December 2, 2011; Kennesaw, GA, USA; Florida State Seminoles player Tiffany McCarty (14) battles for the ball with Stanford Cardinals player Mariah Nogueira (20) during the first half of a game at KSC Soccer Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Inaugural NWSL Draft Complete: Bywaters, U of Florida Lead the Way

A day after the MLS draft, the new National Women’s Soccer League held their first draft at the National Soccer Coaches Association of American Convention in Indianapolis.  The Chicago Red Stars had the number one pick followed the Washington Spirit.  The first round included two forwards, two midfielders, two defensive players, one goalkeeper, and a versatile midfielder/defensive woman taken.  The players drafted today will help to fill out rosters following allocation of national team players from the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  

The first overall pick was forward Zakiya Bywaters from UCLA.  She joins Chicago after winning the Pac-12 Player of the Year award.  Bywaters is a 5’1″ attacker that featured on the 2010 U-20 championship squad.  She collected 15 goals, 34 points, and six game winners, which led the Pac-12 in all categories.  It was a breakout year for the Las Vegas native that total 67 points over her four years with UCLA.  Bywaters is just happy to be wanted.

I didn’t have a preference. I just wanted to be in an environment in which the team wanted me to be there and I think I’ll thrive with being wanted and being in an environment where everyone is helping me out so I can become a better soccer player.

The Washington Spirit followed by picking Tiffany McCarty from Florida State.  McCarty scored 17 goals for the Seminoles in 2012.  McCarty has a few books full of accolades including being named to the ESPN All Decade team in 2009.  She has participated in many youth camps for the U.S. team and did not let an injury in 2010 slow her down.  In her four active years with FSU she totaled 63 goals.  The Spirit have to be excited to see McCarty work with Diana Matheson.  McCarty was following the draft on twitter, but failed to refresh the page before a friend called to congratulate her today.  She sounds prepared.

Going to Florida State the past four and a half years, we play a possession -oriented style but I also like to get in behind the defense and I think I’ve added a lot of things to my game over the years. My heading game has gotten better, my long-distance shots have gotten better, so I think I can play possession-style or over-the-top if need be. That’s what I bring to the table.

The third pick in the draft was Kristie Mewis, a midfielder from Boston College.  She will be heading to Kansas City after a first team All-ACC senior year.  She had five game winners for the Eagles last year while having her best season yet.  She was an indoor track champion in high school and will be a valuable option in the attack as she teams with Lauren Cheney.  Mewis is familiar with her teammates that were allocated earlier in the week.

It feels awesome just because I’ve been playing with Becky [Sauerbrunn], [Lauren] Cheney and Nicole Barnhart for probably about a year now just because I’ve been in and out with the National Team. I absolutely love them as players. I love Becky, I think she’s such a great defender and she’s so possession-oriented and just so quick and fast. Lauren Cheney is probably my favorite midfielder that I’ve ever played with. I love her style and the way that she plays. Of course, Nicole Barnhart is a great goalkeeper and I’m so excited that I get a chance to play with some of the players that I really idolize.

The first defender of the draft was the fourth pick, Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall.  The BYU player will be headed to Sky Blue.  The 5’10″ player from Park City, Utah was named to the NSCAA 2012 All-America First Team becoming only the third player from BYU on that list.  After the Boston Breakers took the versatile midfielder/defender Casey Short from Florida State, the first goalkeeper came off the board to the Western New York Flash.  Oklahoma State’s Adrianna Franch will be in competition for the starting job with the allocated Pamela Tajonar.  This may have been the first head scratcher pick given that Tajonar is only 28 years old.

The University of Florida Gators led all schools with four players selected.  Centerback Kathryn Williamson went in the first round to Portland.  The Gators’ leading goal scorer Erika Tymrak went in the second round to Kansas City.  Defensive midfielders Holly King and Jo Dragotta went to Washington and Boston, respectively, in the third round.  Meanwhile, only one player from the 2012 NCAA Champion North Carolina Tar Heels was drafted as Amber Brooks went to Portland.

The full draft list is below.

2013 NWSL Draft Selections
Listed per round with name, position, college and team
First Round
1. Zakiya Bywaters, F (UCLA) – Chicago Red Stars
2. Tiffany McCarty, F (Florida State) – Washington Spirit
3. Kristie Mewis, M (Boston College) – FC Kansas City
4. Lindsi Lisonsbee-Cutshall, D (BYU) – Sky Blue FC
5. Casey Short, M/D (Florida State) – Boston Breakers
6. Adrianna Franch, GK (Oklahoma State) – Western New York Flash
7. Christine Nairn, M (Penn State) – Seattle Reign FC
8. Kathryn Williamson, D (Florida) – Portland Thorns FC

Second Round
9. Rachel Quon, D (Stanford) – Chicago Red Stars
10. Caroline Miller, F (Virginia) – Washington Spirit
11. Erika Tymrak, M/F (Florida) – FC Kansas City
12. Kendall Johnson, D/M (Portland) – Sky Blue FC
13. Mariah Nogueira, M (Stanford) – Boston Breakers
14. Amy Barczuk, M (Colorado) – Western New York Flash
15. Mallory Schaffer, M (William & Mary) – Seattle Reign FC
16. Nicolette Radovic, F (Central Florida) – Portland Thorns FC

Third Round
17. Taylor Vancil, GK (Florida State) – Chicago Red Stars
18. Holly King, M (Florida) – Washington Spirit
19. Whitney Berry, M/F (Kansas) – FC Kansas City
20. Ashley Baker, GK (Georgia) – Sky Blue FC
21. Jo Dragotta, M (Florida) – Boston Breakers
22. Vicki DiMartino, F (Boston College) – Western New York Flash
23. Kristen Meier, M (Wake Forest) – Seattle Reign FC
24. Amber Brooks, M (North Carolina) – Portland Thorns FC

Fourth Round
25. Jen Hoy, F (Princeton) – Chicago Red Stars
26. Colleen Williams, M (Dayton) – Washington Spirit
27. Nia Williams, D (Missouri State) – FC Kansas City
28. Becky Kaplan, F (Maryland) – Sky Blue FC
29. Maddy Evans, M (Penn State) – Boston Breakers
30. Jackie Logue, D (Wake Forest) – Western New York Flash
31. Haley Kopmeyer, GK (Michigan) – Seattle Reign FC
32. Roxanne Barker, GK (Pepperdine) – Portland Thorns FC


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