NWSL draft: Which players stand out from the 2023 class?

Alabama's Reyna Reyes is a player to watch in the 2023 NWSL draft. (John Blackie/USA TODAY NETWORK)

The 2023 NWSL Draft is almost upon us, and the league has released the list of all players who have registered so far.

Registration closes on Monday, Jan. 9, and the draft is set for 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 12, in Philadelphia. The list includes 110 players so far, with more players expected to join.

Just Women’s Sports breaks down what you need to know ahead of the draft — and which players you should watch.

How many rounds are in the draft?

The draft includes four rounds of 12 picks each, with a total of 48 players to be selected.

Who has the first overall pick?

NJ/NY Gotham FC holds the first overall pick, followed by the Orlando Pride, who have the second and third picks.

The Portland Thorns have the last pick of each round after winning their third NWSL championship this season.

Who are players to watch?

So far, no players from national champion UCLA or runner-up North Carolina have entered the draft pool.

But quite a few players from the Alabama Crimson Tide, who lost to the Bruins in the semifinals, have thrown their names in the ring. Among them are star defender Reyna Reyes, who scored a career-high eight goals this season.

Forwards Riley Mattingly Parker and Ashlynn Serepca and goalkeeper McKinley Crone are also on the list.

Just one Stanford player — midfielder Sierra Enge — features on the list so far. A player out of Stanford has been the No. 1 overall pick in four out of the last five years: Naomi Girma (2022), Sophia Smith (2020), Tierna Davidson (2019) and Andi Sullivan (2018).

Enge and TCU forward Messiah Bright both played for the U.S. U-23 Women’s Youth National Team this summer, and both should garner attention from NWSL clubs.

Former Florida State star Emily Madril made headlines this summer when she signed a contract with the NWSL to maintain her draft eligibility while she played for Swedish club BK Häcken FF. When she is selected the draft, her contract rights will go to that team.

Duke sophomore Michelle Cooper has yet to enter the NWSL draft, but the USWNT U-20 captain will be one to watch if she does make the leap.

What is the draft order for the first round?

  1. NJ/NY Gotham FC
  2. Orlando Pride (Acquired from Washington Spirit via trade)
  3. Orlando Pride
  4. Racing Louisville FC
  5. Angel City FC
  6. North Carolina Courage
  7. Chicago Red Stars
  8. Houston Dash
  9. North Carolina Courage (Acquired from San Diego Wave via trade)
  10. Kansas City Current (Acquired from Gotham FC via trade)
  11. North Carolina Courage (Acquired from Kansas City Current via trade)
  12. Portland Thorns FC