Chicago Red Stars had themselves yet another eventful draft day at the 2020 NWSL Draft yesterday. Armed with two first round picks, and more, in this years draft— the Red Stars had traded their way out of that first round before the draft clock had started ticking. By the days end, Chicago had welcomed five new draftees, a trade for an additional forward, and the still confusing Allocation Money.
Calm Before The Chaos
Chicago had made a series of moves leading into the draft, welcoming Makenzy Doniak from Utah Royals FC and Kealia Ohai from Houston Dash amongst their trades in the offseason— including the very first trade for Allocation Money in NWSL history.
The club entered the day with the 4th and 5th pick in the first round, with the following picks at 24, 26, and 35.
As the list of eligible players became final at the deadline the evening before, there were a variety of scenarios involving a number of talented players the Red Stars could’ve taken at the 4th and 5th selections. However, during Thursday morning, Chicago set in motion a series of events that shook up the draft boards.
Breaking Things Down
As the draft was kicking off, Chicago had dealt their 4th and 5th selections to Sky Blue FC for Allocation Money (rumored to be 70k) along with their 2nd and 3rd pick. The Red Stars then traded those selections. Red Stars sent Portland Thorns the 2nd pick for allocation money (rumored 70k) and then dealt the 3rd pick to Orlando Pride.
In dealing with Orlando, the Red Stars acquired Rachel Hill, the 19th pick, allocation money (rumored to be 25k) and the Pride’s No. 1 pick in 2021.
Welcome to Chicago, @r_hill3! #MKOT | #NWSLDraft pic.twitter.com/EPj3yvVnFn— Chicago Red Stars (@chiredstarsPR) January 16, 2020
Remainder Of The Draft
Chicago finally made selections heading into the second round of the draft, at picks 15 and 16. Taking a pair of defenders in Julia Bingham, University of Southern California and Camryn Biegalski, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Zoe Morse, a midfielder from the University of Virginia, came with the Red Stars 19th overall pick, the first in the third round. Ella Stevens, a forward from Duke University, closed out Chicago’s selections in the third round at 24.
The Red Stars final pick went to Aerial Chavarin (F/M/D) from Yale University as the 35th pick in the fourth round.
Defensive depth, versatility, future picks in 2021, and allocation money were all assets that the Red Stars came away with as the draft concluded.
It’s their kind of town.#MKOT | #NWSLDraft— Chicago Red Stars (@chiredstarsPR) January 16, 2020
✏️: https://t.co/3EdbFQLrjn pic.twitter.com/YpIeoEW67R
Eyes On The Prize
Head Coach Rory Dames mentioned in a draft day scrum that he had previously had Rachel Hill on his radar dating back into last season. Hill has had experience playing with a number of Red Stars players at the time while in W-League in Australia. Hill brings another forward option for the Red Stars, and it allowed them to navigate the 2020 draft a bit differently as the first round selections were heavily attack and striker oriented.
As part of the prior Ohai trade with Houston Dash earlier in the offseason, Chicago dealt away long time Red Star and center back Katie Naughton. The upcoming season has an Olympics this summer that holds the possibility that Chicago could be missing three of their defensive starters, along with the departure of Naughton.
Selections in Biegalski, Bingham, Morse, and Chavarin could help in defensive areas at the outside back and center mid positions. While Stevens is another forward looking to compete in this new era of platoon forwards for Chicago.
The Red Stars welcome new prospects as preseason inches closer, and have questions around what their newly acquired allocation money will be going towards as we also have learned that allocation money is not required to be used specifically for player signings. Instead, it can be accrued, and traded in the future.