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National Women's Soccer League

Boston Breakers Take Rose Lavelle With First Pick

The next generation of American soccer talent took the spotlight Thursday as the 10 NWSL teams selected 40 athletes in its annual college draft. ASN's John D. Halloran offers his insights below.
BY John D. Halloran Posted
January 13, 2017
7:30 AM

LOS ANGELES—The National Women’s Soccer League held its fifth annual college draft on Thursday with the league’s 10 teams selecting 40 of the NCAA’s finest to continue their careers in the professional ranks.

The first pick of the afternoon belonged to the Boston Breakers, which selected University of Wisconsin midfielder Rose Lavelle. The Cincinnati native starred for the U.S. U-20s in the 2012 World Cup and has earned several call-ups with the senior team, including one to this year’s January camp.

After thanking the Breakers, her coaches and teammates at Wisconsin, and her family, Lavelle said this: “It’s nice to be able to go out and follow your dreams.”

Boston had four picks in this year’s first round and, in addition to Lavelle, chose attack-minded midfielder Morgan Andrews, as well as forwards Ifeoma Onumonu and Margaret Purce. The quartet should go a long way to waking up the Breakers’ stagnant attack, which managed only 14 goals in 20 games in 2016.

With the choice of Andrews, a New Hampshire native, and Purce, who attends Harvard University, Boston also continued their tradition of selecting local talent in the draft.

Andrews finished her college career with the University of Southern California and scored in the national championship game this fall, helping lead USC to its second national title. She was also a finalist for the Hermann Trophy in 2016 and is currently in camp with the U.S. U-23s.

“I’ve always dreamed about being a professional soccer player,” said Andrews after being selected. “To be next to some amazing players like Rose—it’s an exciting time.”

“I’m looking forward to having an impact on the professional level, not just being a professional player, but having an impact on the field [and] having an impact for Boston,” she added. “I will be a part of the community. I’m a small-town girl from Milford, New Hampshire. Heading back to New England, I want to be a part of the community as best I can.”

In between Boston’s choices at No. 1 and No. 3, the North Carolina Courage selected Brigham Young University product Ashley Hatch. The forward earned a surprise call-up to the senior U.S. national team in October and is currently in camp with the U.S. U-23’s. She finished her 2016 collegiate campaign with 19 goals and first team All-American honors, and should represent a potent attacking trio combined with the Courage’s Lynn Williams and Jess McDonald. 

Other notable draft picks

The Houston Dash picked up Stanford goalkeeper Jane Campbell with the 15th selection in the draft. Campbell has been called into several senior U.S. national team camps over the past few years, including a camp last fall and this year’s January camp.

FC Kansas City selected Duke defender Christina Gibbons with the fourth pick. Gibbons recently earned her first call-up to the senior national team. The North Carolina native won 1st-team All-American honors in 2016 and is also versatile enough to play in the midfield.

The Portland Thorns used their selection at No. 18 to acquire the rights to Savannah Jordan. Despite being a four-time All-American who scored 81 goals in her college career, Jordan fell in the draft due to speculation that she may be headed overseas to start her pro career.

Two of the top players in the 2016 NCAA season, West Virginia teammates Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence, elected not to enter this year’s draft. Both have decided to head abroad and ply their trade in France’s Division 1 Feminine. Buchanan signed with Olympique Lyon and Lawrence for Paris Saint-Germain.

The Complete First Round

Boston Breakers: Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin)
North Carolina Courage: Ashley Hatch (BYU)
Boston Breakers: Morgan Andrews (USC)
Sky Blue FC: Kayla Mills (USC)
FC Kansas City: Christina Gibbons (Duke)
Seattle Reign FC: Maddie Bauer (Stanford)
North Carolina Courage: Darian Jenkins (UCLA)
Boston Breakers: Ifeoma Onumonu (Cal)
Boston Breakers: Margaret Purce (Harvard)
Sky Blue FC: Miranda Freeman (USC)

John D. Halloran is an American Soccer Now columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

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