Many Red Stars fans have grown to look forward to NWSL Draft Day. The Chicago Red Stars have done quite well in past drafts, making picks like Jen Hoy, Julie Johnston, Vanessa DiBernardo, Arin Gilliland, Danielle Colaprico, and Sofia Huerta. Historically noted at being a bit of a draft king himself, Rory Dames entered this Draft much like he has in past years. Prepared, looking local, and ready to make moves if needed.
NEW YEAR, SAME CHICAGO
Chicago Red Stars had a very busy draft day. A familiar face missing from the draft table was long time former GM Alyse LaHue, who resigned from her post after the 2016 season. Despite her absence, this year provided the similar feel of past drafts with Chicago making trades to ‘get their player’ and prepare for the future. Chicago held no selections in the first round of the draft. A trade was made before Draft Day, Chicago traded away their 1st round pick (and 37th pick overall) to Boston for the Breakers 12th, 16th, and 21st picks in later rounds.
Chicago used their picks as both trade bait, and selections throughout the draft. Red Stars made an additional trade with Boston to kick off the second round (for an international slot and second round pick in 2018) in order to have back to back selections in the 2017 draft. Chicago used the mid-draft trade to select Michele Vasconcelos from BYU with the newly acquired 11th pick. The midfield/forward was WCC player of the year. She also has speed, and could provide additional options around the net for Chicago in the future.
The Red Stars then drafted local Columbus, IN player, Morgan Proffitt (12th overall) from Marquette University. While some draft boards had her listed in lower rounds, Proffitt is a player that is familiar with Coach Dames and the Red Stars. The Big East defender of the year has strong ties to Chicago already, having previously played with the Chicago Red Stars Reserves the past two years. Listed at 5’10, Proffitt comes to the team as an option for either Defensive or Midfield depth, and area that has been scarce in past seasons.
Chicago made additional mid-draft trades with Seattle, Houston, and Portland for various draft picks in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounds of the 2018 NWSL Draft. At the end of the draft Chicago held four picks in next years draft. If history is any indication, they could be used future selections or additional trades. Before the night was over, Chicago held the penultimate pick in the 4th and final round. Chicago selected Lauren Kaskie from UCLA. The left-footed midfielder could be coached up as future midfield depth for the team.
All players from the 2016 season are slated to return for the 2017 season. With a full roster going into the 2017 draft, some mid-draft traded and moves were expected. Strong additions in Vasconcelos and Proffitt provide the Red Stars with options for the upcoming season. Additional picks for 2018 will allow the Red Stars to stay ahead of the game in what many throughout the league are referring to as an expansion year. Pre-Season will see if the new draftees can compete for legitimate roster spots.