in the draft which would have been wisely used on their own homegrown product, Emily Moxley - a reliable, do-it-all type player, but they went in a different direction. Hopefully, a deal will be made in free agency to add her to the roster.
Also from the Old North State, Jameese Joseph out of NC State was selected with the 15th pick to the Chicago Red Stars, and local Chapel Hill player Alex Kerr via Texas Tech was selected by the Orlando Pride.
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- Tags: Ally Sentnor, Avery Patterson, Bay FC, Brandi Chastain, Houston Dash, Julia Dorsey, Maycee Bell, NC Courage, NWSL, Sam Meza, Savy King, Seattle Reign, Team HOP, Utah Royals