The 2014 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft saw the Washington Spirit pick up Crystal Dunn, Molly Menchel and Shasta Fisher.
The Spirit, finishing a troublesome first season in last place (with a record of 3-14-5), earned the rights to this year’s first overall draft pick and to no one’s surprise, the team selected North Carolina standout Crystal Dunn.
Dunn’s versatility on the field even had Spirit head coach and general manager Mark Parsons joking that he knew he wanted to draft her “for three years” and that nothing would make the team trade away its top pick.
“There was no way we would even consider changing that for any current NWSL player in the league or any U.S. allocated player,” Parsons said, following the conclusion of the draft.
The No. 1 pick said she can’t wait to play in the “great, competitive environment,” and that any help she can give the team will come from the flank.
“I’d like to play somewhere outside on the flank, whether that’s outside back or outside mid—maybe even throw me up top to see how I can run around a little bit,” she said. “Don’t put me in the middle.”
The Spirit also opted to draft some local collegiate talent to the roster, including University of Virginia teammates, Molly Menchel and Shasta Fisher. Menchel is also a local product, hailing from Alexandria, VA., less than an hour away from the Spirit’s home at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Menchel and Fisher helped lead the University of Virginia Cavaliers to a 24-1-1 2013 season that left many impressed, including Parsons.
“No disrespect to anybody else but I think UVa played the best football in the country and blew the soccer communities away with their style,” Parsons said. “[Shasta] Fisher was a major part of that at the back with her technique, decisions, and the ability to defend.”
Fisher, a composed midfielder/defender, clocked in five assists and received just one yellow card in four seasons with the Cavaliers while Menchel, a defender/forward ended her college career with 13 goals, including the game-winner in the 2013 College Cup quarterfinal match against Michigan.
Having already brought in players like Christine Nairn, Yael Averbuch and Renae Cuellar, Parsons feels that his team is “loaded with tactical and technical players” and that the team is “miles ahead” of where they thought they’d be at this stage.