Four of the draft hopefuls are recent graduates from the University of Minnesota: Rashida Beal, Tarah Hobbs, Simone Kolander, and Josee Stiever. Each possess qualities to attract an NWSL coaching staff. Beal was a crucial part of the Gophers’ defense. Regularly logging 180 minutes per weekend (unusual given NCAA substitution rules), she demonstrated her fitness and stamina. Goalkeeper Hobbs is a record breaker. She tallied 11 shut-outs this year and currently holds the program’s career record of 33. Forward Kolander has little shelf room left for more awards and honors. She found the back of the net 11 times this season and lead the Gophers in the rankings at No. 20. Stiever, a determined attacking midfielder, made her mark connecting with teammates for game-winning goals. All four seniors graduated in December, a semester early.
The fifth player in the draft pool is St. Paul native Amy Yang. The Harding graduate started in all 19 games this season for North Dakota State University. She was named to the first team All-Summit League as a midfielder.
You can watch the 2017 NWSL Draft and learn the players’ fates starting at 2 p.m., CST this Thursday, January 12. It will be streamed live on both Facebook (Facebook.com/NWSL) and YouTube (YouTube.com/NWSL). The full list of eligible players includes two women — Jane Campbell and Rose Lavelle — recently called up to Jill Ellis’s USWNT January training camp. The draft order is based on 2016 team performance.