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Chicago Red Stars 2020 NWSL Draft Preview

Chicago Red Stars head into the first round with two selections

SOCCER: JUL 21 NWSL - NC Courage at Chicago Red Stars
Red Stars head coach Rory Dames
Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2020 NWSL Draft has arrived and the Chicago Red Stars have positioned themselves for the potential to have another memorable draft day.

No strangers to big draft day moments, the club has recently made a number of trades ahead of Thursday’s draft. Here’s the latest on the Red Stars recent off-season moves and a bit of Red Stars draft day history.

Memory Lane

Chicago truly began to shape the core of their team back in 2014 as they drafted Julie (Johnston) Ertz and Vanessa DiBernardo during the first round. In 2015 they welcomed Danielle Colaprico and Arin (Gilliland) Wright. 2016 saw the arrival of hometown kid Sarah Gorden, while during 2017 the club made a draft day trade for Michele Vasconcelos.

2018 saw a three team blockbuster trade between Chicago, Houston, and New Jersey for Sam Kerr and Nikki Stanton— while also drafting current Red Stars Emily Boyd and Zoey Goralski. The 2019 and NWSL draft was hosted in Chicago, with the Red Stars holding the number one selection overall. The pick was acquired during a midseason trade with Utah Royals FC, and the Red Stars welcomed top prospect Tierna Davidson from Stanford.

Ahead of Draft Day

A number of former Red Stars made their departures during this offseason. Sam Kerr signed with Chelsea FC, Brooke Elby announced her retirement, Mária Sánchez signed with Chivas Femenil, and Nikki Stanton signed with Klepp IL in Norway.

Chicago made their own series moves ahead of this years draft, including a big trade with Houston Dash for Kealia Ohai.

Armed with several picks ahead of this years draft, a bulk of them in the first round, Chicago made the following trades:

  • Chicago trades their natural second round draft selection in the 2021 NWSL draft to Utah Royals FC for Makenzy Doniak
  • North Carolina trades 9th and 18th pick to Chicago for the 6th pick in the 2020 draft
  • Houston trade Kealia Ohai to Chicago for Katie Naughton and Chicago’s 18th pick in the 2020 draft
  • Chicago trades 9th pick to Reign FC for 24th pick in 2020, and natural first round pick in 2020
  • Chicago trades 8th pick over all to Utah Royals FC for Allocation Money

Outlook is 20/20

Chicago’s trade with Utah for allocation money was the first of its kind in the league. A few weeks after the conclusion of the 2019 season the league introduced allocation money moving forward, clubs who wish to utilize it may do and can purchase up to $300k for future player signings.

The Red Stars addressed a big question surrounding their offensive production by acquiring Ohai after the departure of Kerr. However, she arrives to the club seeking a new environment to help her regain her form and goal scoring production. Ohai now finds herself being part of the same club that played a role in Morgan Brian’s return to form.

The arrival of both Ohai and Doniak hold the potential of huge upside, as do the Red Stars current draft picks ahead of Thursday.

At the moment the Red Stars head into draft day with picks 4, 5, 24, 26, and 35.