If the NWSL was Game of Thrones and the Red Stars crest is the house sigil. Then“Win the Draft” are the house words.
Another draft has come and gone for the Chicago Red Stars, and the events of the day did not disappoint. While, some of you out there might still be reeling from an earlier blockbuster trade between Chicago, Houston, and New Jersey - the future’s looking brighter for Chicago.
The Future. pic.twitter.com/SyB5y9L61l— Chicago Red Stars (@chicagoredstars) January 18, 2018
In a pre-draft interview with Head Coach Rory Dames, he mentioned his outlook on this year’s draft in two ways, to draft for depth and potentially make a big club move. He did both of those today.
Chicago came into the draft with the 7th pick in the first round, and Chicago found themselves trading out of the round. After Sky Blue FC’s trio of picks, a major trade was announced moving players Christen Press, Carli Lloyd and Samantha Kerr. There are additional players to be named in the trade, but in short, Chicago will have a new captain as Press departs for Houston, and Chicago welcomes 2017 NWSL MVP Sam Kerr.
Chicago’s favorite round, saw the Red Stars with 3 picks at 15, 18, and 19. They addressed a team need in drafting a backup Goalkeeper in Emily Boyd from UC Berkeley. The pac-12 goalkeeper of the year recorded 10 shut outs in her senior year and will get to put in work behind USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher while with Chicago.
Boyd’s teammate, Indigo Gibson, was Chicago’s 18th pick. The young center back helped lead the UC backline to fewest goals allowed this season (9). With the 19th pick in the draft Chicago selected Brianna Visalli from Pepperdine University.
NWSL fans will recognize Pepperdine University as the college of 2016 MVP Lynn William. Visalli, a midfielder, won WCC player of the year - the first ever from Pepperdine University.
The Red Stars entered round 3 with 2 picks at 24 and 27.
Megan Buckingham from University of North Carolina was selected at 24. The 5-5 midfielder, has shown more than her available stats and was part of a Tar Heels team that made a run in the College Cup through to the 3rd round.
At pick 27 Chicago selected Zoey Goraliski from UCLA. The Naperville native is returning home after a 2017 College Cup appearance as co-captain of the Bruins.
With the 37 pick in the fourth round, the Chicago selected Schaumburg native Alexa Ben. The 2 time BIG TEN player of the year from Depaul will have the opportunity to play with her hometown squad and is a former teammate of current Red Stars, defender Sarah Gorden.
NOT TO MENTION one of the greatest humans I know. Congrats Lex, can’t wait to be ur teammate again! https://t.co/xTpnlH5vId— sarah gorden (@sarahlgorden) January 18, 2018
How will they fit in?
Chicago addressed two needs in this draft in selecting a back up goalkeeper and potential depth. With a player still be named in the blockbuster trade, this incoming draft class has the opportunity to make an impact and make the 2018 roster.
While with width a question mark for Chicago, last year’s draft pick, Michele Vasconcelos will also make a case for a roster spot. The former WCC player of the year missed last season while expecting a child with her husband.
With 2018 being a World Cup qualifier year, and with the NWSL season getting an earlier start this season (March 24), player depth will come into play for FIFA windows as Rory Dames will look for eventual player rotation for his starting XI.
What do you think of the incoming draft class? How do you feel about Sam Kerr coming to Chicago? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!