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KC NWSL ready for first draft

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“We hope to find an immediate impact player in the second round but realistically we are looking for someone that will help out team.”

2020 NWSL Draft Photo by Jose Argueta/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Kansas City NWSL is ready for their first NWSL Draft. Well as ready as any team that has only been in existence for a few weeks. While head coach Huw Williams was named in the initial announcement, he has had to quickly put together a staff to be ready for the draft and the opening of training camp in a couple weeks.

Williams is not only dealing with the rapid pace of putting together the staff, he has also been researching and preparing for the 2021 NWSL Draft. Previous experience in the draft is obviously helpful but this year the draft is additionally complicated by the pandemic. Not that everything isn’t a little more complicated by the pandemic, but a number of women’s soccer conferences did not play in the fall. The ones that did play were not under normal conditions.

The NCAA made some concessions for this year. Players could register for the draft and not lose eligibility to play this spring. Players that did not register for the draft can still play next year since the NCAA ruled that the 2020-21 seasons would not use a year of college eligibility.

The NWSL is allowing teams to select players that have not registered for the draft but not players that have already signed with foreign teams like Stanford’s Catarina Macario. She would have likely been the number one pick but she just agreed to a contract with Lyon in France. A few other players have signed or may be signing prior to the draft as well.

The list

With so many unknowns, Williams and his counterparts around the league will have their work cut out for them. While Kansas City is technically an expansion team, they inherited the player rights and prior trade agreements from Utah when they ceased operations. This leaves Kansas City with just five picks, three in the second round and two in the fourth round.

To prepare their draft list, Williams put together a list of approximately 50 players and gave it to each member of his staff. The staff then ranked the players and returned them. Williams assigned point values, collated, added totals, sorted and then tweaked the list master list.

“We have players ranked,” Williams explained. “Then we have a mock draft how we think the selections will go and then a timeline when we think the players will be available. Some are available immediately, some after the spring season and some are available January of 2022.”

“Whomever is the highest on the list will be picked and then the next highest and so on,” Williams continued. “The exception is if they are all at the same position, we will have to start thinking a little more tactically as we go through the draft.

Williams will be looking to add players across the field but will be drafting best available without taking too many in one position. If possible, Kansas City would like to make a move into the first round but “It’s got to be right. We are not going to sacrifice the future to get in the first round,” Williams stated.

As the GM for FC Kansas City, Williams and Vlatko Andonovski were able to find players in the second round each year that contributed to their success. Katie Bowen was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft with the 16th overall pick. Bowen became a regular starter for FC Kansas City, went to Utah when the franchise moved and is now back in Kansas City.

“We hope to find an immediate impact player in the second round but realistically we are looking for someone that will help out team. Whether that is coming off the bench or whether that is starting, whatever role that player may have, it’s someone that will help our team,” Williams stated.

The 2021 draft will be streamed on the NWSL Twitch stream at 6 PM CT.

ROUND 1

1 Racing Louisville FC

2 Washington Spirit

3 Sky Blue FC

4 Sky Blue FC

5 Racing Louisville FC

6 Chicago Red Stars1

7 Portland Thorns FC

8 Sky Blue FC

9 Orlando Pride

10 North Carolina Courage

ROUND 2

11 Racing Louisville FC

12 Portland Thorns FC

13 Sky Blue FC

14 Orlando Pride 4

15 Kansas City

16 Kansas City

17 Kansas City

18 Orlando Pride3,4

19 Washington Spirit

20 North Carolina Courage

ROUND 3

21 Racing Louisville FC

22 Portland Thorns FC

23 Sky Blue FC

24 Orlando Pride

25 Chicago Red Stars

26 Houston Dash

27 Houston Dash

28 OL Reign

29 Washington Spirit

30 North Carolina Courage

ROUND 4

31 Racing Lousiville FC

32 Portland Thorns FC

33 Sky Blue FC

34 Orlando Pride

35 Chicago Red Stars

36 Kansas City

37 Portland Thorns FC

38 Kansas City

39 Washington Spirit

40 Sky Blue FC2

1 Under the terms of a June 16, 2018 trade, Chicago acquires Kansas City’s 2021 natural first round pick

2 Under the terms of a January 10, 2020 trade, Sky Blue FC receives NC Courage’s natural fourth round selection in the 2021 NWSL Draft

3 Under the terms of a January 21, 2020 trade, Orlando acquires OL Reign’s 2021 natural second round pick

4 Under the terms of a June 21, 2020 trade, Chicago receives Orlando’s lowest second round pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft