National Women's Soccer League / Washington Spirit

Dream strategy plays out for Spirit at college draft

Mark Parsons spent the opening 12 picks of the NWSL College Draft doing anything but standing still.

He came in with a goal—to ultimately end up bring back two players, despite only having a single fourth-round pick. Instead, the second-year head coach was able to select three players between the second, third and fourth rounds.

“Our dream strategy was three [picks] and they were the three we grabbed,” Parson said after the draft, “all for different reasons: some of them because of needs that we have and also because of the talent, character and mentality. Then also with Whitney [Church] being another Penn State alum that we’re really excited about and she’s a local kid.”

The Spirit head coach was looking for a deal early on after trading away the club’s first round (No. 6 overall) and second round (No. 15 overall) picks, leaving last season’s fourth-place finishers with just that single fourth-round pick. He found that deal by way of a multi-team trade on the fourth pick of the second round.

After Portland and Houston exchanged picks for a player (Jessica McDonald), Washington got in on the second half of the trade. The club sent English forward Jodie Taylor to the 2013 champions in exchange for a second round pick in 2016 and the No. 13 overall pick.

The Spirit selected the first of two UCLA defenders in center back Megan Oyster. Oyster was a member of a Bruin backline that allowed just six goals all season and set a school shutout record with 19.

Parsons was at it again with the opening pick of the third round as Washington sent two second-round picks in next year’s draft to FC Kansas City for the 19 th overall selection.

That pick allowed the Spirit to pick up a second Bruin—and Oyster’s backline partner—in Caprice Dydasco. While being listed as a multi-positional player, the Honolulu, Hawaii native spent her UCLA career as an outside back.

Parsons also picked up versatile Penn State defender Whitney Church in the fourth round. Church will also fight for a spot on a Washington backline that saw Robyn Gayle opt to stay in Canada as well as Ali Krieger and Crystal Dunn missing time with Team USA.

“[Megan Oyster] and Whitney [Church] are going to bring depth to center back and they’re both a little bit versatile and I’m sure they’ll be able to play other positions,” Parsons said. “We’re excited that we have [Caprice] Dydasco. … Although she’s a defender she makes us better going forward as well as [being] a great defender. She makes us more exciting going forward.”

Parsons hinted at a unique international signing to play up top and that that announcement will hopefully drop in the upcoming week.


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