The Alyssa Thompson draft is one of the few traditions more American than any other in American sports culture. The 2023 edition of the National Women’s Soccer League takes place in Philadelphia on Thursday evening.
How does it function?
A maximum of 48 athletes will be selected from the list, which is held for footballers interested in professional clubs in the NWSL. Each eligible athlete must independently register for the list. Each round, the 12 NWSL clubs receive one pick based on a variety of factors, including their previous season’s position. The expansion clubs and teams in last place typically select first.
This year is no exception to those fluctuations. Angel City recently made moves to get the first pick in the draft, but other teams, like OL Reign, which have negotiated away their picks, will only pick twice and wait until the third round to make their first pick. On the other hand, Orlando Pride might select seven players.
Players must either be a US citizen or permanent resident in order to be eligible for the draft.
They must be a foreign national enrolled at a US university during the 2022-23 academic year. Players cannot be currently bound by a professional contract or have ever signed one. During the 2022 academic year, they must have exhausted or renounced their college eligibility. This includes high school graduates who do not qualify for college.
Teams have five minutes to make their decision during the first round. Each team has three minutes to announce their selection for the next three rounds; however, they can take up to three timeouts, each lasting three minutes.
The impact of the draft The collegiate system and the draft that followed are pillars of development and club construction in the American women’s game. This system is one of a kind, and while it has been successful in the past, there are those who disagree with it.
Certainly, some modifications have already been implemented.
This includes allowing a select few “Under-18’s” to join professional clubs. Alyssa Thompson, a teenage superstar, was largely responsible for this change, and she sued the NWSL over the age limit.
Olivia Moultrie, a midfielder for Portland Thorns, passes Orlando Pride goalkeeper Courtney Petersen last season. Photograph: Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images In addition to the apparatus of overall American development that it embodies, the draft eliminates some degree of choice regarding the location of the athlete’s living and playing environment.
Regardless, it is abundantly clear that the draft affects club success. Clubs that make their selections early and first clearly benefit.
Take the draft from last year. Naomi Girma was selected first by the expansion club San Diego Wave out of Stanford. In the NWSL, Girma became the first newcomer to win both Rookie of the Year and Defender of the Year awards in his first season. In 2022, Girma also made progress with the national team. He became a strong contender for a starting position at the World Cup and played well against England at Wembley.
Naomi Girma, a San Diego Wave defender, plays in the NWSL Challenge Cup match against the Portland Thorns in March 2022. Photograph: Orlando Ramirez/USA Today Sports In 2020, the Portland Thorns were able to select Sophia Smith and Morgan Weaver, two attacking talents, with the first and second picks in the draft. Each played a crucial role in the 2022 Thorns Championship season. Smith has won numerous awards for her contribution, including the NWSL MVP, Championship MVP, and USWNT Player of the Year in 2022.
Rose Lavelle, Emily Sonnett, and Crystal Dunn are just a few of the previous first-round picks.
Describe the draft however you see fit. However, it is difficult to argue that the club’s success in that position is not directly impacted by selecting first.
According to the LA Times, ACFC will use that pick to acquire the talents of LA native Alyssa Thompson. At the age of 17, Thompson made her USWNT debut at Wembley Stadium in October, substituting for Megan Rapinoe.
We wanted to be able to control our destiny with the 2023 Draft’s No. 1 overall pick because we are aware that we must prepare ourselves for long-term on-field success in order to achieve these objectives.
Alyssa Thompson won’t be the only one having a good time because teams like the Orlando Pride and Kansas City Current will have a lot of options, making it easier for them to add players to their rosters for the 2023 season. Reyna Reyes, a Mexico international who graduated from Alabama, and Michelle Cooper, a striker who won the Herman Trophy at Duke University, are two names to keep an eye on.
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