Thursday's 2017 NWSL draft didn't go exactly as many analysts expected, and the players may not have not necessarily been drafted in the order of their quality. Some teams drafted to fill specific needs while some just went for the best players available.
Only the 2017 NWSL season will tell us who drafted best. But here's a look at the players we see with the most potential to stand out in the NWSL and earn national team call-ups, either with the U.S. national team or elsewhere.
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No. 1 overall: Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Boston Breakers
Lavelle has already gotten called in by USWNT coach Jill Ellis a few times and she was widely expected to be the top overall pick. She will be asked to play the same box-to-box midfielder role she played for Wisconsin in Boston, and she looks poised to continue to play a role for the national team.
No. 2 overall: Ashley Hatch (BYU), North Carolina Courage
She broke into the USWNT in the final few months of 2016 as the top scorer is college soccer. She will be able to create chances from the middle and provide a spark for the Courage attack. The Courage will mostly have the Flash team that won the 2016 championship intact after the team relocates to North Carolina, and the team should be a good spot for her to show off her quality. She tallied 19 goals and six assists as a BYU senior, with 47 goals over her college career.
No. 3 overall: Morgan Andrews (USC), Boston Breakers
She's been one of the top young midfielders over the past several years, and though she has yet to get a shot with the senior USWNT, it seems like only a matter of time. She got her first call with the U-23s at age 16 and she just helped USC win a national championship by scoring in just 82 seconds.
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No. 5 overall: Christina Gibbons (Duke), FC Kansas City
Gibbons received her first USWNT call-up for the January camp, joining the wave of young players to break through. It will be interesting to see how coach Jill Ellis uses her for the USWNT and where she plays for FC Kansas City, but she could carve out a spot in the future. Gibbons is coming off a strong career at Duke University, where she was an All-American with 10 goals and 19 assists.
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No. 15 overall: Jane Campbell (Stanford), Houston Dash
She's widely considered the heir apparent to the USWNT's goalkeeper spot and she has already earned her first call-up. She likely won't start for Houston immediately – they already have two goalkeepers ahead of her in Lydia Williams and Bianca Henninger. But if one of them goes abroad or retires, Campbell will be ready to slot in.
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No. 18 overall: Savannah Jordan (Florida), Portland Thorns
She's been rumored to be looking at a move to France, but the Thorns took a risk on the striker for good reason. She tallied 81 goals during her college career and, although the competition at that position is toughest on the USWNT, Portland propelled midfielder Allie Long to the USWNT ranks and could do something similar for Jordan. Thorns coach Mark Parsons confirmed she will indeed go overseas for a bit, but she'll come back to a Thorns team with some experience abroad under her belt.
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No. 23 overall: Kailen Sheridan (Clemson), Sky Blue FC
Though she has very limited minutes at the senior level, she was part of the Canadian squad that won a bronze medal at the Olympics in Rio and she looked poised to be a starter one day. She looks like a depth pick in the goalkeeper position, but Sky Blue aren't so strong at the position that she couldn't fight for a spot at some point.
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