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The 2021 NWSL college draft guide

All the background info you need to get ready for the draft.

2020 NWSL Draft Photo by Jose Argueta/ISI Photos/Getty Images

UPDATE: 10:30 AM ET added link to list of players who declared.

The 2021 NWSL College Draft is here, and it’s probably gonna be a weird one folks! Following on from the absolute disaster that was 2020, the ‘21 college draft should not be used as a metric for anything. There’s a lot of context at play, and while this smaller draft class may end up having a ripple effect we can’t really predict several seasons on, this year will forever have an asterisk on it.

Some important context:

NCAA D-I athletes have a waiver this year and, if they declare and are drafted, are allowed to play their spring season before they report to their teams.

All D-I players who have exhausted three years of eligibility are considered “seniors” and are also eligible for the draft, whether they declare or not. The rights to these players stay with the clubs until the start of of the 2022 preseason and can be waived or traded before then.

Catarina Macario, widely considered to be a #1 pick if she should declare, is instead headed to Europe, likely Lyon. Meanwhile, Trinity Rodman and Brianna Pinto are pretty like to enter the NWSL draft.

Don’t put too much weight on the Challenge Cup and the Fall Series. These were fun events but also very small sample sizes under strange conditions.

Teams that might be looking for strong picks after big roster changes in the offseason:

North Carolina Courage (after losing Crystal Dunn, Sam Mewis, Jaelene Hinkle, and now possibly Abby Dahlkemper, this might be the biggest club shakeup year to year), Sky Blue FC, Chicago Red Stars.

Eligibility rules

Draft procedure and pick order

The first round is currently in the following order:

  1. Racing Louisville FC
  2. Washington Spirit
  3. Sky Blue FC
  4. Sky Blue FC
  5. Racing Louisville FC
  6. Chicago Red Stars
  7. Portland Thonrs
  8. Sky Blue FC
  9. Orlando Pride
  10. North Carolina Courage

How to watch:

The draft will stream live on NWSL’s Twitch channel
Wednesday, January 13
7 PM ET / 4 PM PT

List of all players who declared