posted 03/07/14 at 3:29am
on USWNT: USA Draws With Japan in Algarve Opener
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Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 10:17am EST
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The bulk of the U.S. U20 World Cup winning squad forms the backbone of a potential golden generation of draftees in 2014. Crystal Dunn is obviously the crown jewel and a near lock to go #1, but there’s plenty of heft behind her including speedy forwards Maya Hayes and Kealia Ohai, along with a glut of target forwards. There are also full-back, defensive midfielder, and scoring midfielder prospects galore, but center-back and goalkeeper depth suffer a bit, while there don’t appear to be any true top-flight playmakers on the board either. With plenty of sleepers and gambles to be made on prospects that don’t fit prototypical size or have checkered injury histories as well, there should be plenty of intrigues in later rounds as well. If that wasn’t enough, there are numerous Canadian and Mexican prospects vying for federation funded spots from this class as well. It all adds up to what could be one of the best draft classes in the history of women’s professional soccer leagues in this country.
So how did I come up with these rankings?
-First of all, this isn’t a “who had the best season” board. It’s a projection of where I’d rank these players if I were a GM drafting as of today, based on my perceived professional potential.
-Size matters, at some positions much more than others. Specifically, you aren’t going to find too many short goalkeepers, center-backs, and to a lesser extent, defensive midfielders at this level.
-Injury history matters. All the talent in the world doesn’t count for much if you can’t stay on the pitch.
-Players listed at where they project at professional level, but I do make note of other possibilities throughout.
1. Crystal Dunn – D – North Carolina
Who were you expecting at #1? Quite frankly, one of the best players at collegiate level in a decade and what seems like a mortal lock to be taken first in the 2014 NWSL Draft. A shining star for the U.S. at full-back in the U20 World Cup and the driving force behind North Carolina’s national title run this college season. Capable of playing just about anywhere and did so with UNC this year but seems best fit for full-back at the next level. Tremendous pace with the ball at her feet and a dazzling dribbler who finishes as coolly as the best forwards in this class. Potentially a once in a generation player.
2. Maya Hayes – F – Penn State
Was disappointing as a rookie at PSU in 2010 but then went nuts in 2011 with one of the finest seasons in recent memory, scoring a shocking thirty-one goals for the Nittany Lions’ explosive attack. Was also the main scoring threat for the U.S. in Japan during their successful U20 World Cup campaign. Needed just twenty games to score sixteen more goals this past season and could approach thirty goals again as a senior. First step and acceleration are frighteningly quick, though her whisper-thin frame could see her slowed down against hulking center-backs.
3. Kealia Ohai – F – North Carolina
One-time elite recruit flying high again after a terrific season that saw her score the winner in the U20 World Cup final against Germany while also nabbing North Carolina’s opener in the College Cup final against Penn State. Freshman phenom rebounded in a nice way after a disappointing sophomore season in Chapel Hill. A lightning bolt either spearheading the line or operating down the flank, the Utah native could be in line for her best season at the college level playing with a stacked group of teammates for her senior campaign.
4. Kendall Johnson – D – Portland
Long heralded as the USWNT’s left-back of the future, that trek became a bit derailed in 2011, as Johnson dealt with an ACL injury that cost her the entire season. Any doubts over her health were seemingly put to rest in 2012 though, as Johnson enjoyed a banner season for the rebounding Pilots. Deadly going up the flanks, Johnson enjoyed her best offensive season at the college level, with three goals and five assists for the club while also winning WCC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Given the importance of attacking full-backs in the modern game and her undeniable talent, Johnson looks a good bet for the first round in 2014.
5. Julie Johnston – D/M – Santa Clara
Captain of U20 World Cup winning U.S. side this past Fall also has a bright future at professional level in all likelihood after star turn in Japan. Bronze Ball winner in that competition after a successful move to center-back, but her future may lay in midfield given her attacking talent after seventeen goals in two seasons. Has also moonlighted as a forward at college level, but given attacking options elsewhere at SCU in 2013, a more withdrawn role seems likely as a senior. A ferocious competitor in the air, whose versatility should be a big plus as she cuts her teeth as a pro.
6. Emily Oliver – GK – Stanford
Few in recent memory steadier in goal than Stanford’s rock solid junior, who made a big name for herself at this level as a rookie after keeping the College Cup final match against Notre Dame respectable with a string of spectacular saves. Has been an elite last line of defense since, handling anything getting through the Card’s lock tight rearguard with aplomb. More steady than spectacular in between the pipes a lot of the time, but that’s hardly a negative given volatility at the position at this level. Biggest worry may be injuries, as she’s missed multiple games in her past two seasons, so staying healthy in 2013 could be key to her hopes of being first keeper taken.
7. Aubrey Bledsoe – GK – Wake Forest
One half of a duo, along with Katie Stengel, that has turned Wake from ACC also-rans to prime contenders. Made a big name for herself by saving three penalties against Maryland in an ACC Tournament game as a rookie in 2010 and has gone on to greater heights as one of the nation’s elite since. U23 international one of many jockeying for potential position between the pipes at senior level. Great shot stopper and skilled penalty stopper but still prone to occasional odd gaffe, as could be seen at 2011 College Cup. Still an elite keeper though, who should only get better with experience.
8. Vanessa DiBernardo – M – Illinois
Illini’s midfield ace comes from a good pedigree with legendary father Angelo, but DiBernardo has gone a long way in carving out a path of her own with three special years for the Big Ten side. Scored at will for two seasons after entering college, including a stunning seventeen goals as a sophomore in 2011, but dropped to just eight goals in a U20 World Cup abbreviated campaign. Much more of a trequartista type attacking midfielder than pure playmaker, as her goal-assist ratio shows. Possesses a lethal shot from range.
9. Katie Stengel – F – Wake Forest
In the year of the target forward, Stengel might be tops, as the rampaging Demon Deacon has been an integral part of guiding her team up the ACC table in recent seasons. Carving up teams with power and a deceptive amount of pace, Stengel has lit teams up in the college ranks with ease. Was a little quiet in the U20 World Cup, which may have caused her stock to dip a bit, but another big year in college could propel her into the first round of this draft.
10. Morgan Marlborough – F – Santa Clara
Oh, what could have been. If only Marlborough had been eligible this season, she would’ve been in the 2013 class that is almost utterly devoid of top class target forwards and a likely first or second round pick. Instead, she’s got to knock off a year of rust while battling against other big forwards like Stengel, Ezurike, and Wann to name just a few. She’s still got a great shot at being an early round pick though, as she’s scored goals by the bucket at Nebraska and is damn near impossible to knock off the ball once she starts moving forward with it. Nice touch for a player her size as well and is a danger delivering free kicks.
11. Nkem Ezurike – F – Michigan
Big, bad battering ram seems like a natural heiress apparent to Christine Sinclair’s throne as Canadian scoring talisman at senior international level. The hulking target forward was a terror in the Big Ten from the off, as she scored twenty goals in her first two years in Ann Arbor but outdid herself in 2012, with fifteen goals despite missing four matches while at the U20 World Cup. Has curbed aggressive streak that saw her booked eleven times in first two seasons but still a physical force that’s difficult to contain for any defense.
12. Mandy Laddish – M – Notre Dame
Little left for Lee’s Summit native to win after hauling home a national title as a rookie in South Bend before bringing back a winner’s medal from the U20 World Cup this past Fall. A jack of all trades in the middle of the park, Laddish has featured in both attacking and defensive roles in midfield thus far. Eleven assists in two seasons shows her creativity, and she packs a laser of a shot from range despite few goals at this level.
13. Christabel Oduro – F/M – Memphis
One of the great young hopes for Canada in the coming years, Oduro has been one of the nation’s most exciting players the past few seasons in Memphis. After a promising rookie season, Oduro exploded for sixteen goals and seven assists as a sophomore before netting thirteen goals and eight assists in just seventeen games in a season where she missed early action on international duty. Seems a mortal lock for a federation funded spot and could be one of Canada’s most exciting attacking players for the future.
14. Natasha Anasi – D/M – Duke
Began Duke career as a reserve midfielder but was moved to center-back in 2011 after injuries hit. It was about a perfect fit as you could imagine, as Anasi won ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors, a massive achievement in such a competitive league. Toiled under the weight of having to carry a suddenly wobbly rearguard though and will be hoping for better in 2013. Borderline size-wise for a center-back at this level at 5’6″, so a move back into a midfield destroyer role could be in order.
15. Cloee Colohan – M – BYU
Tough tackling Utah native can do a job in either the center of defense or in a defensive midfield role, where she performed so ably at BYU last season in her first season since transferring from Portland. Struggled with injuries a little earlier in her career but seemingly healthy now and was a force for the Cougars in 2012. Possesses a hammer of a shot from range and scored a handful of goals as a junior.
16. Michelle Pao – D – Pepperdine
Marauding full-back has been a big part of the recent revolution in Malibu and looks a likely candidate to continue with her surging runs up the flank at the next level. Also more than capable as an attacker, but her skill as an adventurous full-back is likely what will get her noticed by professional scouts. Nine assists showed her passing ability, but the junior also possesses a lethal touch from range and on set pieces only heightening her value.
17. Lindsay Elston – M – Washington
Huskies’ midfield dynamo looked like a Hermann Trophy contender early in 2012 with six goals and four assists in eight games early but tailed off a bit late. Still managed eleven goals to go with five assists, having scored eight in two seasons combined before. UW attack was extraordinarily reliant on her last season, as she led the club in goals, assists, and shots, meaning she could have a huge year if the Huskies find some offensive help in 2013.
18. Kassey Kallman – D – Florida State
U20 World Cup winning center-back for the U.S. was also at the heart of one of the nation’s stingiest defenses for the Seminoles. Has been a three-year starter in Tallahassee, with size making her an effective target in the air with eight goals in three seasons with the club. Seeming dearth of top-flight center back prospects in this class could make her a hot commodity.
19. Nicholette DiGiacomo – M – Denver
One of the nation’s top duel threat midfielders first came onto the scene with fifteen assists as a rookie and hasn’t looked back since. Hat trick in second round of NCAA Tournament in comeback win over Maryland may have been one of the great individual performances in the competition in recent memory. Could post enormous numbers with DU’s move to tepid Summit League in 2013.
20. Becca Wann – F – Richmond
Raw, imposing figure is one of this class’ most intriguing prospects after a meteoric rise up the ranks for the Spiders. Two-sport athlete also plays for Richmond’s basketball team, making it even more stunning that she’s been as effective as she has been given her training time constraints. As you might expect, a force in the air, and scored twenty-five goals in first two seasons with the club but dropped to seven in eleven games this year after international duty. Needs patience from a drafting club but could turn out to be a gem.
21. Jonelle Filigno – F – Rutgers
Already a frequent figure for the full Canadian WNT, Filigno has tended to feature better for country than club over these past few seasons. After missing one and a half seasons in her first three years at Rutgers with knee and Achilles’ injuries, finally stayed healthy in 2012 and reaped the rewards with fifteen goals in a breakout season. Needs to stay healthy and needs better support from teammates but has an inside track towards a federation funded spot in the league.
22. Annie Steinlage – D – Virginia
Center-back is taking a risk by transferring from Michigan State to Virginia, but Steinlage’s shown very well as one of the Big Ten’s premier defenders thus far. A towering figure in central defense who proved capable offensively as well last year, with three goals and five assists, good enough for second in points on the team. Jumping into a talented pool, but if she adapts quickly to her new surroundings, could easily end up a middle round pick.
23. Rafaelle Souza – D/F – Ole Miss
Brazilian international (now there’s something you don’t hear in the college ranks every day) was a shock signing for the SEC club before 2011 and has more than lived up to her reputation, emerging as one of the league’s deadliest attackers. A full-back for her country, Souza’s too valuable in attack to be left in defense for the Rebels and has displayed a prowess on dead ball situations that makes her a threat from anywhere inside the halfway line. Will be in demand somewhere if not in the NWSL if her ankles survive another SEC season.
24. Courtney Verloo – F/D – Stanford
One of Stanford’s pre-eminent problem solvers for the better part of the past few seasons, Verloo’s bounced between attack and defense throughout her career on The Farm. After filling in at center-back in 2010, missed all of 2011 through injury, raising questions as to her form in 2012, but returned to great acclaim as one of the club’s key forwards. Great passer (as you might expect on this club) and solid finisher but remains to be seen where she plays as a senior with Card losing a plethora of defensive talent to graduation. Versatility could be big asset on draft day.
25. Kelsey Wys – GK – Florida State
Looks destined to be one of the more polarizing figures of this draft class. Capable of making the spectacular look mundane in goal for the Seminoles but has yet to truly convince on the biggest stage having had two poor games in College Cup semi-finals the past two seasons. A fantastic penalty stopper. No shortage of upside but will need patience and good coaching at the next level to truly reach potential.
26. Laura Weinberg – F – Duke
Third banana in the Duke frontline no more, Weinberg rose to the top of the ticket after a sublime junior season for the ACC club. Fitfully inconsistent at times for two seasons, Weinberg rounded into a premier predator for the Blue Devils with sixteen goals and twelve assists. Capable out wide in a 4-3-3 or spearheading the line, Weinberg has to deal with a crowded frontline at Duke but could rise further up these rankings with another big season.
27. Hayley Brock – F – Maryland
Came of age in a major way in an explosive 2012 campaign for the Terps. Began career with Penn State after a highly regarded prep career but ended up transferring to Maryland after just one season but was mostly a super sub in 2011. Stuck in the starting lineup for good though as a junior, netting thirteen goals, including seven in the league despite missing a match. Could be in line for a colossal senior season with youthful core around her gelling.
28. Rachel Lenz – D – Texas A&M
Last ditch defender extraordinaire for the Aggies helped propel the club to fifteen clean sheets as a junior in 2012. A&M center-back was unfathomably overlooked by SEC in their postseason awards this season but was unequivocally one of the league’s top defenders and can do a job either centrally or out wide with her combination of size, strength, and pace.
29. Erica Owens – GK – BYU
Went from obscurity as an unknown backup in Provo to one of the nation’s elite goalkeepers with one superb season. Backstopped BYU’s smothering defense and kept her club in big matches with steady hands and spectacular saves. Shows no shortage of confidence in goal and can make all the tough saves, though decision making at times was reflective of a first-year starter. Proving 2012 wasn’t a fluke could see her rise into the middle rounds as a prospect.
30. Shelina Zadorsky – D – Michigan
Canadian U20 captain was recently called up to full national team for the Four Nations Tournament in China as a part of John Herdman’s youthful revolution ahead of the 2015 World Cup. A starter from day one in Ann Arbor for Michigan, Zadorsky has become a key in the heart of defense for Greg Ryan’s stingy unit. Likely to be selected for a federation funded spot in the NWSL.
31. Maegan Kelly – F/M – Marquette
Younger sister of former Golden Eagles star Katie Kelly has continued in her footsteps as a star for the Milwaukee club. Quick attacker went from super sub as a rookie to offensive dynamo as a sophomore with fourteen goals and twelve assists. Goal output dipped to eight goals as a junior, but Kelly still netted thirteen assists, likely cementing her place as one of this class’ best passing forwards.
32. Kristen Hamilton – F – Denver
Hat trick for Pioneers against Portland in 2012 turned many a head, and the Littleton native has a brilliant thirty-seven goals and twenty-four assists to her name through three years. Will be aiming for third player of the year award in third different conference in 2013 and could reach twenty goals or more against overmatched Summit League defenses.
33. Haley Palmer – D – San Diego State
Has been the heart of the SDSU defense since her freshman year in 2010 and was the core of the backline that stifled many an opponent in 2012. Reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year has the size and strength to push for a spot at the next level and could inch her way up the board further with another strong season for the Aztecs.
34. Marissa Diggs – D – UCF
A dominant defender for a traditionally stingy UCF defense. Raked in all the major individual awards for UCF as a junior, helping lead the club to fifteen clean sheets. Tenacious lockdown artist who has plenty of power and pace to work with to shut down opposing forwards. Not as well known as some of the above, but could easily end up being one of this class’ best players.
35. Mollie Pathman – D/F – Duke
U20 World Cup winning left-back for the U.S. this past Fall in Japan certainly doesn’t lack for attacking instincts having also played forward collegiately, but questions remain over her pace at the next level. Juggled between defense and attack at Duke this past season but looks likelier to end up at the former in 2013 given club’s defensive losses. Serves a great ball in from the flanks.
36. Amanda Frisbie – F – Portland
Carved a serious path up this board with a brilliant junior campaign in lieu of the injured Micaela Capelle up front for the Pilots. Had combined for eleven goals in two seasons, mostly as a reserve, but exploded for twelve goals and nine assists in 2012, including five and four in the league. Capelle’s return could cut into her numbers…or open her up for an even bigger season.
37. Jenna Richardson – F – Oregon State
One half of Oregon State’s Canadian striking duo, Richardson boasts no small degree of pace, though her finishing has been erratic at times. Hasn’t cracked ten goals in any of her three collegiate seasons yet, though that mark likely would have fallen in 2012 had she not been on international duty. Ironically, could be battling teammate Buckland for federation funded spot in NWSL.
38. Jordan Marada – M/F – USC
Was one of the WCC’s best for two seasons at Saint Mary’s (CA) but decided to make an ambitious move to USC following 2011. Had delivered twelve assists as a sophomore for the Gaels and scored sixteen goals in two years in Moraga but saw her numbers dip with just five of each as a junior in Los Angeles. A more settled Marada could reap dividends as a senior, and she’ll have to if she wants to climb this board.
39. Charlyn Corral – M/F – Louisville
One-time young prodigy for Mexico settled in at college level nicely after appearing in a whopping three U20 World Cups for El Tri. Also capped at senior level over twenty times and could be playing for a federation funded spot in the NWSL. Did a lot of work up front for Mexico but settled in nicely in midfield at Lousiville and is a legitimate threat for double digits in goals and assists in 2013.
40. Kim DeCesare – F – Duke
Opportunity knocked, and DeCesare answered in a big way in 2012, making the most of her chance with Mollie Pathman and Kelly Cobb sidelined with international duty, injury, and a positional switch among other things. A dangerous target forward up front, DeCesare face stiff competition with the draft board loaded with such players in this class, but another sixteen goal season would see her climb the board even further.
41. Chelsea Buckland – F – Oregon State
Senior looked all set for a stern challenge for a roster spot on Canada’s Olympic team but tore her ACL in a training camp, shuttering those hopes and hopes she would have had of a likely federation funded spot in the NWSL this upcoming season. Would’ve likely been a mid-round pick this draft and can climb up this board if she shows she’s healthy again in 2013.
42. Christine Exeter – F – Louisville
Stock effectively went tumbling after a poor collegiate campaign after returning from Japan and the U20 World Cup, no doubt not helped at all by injuries. Fourteen goal form of sophomore season was nowhere to be found, as she netted just once. With a funding spot from Canada in the NWSL likely on the in 2013, pressure will surely be on for improvement.
43. Rachael Doyle – D – Washington State
Aussie has been one of the Pac-12′s best kept secrets for a few years now but is finally getting some well deserved recognition with another stellar season in Pullman. Used to ply her trade for Central Coast Mariners in the W-League and actually earned a full national team debut in an Olympic qualifier ages ago. Faces uphill battle in U.S. due to international player limits but should catch on somewhere.
44. Kelly Conheeney – M – Virginia Tech
The greatest Hokie of them all likely would have been a mid-round pick in this year’s NWSL Draft but was struck down with concussion issues early in 2012 and will likely return after taking a medical redshirt for her injury hit season. Had broken program’s record for points and game-winning goals after just three seasons, a staggering thought considering she’s not a forward. Could rise up the board again if she proves she’s healthy in 2013.
45. Jenna Richmond – M – UCLA
The least heralded of UCLA’s uber-talented midfield but still a player of immense quality for the Bruins. U20 international has eighteen assists in three years, including seven the past two seasons, though she didn’t score as a junior. Knee injuries a worry, as she’s suffered a pair of torn ACLs in the past.
46. Kaitlyn Kerr – M – Duke
It’s the knee, of course. Kerr’s left knee to be specific, which sports a gigantic brace after countless surgeries and procedures that have kept her off the practice field for much of her Durham tenure. She’s a dynamo on the pitch who’s fearless in the air and often saves her best for big games though, meaning she should get a shot if her knee holds up.
47. Emi Lawson – D – Cal
An excellent blend of power and pace from the center of defense, Lawson has headed up one of the Pac-12′s better defensive units in recent years. Three-year starter has been a fulcrum at center-back for three seasons but is also capable going forward, as two goals and four assists this year show.
48. Frances Silva – F – West Virginia
Talented but mercurial forward has helped lead a potent West Virginia attack these past few seasons. After modest returns in rookie season has combined with Kate Schwindel to form a deadly duo in attack for the Mountaineers but was wildly inconsistent last season, with nine of eleven goals coming in a seven game span.
49. Alyssa Diggs – F – Missouri
High workrate energizer bunny in attack has seen her production in front of goal double all three seasons in Columbia. Eight goals this season might seem modest, but she was hobbled by a hamstring injury mid-season, missing a handful of games and needing time to get back into the swing of things. A healthy, productive senior season could see her rocket up the board.
50. Emily Menges – D – Georgetown
Lynchpin of the Hoya defense has pace to spare and has been a key back for the Big East side as a three-year starter since stepping onto campus. Not a big threat for scoring but will still be a prime contender for Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
51. Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick – M – Cal
Few probably happier to see emergence of Ifeoma Onumonu in Cal attack than Fitzpatrick, who has a top flight forward to work with now. Assist total may have dropped off but scored a career high five goals as she helped pull the strings in midfield for the Golden Bears.
52. Micaela Capelle – F – Portland
Junior season was basically a washout due to injuries that forced her to miss the entire WCC campaign for Portland. Was in decent form with four goals before then but has never really rounded into a prolific scorer at this level, meaning 2013′s a critical season for her draft stock.
53. Taylor Schram – F/M – Penn State
Back to Earth in 2012 a bit after an explosive twelve goal, twelve assist sophomore campaign. Missed chunk of this season after concussion issues and while away on international duty with U.S. U20s. Faces plenty of competition in attack on stacked Penn State offense, and finding a steady role as a senior could be key.
54. Chelsea Stewart – D/M – UCLA
One-time Canadian wunderkind has endured a topsy-turvy college career first at Vanderbilt and now at UCLA. Was thought to be one of the final pieces to the puzzle in Westwood after transfer in 2011 but has been overshadowed by her talented teammates, including sliding down the pecking order late in 2012. Forcing her way back into first team critical for her draft stock.
55. Adriana Leon – F – Florida
L’enfant Terrible of this class both frustrates and captivates, often in the same game. Possesses no small degree of talent on the pitch and can make the marvelous look mundane but also possesses an individualistic streak that can drive coaches crazy. For all her talent, Canadian still hasn’t scored more than six goals in a collegiate season.
56. Tatiana Ariza – F – Austin Peay
Colombian international has already proven to be a fixture for her country at both youth and full international level. Has dominated OVC competition through three seasons with thirty-nine goals and twenty assists but future may lie in midfield or defense. Excellent penalty taker, with 7-for-7 record in college.
57. Juliana Libertin – M – Dayton
Gifted as a creator and finisher, as is the case with most of Dayton’s attacking weapons, Libertin’s been flying since a big breakthrough as a sophomore. Tallied double figures in goals and assists for second year running in 2012 and may need to shoulder scoring burden more as a senior without Colleen Williams.
58. Molly McGuigan – D – Army
Army commitment makes her the longest of longshots, but there’s no doubting the quality of one of the Black Knights’ best players in some time. Two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year has headed up a traditionally stingy defense in West Point.
59. Kaitlin Brenn – F – Georgetown
Key reserve for two seasons was little factor in front of goal as a sophomore but really burst into life after winning a starting spot last year. Burly target forward has a nice passing touch as well, with ten assists for the Hoyas in 2012.
60. Rachel Nuzzloese – F – Wake Forest
The lesser heralded half of Wake’s dynamic scoring duo has been plagued by the injury bug for much of her college career. Had looked to have made a great comeback in 2011 but struggled for fitness in 2012, with just five goals and twelve starts meaning she faces a crunch senior season.
61. Jazmin Ponce – F – Arizona
Once highly touted recruit hadn’t done much in Tucson before a breakout junior campaign. Netted eight goals and two assists in 2012, including four in the difficult Pac-12. Needs to keep growing to maintain this spot.
62. Ari Romero – D – Nebraska
Yet another burgeoning young talent coming through the pipeline for Mexico. Already vastly experienced at international level, has tried to help plug a traditionally leaky defense in Lincoln. Plays in center for Nebraska but lack of size will likely force her out wide at next level.
63. Kecia Morway – D – Colorado College
Full-back proved there was life after Notre Dame after a solid junior season for the Conference USA contenders. Capable on either flank, which should do her chances of sticking no harm.
64. Jami Kranich – GK – Villanova
U.S. U20s’ #3 has been buried on some very bad Villanova teams the past three seasons. Lack of depth in goalkeeping ranks this class works to her benefit though, and a big senior season could see her shoot up the rankings.
65. Caroline Kastor – F – Kansas
Breakout season in front of goal with offense leaning on her following absence of Ingrid Vidal. Best could be yet to come with Vidal’s return likely to free her up from opposing pressure.
66. Micaela Castain – M/F – Washington State
Endured injury blighted 2011 but bounced back in some fashion as a junior. Eleven goals was a fine haul in the tough Pac-12, with five game winners leading the Cougars.
67. Dominique Richardson – M – Missouri
Livewire defensive midfielder a key part in keeping Tiger attack ticking over. Usually good for a handful of goals a season at this level.
68. Renee Washington – M – La Salle
A clutch scorer for the surging Explorers, having netted fifteen in three seasons despite not being an out and out striker. Goals went down as a junior but compensated with more assists.
69. Danica Wu – M – Ohio State
Size is the main worry with Wu. 5’2″ defensive midfielders aren’t too common in the professional game, but Wu’s worth was shown when OSU struggled after she went down with a late season injury.
70. Rachel Manning – M – BYU
“The Magnet”‘s a simple player, a defensive midfielder who finds the ball on the ground and wins it. Might not be dynamic enough to stick but has a chance.
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