San Diego Wave FC plans to select Florida State midfielder Jaelin Howell with the first overall pick in the 2022 NWSL College Draft, sources tell Just Women’s Sports.
The 2020 MAC Hermann Trophy winner registered for the draft on Monday but is still exploring European options, sources say. The deadline for players to declare for Saturday’s NWSL draft is Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
Howell’s decision comes a week after she captained the Seminoles to a 4-3 shootout win over BYU in the College Cup final. Of Florida State’s three national championship teams in their 26-year program history, Howell was a part of two, with the first coming during her freshman year in 2018.
“We’re all excited to see what the next chapter holds for her,” said Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian. “She’s going to have a lot of options and choices in what it is she wants to do.”
A top recruit coming out of high school, Howell had her pick of top college soccer programs. She chose Florida State mainly because of Kirkorian’s emphasis on individual-based tactical and technical development.
Starting 21 games as a holding midfielder this season, Howell anchored a Florida State defense that recorded 23 shutouts and allowed just 13 goals. The senior, who added two goals and four assists this season, was named a First Team All-American and the ACC Midfielder of the Year for the second year in a row.
“When you take her physical and psychological tools and look at the whole package, she’s equipped with so many different elements that have allowed her to be successful and have helped us to be successful,” Kirkorian said.
“They’ve done so much for me, so it’s hard to even think about leaving,” Howell said. “I am ready for a new chapter in my life, but definitely this one is going to be sad when it comes.”
Howell would join a San Diego roster that already includes Abby Dahlkemper, Kailen Sheridan, Tegan McGrady and Alex Morgan. Ahead of their debut season in 2022, the Wave will fill out the rest of their roster during the NWSL Expansion Draft on Thursday and College Draft on Saturday. San Diego has two picks in the first round and six picks overall.