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NWSL Draft

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Sophia Smith

Portland Thorns FC

The NWSL Draft is an annual event where teams select players in US colleges who are in their senior year, have exhausted their eligibility, or forfeited their eligibility. 

The order in which teams are able to pick is determined by where they finished the previous season with the team placing last earning the honor to pick first. In the offseason, NWSL teams are notorious for stirring up the list as teams trade players and draft picks with each other including the day of the draft, even in between picks. Everybody wants to have the first pick in the first round to draft the next best talent.

The 2023 NWSL Draft took place at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia, PA on Thursday, January 12. The NWSL welcomed 48 new players. Read more about how each team did below.

HISTORY OF #1 NWSL DRAFT PICKS

YEAR

PLAYER

DRAFTED BY

NOTES

2023

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

Alyssa Thompson

Naomi Grima

Emily Fox

Sophia Smith

Tierna Davidson

Andi Sullivan

Rose Lavelle
Emily Sonnett

Morgan Gautrat

Crystal Dunn

Zakiya Bywaters

Angel City FC

San Diego Wave FC

Racing Louisville FC

Portland Thorns FC

Chicago Red Stars

Washington Spirit

Boston Breakers

Portland Thorns FC

Houston Dash

Washington Spirit

Chicago Red Stars

First high school draftee

2022 NWSL ROTY

2021 NWSL ROTY nominee

2022 NWSL MVP

2019 World Cup Champion

2021 NWSL Champion

2019 World Cup Bronze Ball

2019 World Cup Champion

2015 & 2019 WC Champ

2019 World Cup Champion

USYNT Vet: U17, U20, U23

Per the NWSL, in order to be eligible for the 2023 NWSL Draft, a player must: 

  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or a foreign national who is currently or was enrolled at a university in the United States during the 2022-23 academic year; 

  • Be an individual who has exhausted, lost, or renounced their remaining collegiate eligibility during the 2022 calendar year, including high school graduates choosing to forego; 

  • Be at least 18 years old on or before January 1, 2023; 

  • Not be under a current professional contract, nor have previously signed a contract to play soccer professionally; 

  • Players must register for the 2023 NWSL Draft by 11:59 pm ET on Monday, January 9, 2023. 

The NWSL also introduced a new entry mechanism into the league for players under the age of 18. Per the NWSL, the criteria for players to join the Under-18 Entry list, with the consent of the player and their parent or legal guardian, are as followed: 

  • Each team is limited to two Under-18 players between its senior roster and the Entry List; 

  • Players must be signed to a guaranteed contract within 30 days of being placed on the list and the contract term must run through the season in which the player turns 18; 

  • Players will occupy a full roster spot;  

  • Players may be placed on or called up from the list at any time during the season; 

  • Players may not be waived or traded until the player has turned 18 or the team has received consent from both the player and parent or legal guardian; 

  • Players may not be selected in the expansion process; 

  • Players must reside with a parent or legal guardian until their 18th birthday; 

  • Players must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. 

Under-18 Entry List slots are not tradeable. 

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