JJ Duke takes a look at what the Portland Thorns FC might (and should) do in the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft. Deep and talented, the Thorns could use a right back and cover for departures during this summer’s Euro Championship.
14, 20, 27, 40
Kat Williamson (retired)
Jen Skogerboe (waived)
Possible Draft Day Activity Level
I said it a couple of years ago that it would be a great idea to get a pedometer on Mark Parsons for Draft Day and see what magical numbers it spits back out. That man will cover every inch of the draft room at least twice, probably three times on the day, and he will make things happen for the Thorns.
What the Thorns Need
The scary thing is the Thorns don’t need much to fill out their roster. They are as deep as you can get at every position but with that being said, they will get hit the hardest once the Euros begin. I would anticipate Dagný Brynjarsdóttir (Iceland), Amandine Henry (France), and Nadia Nadim (Denmark) to depart for national team duty during and I would imagine Parsons electing to fill those roles via this year’s draft.
However, it looks like there is only one full-time spot available on the Thorns roster right now. So either he will have to convince a couple of these draft picks to stay around as practice players or he will be moving some more pieces prior to Opening Day. But drafting midfielders will be a necessity here and maybe adding depth in defense as a secondary goal.
At No. 14 overall, Rachel Hill from UConn should be available to help create from an attacking position. Also, Florida’s Meggie Dougherty-Howard will be a solid choice at that time and Dougherty-Howard will be coming into the draft week participating in the U.S. U-23 camp. And after a strong career pulling the strings for Becky Burleigh down in Gainesville, she could fill in for Henry during the Euros and compete for minutes in the early part of the season as well.
In defense, Virginia’s Kristen McNabb would be a steal for the Thorns later in the third round if available and would reunite her with Emily Sonnett in the back.