Thorns FC add four players in today’s NWSL college draft

Portland Thorns FC selected Kathryn Williamson, a defender from the University of Florida, with the eighth overall pick in the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft on Friday at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

In the following rounds, Thorns FC drafted University of Central Florida forward Nicolette Radovcic in the second round (16th overall), University of North Carolina midfielder Amber Brooks in the third round (24th overall) and Pepperdine University goalkeeper Roxanne Barker with the final pick of the draft (32nd overall).

“I’m very excited about our four college draft picks. They’re all very technical players and players that I can see jumping into a game right away,” said Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone. “They’re all going to be wonderful professionals.”

Here’s a quick rundown of Portland’s picks in today’s draft:

7kathrynwilliamson1st pick at #8: Kathryn Williamson (Center back)

College: University of Florida, where she anchored the defense for all four years. She was an All-American for the past three years.

Skills: Williamson has excellent pace which always her to play aggressively on defense. She is also very comfortable with ball in possession.

Concerns: Injuries have been a big concern as Williamson has missed time with ACL and meniscus injuries. If she can stay healthy, Williamson could easily step in and be an immediate contributor for Thorns FC.

nicolettradovcic2nd pick at #16: Nicolette Radovcic (Forward)

College: University of Central Florida, where she led her team in scoring over the last two seasons.

Skills: Radovcic led her team with 12 goals last season and became known for coming up big when it counted most. Her new teammates will love Radovcic’s impressive workrate.

Concerns: Radovcic won’t be an immediate contributor, but that shouldn’t be a big worry as she’ll be able to learn a great deal from Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair.

Brooks13rd pick at #24: Amber Brooks (Midfielder)

College: University of North Carolina, where she was captain and anchor of the Tar Heels midfield. Coach

Skills: One of the most highly rated players coming into the draft, Brooks is known for her excellent leadership skills as well as her tenacity. She can also provide good service on set pieces, but has also scored goals as a poacher on set pieces as well.

Concerns: None really, except Brooks won’t be joining Thorns FC right away as she signed with Bayern Munich for the remainder of their season last week. This explains why Brooks, who was projected as a first-round pick, dropped this low. Hopefully, Coach Cindy Parlow-Cone’s relationship with Brooks (Parlow-Cone was her assistant coach at UNC) can possibly help bring in Brooks sooner than later. More on this in a later post.

roxannebarker4th pick at #32: Roxanne Barker (Goalkeeper)

College: Pepperdine University, where she was a four-year starter. Barker is also a South African international and made the roster for Bayana Bayana’s Olympic squad last summer.

Skills: Barker’s stock began to rise over the last two seasons at Pepperdine and has developed a reputation as a quality keeper who can come up with big saves in big games.

Concerns: Not many really, but Barker can sometimes be inconsistent and isn’t particularly known for her athleticism. However, she’s in a terrific situation in Portland where she can learn and grow as Karina LeBlanc’s backup.

 

6 thoughts on “Thorns FC add four players in today’s NWSL college draft

  1. Add former Tarheel/US U-23 midfielder Allie Long to the mix, Chris; Stumptown Footy reports that she had signed with the Thorns from PSG. Another fine midfielder (albeit with some knee problems in her history) she’s just another reason to believe that this team will be solid on the pitch from front to back. I’m already spun up to see our Thorns tear up the NWSL this season!

    Here’s the SF link:

    http://www.stumptownfooty.com/2013/1/18/3890772/report-midfielder-allie-long-signs-with-portland-thorns-fc

    1. Yes, another great pick-up. Waiting for the official word on the Long signing from Thorns FC, but already working on an update for the site. Thanks!

    2. By the way, I had a feeling that bringing on Cindy Parlow-Cone as coach would lead the Thorns FC to acquiring some of those great players from North Carolina: Heath, Brooks, Long. Those UNC connections could be huge.

  2. Thanks for the re-cap. But if my math is correct, this still doesn’t put any of the teams at a full roster yet. Is there going to be a combine or something for other interested players soon? Does anyone know? There are a few Portland Rain players who deserve a chance.

    1. Next up is free agent signings. Thorns FC can sign 4 free agents to a max of $25,000/season. From there I believe (and this isn’t confirmed yet), there will be a supplemental type of draft for unsigned free agents.

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