5 Coloradans picked as list of local players expand


It’s always a good sign when the circle of professional women’s soccer players expands. It’s even better when the list is highlighted by local players.

That was the case at the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League Draft Thursday at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Nine Coloradans entered the draft, a new record, and were hoping to hear their name called by the commissioner. The previous high was last year with six.

In the end, five did hear their names and will be on NWSL rosters to start 2023.

Alyssa Thompson, a 17-year-old high schooler out of Los Angeles who earned her first U.S. Women’s National Team appearances last year, was selected first overall by her hometown team, Angel City. Mac Hermann winner Michelle Cooper went No. 2 to the Kansas City Current.

It was a long time before a Coloradan’s name was called. After none were selected in the first round for only the second time since 2018 (2021 was other year), the wait continued.

With the seventh pick of the second round, No. 19 overall, OL Reign selected a player in their own backyard of Seattle, Highlands Ranch center back Shae Holmes, who played at the University of Washington. As a Husky, Holmes, a 5-foot-8 defender, was Second-Team All Pac-12. She started every game for UW and also proved her offensive prowess, as she tied the team with six assists, while also being on the field for five shutouts. She had youth national team experience, as she played with the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team, which won the CONCACAF championship in 2019.

OL Reign reached the NWSL semifinals last season and at the back were led by USWNT players Sofia Huerta and Alana Cook. Holmes could possibly see the field this season as the FIFA Women’s World Cup will impact the NWSL schedule this summer.

Also late in the second round, the Chicago Red Stars selected a forward that has plenty of promise. With the 23rd overall pick or the second-round, eleventh pick, Chicago chose Penn State striker Ally Schlegel, from Parker.

The Chaparral High School product had a prolific graduate senior season for the Nittany Lions, as she became an All-American for the second time in her collegiate career, as she was named to the First-Team. Schlegel has been named to the Under-23 women’s national team. She led the Big Ten and Penn State in goals (13) and chipped in three assists last fall, and will get a chance to learn under Red Stars forward Mallory Swanson. The Red Stars reached the NWSL quarterfinals last season.

The third round was highlighted by Colorado Springs native Mykiaa Minniss, a center back out of Washington State, was picked 35th overall by Kansas City. Minniss left Pullman as one of the most decorated players in program history with 92 starts and recorded over 8,300 minutes played. The Doherty High School alum led the Cougars to eight shutouts and tallied three assists. Minniss was a four-time Pac-12 selection.

Also with the final pick of the third round at No. 36, Aurora native Lindsi Jennings was selected by Houston Dash. Jennings played three seasons at Northern Colorado before transferring to Louisiana State in 2021. The Grandview High product played 40 games for the Tigers in two seasons and will look to contribute under new Dash head coach Sam Laity.

The fourth round also had a Coloradan selected. Redshirt senior Civana Kuhlmann was picked 37th overall by Washington Spirit. The Centennial native started her career at Stanford where she won a pair of national titles. However, injuries mounted and she tore an ACL and had additional surgery on her meniscus. She battled back and finished her career at CU, where she looked like her old self with 12 goals and six assists last fall for the Buffs.

Those that weren’t drafted, but are eligible to join teams via trials include:

•Sami Feller, Grand Junction (DU)

•Alesia Garcia, Aurora (LSU)

•Makenna Gottschalk, Denver (New Mexico State)

•Devan McSwain, Glenwood Springs (DU)

Last season, 16 Coloradans played in the NWSL on 10 of the 12 teams in the league.


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