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Eleven Pac-12 women’s soccer standouts selected in the 2020 NWSL Draft

Jan 16, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO - Eleven Pac-12 women’s soccer standouts were selected today in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft, the most of any conference and the most since the league’s 12 draftees in 2017. Coming off a dominant 2019 season, the Pac-12 became the first league to have the top four picks in the draft, highlighted by reigning national champion STANFORD producing the No. 1 overall pick for the third consecutive year.  

Cardinal forward Sophia Smith was selected No. 1 overall by Portland, where she will be joined up top by WASHINGTON STATE’s Morgan Weaver as the Thorns traded up for the No. 2 pick. COLORADO midfielder Taylor Kornieck was the No. 3 selection of the Orlando Pride, and UCLA forward Ashley Sanchez was the No. 4 pick by the Washington Spirit.

Smith is Stanford’s third No. 1 overall pick, which leads all programs nationally, and the fourth Pac-12 student-athlete to go No. 1, which leads all conferences (2019 - Tierna Davidson, Stanford; 2018 - Andi Sullivan, Stanford; 2013 - Zakiya Bywaters, UCLA). The two-time All-Pac-12 honoree was named the 2020 NCAA College Cup Most Outstanding Offensive Player after recording a hat trick in Stanford’s semifinal win over UCLA (4-1) and helping the Cardinal to its third NCAA title. 

The Pac-12 also led all leagues with three second-round picks. USC midfielder Natalie Jacobs was selected 13th overall by the Spirit, followed by fellow Trojan Julia Bingham, a defender who was chosen by the Chicago Red Stars with the 15th pick, and Washington State midfielder Averie Collins, also selected by the Spirit with the 17th pick.

Midfielder Chloe Castaneda of UCLA was the 22nd overall pick by the Houston Dash in the third round, along with CALIFORNIA forward Abi Kim who was chosen by the Pride as the 26th pick. 

In the final round, the Spirit selected its fourth Pac-12 standout in UCLA defender Kaiya McCullough, the third Bruin off the board, with the 32nd pick, followed by defender Sam Hiatt of Stanford to Seattle Reign FC as the 33rd pick in the draft. 

Pac-12 women's soccer was dominant throughout the 2019 season as it accounted for:
• the nation's best record during non-conference play (.815, 77-14-9)
• nine NCAA Tournament participants, equaling the most in league history (2014) and tied for the most in the 2019 field
• seven teams in the NCAA Second Round, equaling the most in league history (2014)
• four teams in the NCAA Third Round and Quarterfinals, the most in the nation, for the first time in league history
• three teams in the NCAA College Cup for the first time in league history, and just the third time by one conference in NCAA history (ACC - 2011, 2013)
• the nation's best record in NCAA postseason play (.696, 19-8-1)

Since 2013, a total of 61 Pac-12 student-athletes have been drafted to the NWSL.


Round Pick Team Player
1 1 Portland Thorns FC Sophia Smith, Stanford
1 2 Portland Thorns FC Morgan Weaver, Washington State
1 3 Orlando Pride Taylor Kornieck, University of Colorado
1 4 Washington Spirit Ashley Sanchez, UCLA
2 13 Washington Spirit Natalie Jacobs, USC
2 15 Chicago Red Stars Julia Bingham, USC
2 17 Washington Spirit Averie Collins, Washington State
3 22 Houston Dash Chloe Castaneda, UCLA
3 26 Orlando Pride Abi Kim, California
4 32 Washington Spirit Kaiya McCullough, UCLA
4 33 Reign FC Samantha Hiatt, Stanford