Skip to main content

Pac-12 women's soccer sees 11 selections in 2021 NWSL Draft

Jan 13, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO — A total of 11 Pac-12 women’s soccer stars heard their names called in Wednesday’s 2021 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft, the first ever to be held in a virtual format, including five of the draft’s first 10 overall selections. 

WASHINGTON STATE forward Trinity Rodman was the first Conference player off the board, selected No. 2 overall by the Washington Spirit. Kansas City traded up for the No. 4 overall pick and took STANFORD defender/midfielder Kiki Pickett. Cardinal forward Madison Haley followed in her teammate’s footsteps shortly thereafter at the No. 7 pick by the Chicago Stars, and the Washington Spirit traded up to select versatile USC forward Tara McKeown at No. 8. UCLA midfielder Viviana Villacorta was the fifth and final first-round selection from the Pac-12, going No. 9 to the Orlando Pride. 

At 18 years old, Rodman is the youngest player ever selected in the NWSL College Draft. Her selection also marks a consecutive NWSL draft in which a Cougar was taken in the No. 2 slot, after Morgan Weaver was picked second by Portland last year. Pickett and Haley were key contributors to Stanford’s 2017 and 2019 NCAA titles, while McKeown earned Pac-12 Forward of the Year honors in 2019. Dating back to the 2019 season, Villacorta has started 45 consecutive games for the Bruins. 

FC Kansas City made UCLA defender Lucy Parker the conference’s lone pick in round 2 with the No. 16 selection. The third round featured two more WASHINGTON STATE stars taken off the board, with defender Brianna Alger going to Chicago at No. 25 and forward Makamae Gomera-Stevens heading to the Houston Dash at No. 27. 

In the fourth and final round, Racing Louisville FC selected CALIFORNIA defender Emily Smith with pick No. 31; Sky Blue FC selected UCLA defender Delanie Sheehan at pick No. 33 and the Orlando Pride selected the lone goalkeeper from the Pac-12 at No. 34 — USC’s Kaylie Collins.

The 2021 NWSL College Draft marked the second consecutive year and third time in four years that the Pac-12 led all leagues in Draft selections (11 in 2019, 12 in 2017). 

Unlike previous NWSL College Drafts, D-I players who are drafted can choose to remain with their collegiate teams until the conclusion of the 2021 NCAA spring season in May 2021. As a result of new rules enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NWSL playing rights of drafted players will be held until the beginning of the 2022 preseason, rather than the conclusion of the 2021 season. Alternatively, players who are selected can forego their remaining collegiate eligibility and report immediately for the 2021 NWSL season. 

During the fall 2019 season — the last time Pac-12 programs competed on the pitch — the conference accounted for the nation’s best record in non-conference play (.815, 77-14-9), a conference-record-tying nine NCAA tournament participants and garnered three teams in the NCAA College Cup for the first time in league history. 

Since 2013, a total of 72 Pac-12 student-athletes have been drafted to the NWSL.

2021 NWSL Draft - Pac-12 Selections

1 2 Washington Spirit Trinity Rodman, Washington State
1 4 Kansas City  Kiki Pickett, Stanford
1 7 Chicago Red Stars Madison Haley, Stanford
1 8 Washington Spirit Tara McKeown, USC
1 9 Orlando Pride Viviana Villacorta, UCLA
2 16 Kansas City Lucy Parker, UCLA
3 25 Chicago Red Stars Brianna "Bri" Alger, Washington State
3 27 Houston Dash Makamae Gomera-Stevens, Washington State
4 31 Racing Louisville FC Emily Smith, California
4 33 Sky Blue FC Delanie Sheehan, UCLA
4 34 Orlando Pride Kaylie Collins, USC