The 2020-21 college soccer season was the strangest in the history of the sport. The unique spring season presented scheduling challenges, but provided fresh excitement for NWSL fans. Since the 2021 NWSL draft took place in January – before the college season – NWSL fans got to keep an eye on their future players during the spring. While some players chose to forgo the spring college season and join their pro teams immediately, many of the NWSL’s future stars were on display in the NCAA tournament, which concluded last Monday with Santa Clara’s victory over Florida State. Here’s a team-by-team look at how the NWSL draftees performed in the tournament.
Chicago Red Stars
Kelsey Turnbow, Forward, Santa Clara
Turnbow had perhaps the biggest impact of any player in the tournament. The Red Stars’ second round pick scored three goals in Santa Clara’s run to the national title, including the winning goal in the semifinals and the tying goal in the championship game. Turnbow led the Broncos with ten goals on the season. With the Red Stars having trouble finding the net at the moment, they would surely like to have Turnbow in Chicago now, but she plans on staying in Santa Clara for the upcoming fall college season.
Channing Foster, Forward, Mississippi
Foster did not tally a goal or assist in Mississippi’s three tournament games, but she converted her penalty in their penalty shootout victory over Southern California. Foster, who tallied five goals and two assists this season, will also stay in college for the fall season.
The Dash had only two selections in the draft, both coming in the third round. Neither of their picks (Pepperdine’s Joelle Anderson and Washington State’s Makamae Gomera-Stevens) participated in the NCAA tournament.
Canada’s Victoria Pickett, a second-round pick for Kansas City, joined her NWSL team immediately instead of playing the spring season at Wisconsin.
Lucy Parker, Defender, UCLA
Parker played in just one tournament game, the Bruins’ PK loss to Clemson in the round of 16.
Alex Loera, Defender, Santa Clara
While Turnbow was named the offensive Most Outstanding Player in the College Cup Final, Loera was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Loera, the defensive player of the year in the West Coast Conference, was a key part of the Broncos’ success in the tournament. She anchored a Santa Clara defense that allowed just three goals in their five tournament matches. Though Loera was a fourth-round pick, she clearly has the talent to succeed at the professional level.
NJ/NY Gotham FC
Brianna Pinto, Midfielder, North Carolina
Pinto, who was drafted third overall by Gotham, scored the Tar Heels’ lone goal in their semifinal loss to Santa Clara. Pinto was a finalist for the MAC Hermann trophy awarded to college soccer’s best player. She will join Gotham now that the spring season is complete.
Taryn Torres, Midfielder, Virginia
Torres played all but two minutes in Virginia’s run to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament. She missed her attempt in the Cavaliers’ penalty shootout loss to Florida State. Torres, a defensively focused midfielder, did earn two assists on the season.
Delanie Sheehan, Midfielder, UCLA
Sheehan scored four goals this season for the Bruins, and two of them were game-winners. She also added five assists for a UCLA team that was upset in the round of 16 by Clemson.
Tess Boade, Midfielder, Duke
Boade was the 40th and final pick of the draft, and she will remain at Duke for the fall season. Blade scored in the Blue Devils’ second round win over Arizona State and assisted on the only goal of Duke’s round of 16 victory over Mississippi.
North Carolina Courage
Myra Konte, Defender, Vanderbilt
Konte, the MVP of the SEC Tournament, became the first NWSL draftee from Vanderbilt when the Courage selected her in the third round. Her Commodores team was upset in the second round of the tournament, but Konte will return for the fall season at Vanderbilt before joining the Courage.
OL Reign’s lone draft selection was Texas A&M’s Jimena Lopez. Lopez did not join the NWSL, instead electing to head to Europe to sign with SD Eibar of Spain’s Primera Division.
The Pride selected UCLA’s Viviana Villacorta with their first round pick, but Villacorta tore her ACL in the Bruins’ season opener.
Mikayla Colohan, Midfielder, BYU
Colohan recorded five shots from her midfield position in BYU’s upset loss to Virginia in their first tournament game. She led the WCC with 11 goals and was named the conference’s offensive player of the year for the second consecutive season. Colohan will remain at BYU for the fall season.
Kerry Abello, Forward, Penn State
Abello is a versatile player, but the Pride drafted her as a forward. She was a second-team All American this season. Abello, who played primarily as a midfielder for the Nittany Lions this season, will remain at Penn State for the fall season.
Yazmeen Ryan, Midfielder, TCU
Ryan was a first-team Regional All American for the third consecutive season. While Ryan did not score in the NCAA tournament, she was second on the team with seven goals and led the team with six assists. She leaves TCU as the school’s all time leader in assists with 23.
Sam Coffey, Midfielder, Penn State
Coffey tallied assists in each of Penn State’s three tournament matches, and led the Nittany Lions with 12 assists on the season. She also was third on the team with six goals. Coffey looks forward to playing with former Penn State star Rocky Rodriguez in Portland.
Amirah Ali, Midfielder/Forward, Rutgers
Ali earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Tournament team and was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy. She scored the only goal in the Scarlet Knights’ first round victory over Southeastern Louisiana.
Louisville selected Emily Fox out of UNC with the first overall pick of the draft. Fox joined Racing Louisville immediately and appeared in all four of the club’s NWSL Challenge Cup matches. Their other first round pick was Louisville’s Emina Ekic. Ekic also went pro and played in the four Challenge Cup matches.
Parker Goins, Forward, Arkansas
Goins, who earned first team All-SEC honors, scored twice in the Razorbacks’ second round victory over Utah Valley. Goins led the team with eight goals, and will stay with Arkansas for the fall season.
The Spirit selected Washington State’s Trinity Rodman with the second overall pick. Rodman elected to leave Washington State without ever playing a college match, She has already made an impact at the professional level with a goal and two assists for the Spirit.
Tara McKeown, Forward, Southern California
USC lost their first match of the NCAA tournament, but McKeown did her part with a goal and an assist. She had eight goals and eight assists on the season. McKeown has already joined the Spirit, making her professional debut on May 16.
With many players joining their professional teams after the conclusion of the college season, the NWSL will benefit from an influx of young talent. If a player opted to remain in college for the fall season, the team that drafted them retains their NWSL rights until the 2022 preseason.