The Friday Five:  2021 NWSL Draft Edition

The Friday Five: 2021 NWSL Draft Edition

On Wednesday, January 13, the NWSL held their ninth annual draft welcoming an abundance of new talent to the league. The night consisted of the league’s 10 teams making selections throughout 4 rounds with the newest expansion team, Racing Louisville FC, holding the first pick. Today, we take a closer look and celebrate the talent that went first in this year’s NWSL Draft.

(1) Emily Fox | Defender/Midfielder | University of North Carolina

With the first pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, Racing Louisville FC selected Emily Fox from the University of North Carolina. As Louisville prepares for their first NWSL season, this Ashburn, Virginia native is expected to bring a big impact to the team! At just 21-years-old, Fox brings with her senior USWNT experience (having earned 3 caps so far) and a slew of accomplishments from her time at UNC. Following her selection to Louisville, Fox shared, “I’m really humbled and so excited to be a part of the club and the NWSL now.”

(2) Trinity Rodman | Forward | Washington State University

The selection of Trinity Rodman in the 2021 NWSL Draft is notable in more ways than one. Selected second overall by the Washington Spirit, Rodman has a) become the youngest player in the history of the NWSL to be selected in the draft, b) turned pro despite not having played a minute of college soccer and c) yes — is the daughter of Dennis Rodman. While she acknowledges her father’s athleticism and accomplishments, Trinity is ready to make a name for herself, stating “I am excited to pave my own path and get better throughout the journey.” In addition to being the No. 1 recruit in the high school class of 2020, Trinity has impressed with her time on the U-20 USWNT. As she prepares to enter the NWSL, Trinity is excited to learn and develop as a young player. “I am going in thinking I am going to learn every single minute I am there.”

(3) Brianna Pinto | Midfielder | University of North Carolina

Sky Blue FC is all about that Pinto life! With the third pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, Sky Blue FC selected Brianna Pinto from the University of North Carolina. Headed into this year’s draft, Sky Blue knew central midfield would be a priority; in Pinto, they gained one of the most complete midfielders available. Though the 2019 USSF Young Female Player of the year doesn’t plan to join Sky Blue until after the NCAA’s upcoming season, she is extremely excited to kick off her professional career. “My goal is always to play, and to have an impact… Getting the option to get in a professional jersey, it means everything to me.”

(4) Kiara “Kiki” Pickett | Defender/Midfielder | Stanford University

The fourth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft brought the first trade of the night. Sky Blue opted to trade their pick to Kansas City in exchange for $175,000 in allocation money. With the trade, Kansas City ultimately welcomed Kiara “Kiki” Pickett from Stanford University. Pickett’s career at Stanford has been nothing short of successful. Two-time NCAA champion? Yes. Three-time Pac-12 champion? Yes. Like Brianna Pinto, Pickett plans to play for Stanford once more in the spring stating, “I’m very excited to have one last chance to compete for another championship with my closest friends. I want to enjoy these last moments in a Cardinal uniform before playing professionally.”

(5) Emina Ekic | Midfielder | University of Louisville

Hometown, college, and professional team: Louisville, University of Louisville, and Racing Louisville FC! Emina Ekic’s journey to the pros could not be more perfect. Selected fifth overall, Ekic is the first player out of the University of Louisville to be selected in the NWSL Draft. As Racing Louisville gears up for their first season, they are gaining an incredibly versatile midfielder who has tallied 29 goals and 19 assists in 66 games throughout her college career. Most recently named the 2020 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Ekic is ready to make a splash in her hometown. “It’s special,” she says. “Why not continue to write the story here?”

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