The National Women’s Soccer League welcomed 50 new athletes to the league as players around the world heard their names called Saturday in the 2022 draft.

Headlined by Stanford University defender Naomi Girma, who was selected by expansion side San Diego Wave FC with the No. 1 overall pick, the NWSL’s newest draft class features players from a record 40 different universities and five countries.

Stanford boasts four No. 1 selections in NWSL draft history. Girma joined Stanford grads Tierna Davidson (2019), Sophia Smith (2020) and Andi Sullivan (2018) as the first overall pick.

Jaelin Howell of Florida State University was drafted No. 2 overall by Racing Louisville FC, while Virginia Tech midfielder Emily Gray rounded out the top three picks, taken by the North Carolina Courage.

St. John’s University forward Zsani Kajan became the first Hungarian player to be selected in the draft, chosen by OL Reign with the eighth overall pick. The first German to be taken, Grand Canyon University forward/midfielder Marleen Schimmer was selected by Wave FC with the ninth pick.

This year’s draft saw four goalkeepers drafted. Jordyn Bloomer (University of Wisconsin – Madison) was taken by Racing with the 26th pick, Marisa Bova (Purdue University) went 45th overall to the Courage, Claudia Dickey (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill) was selected by OL Reign with the 20th pick and Hensley Hancuff (Clemson University) was chosen 34th by NJ/NY Gotham FC.

This year’s draft also saw first-time selections for three universities, including Cal State – Long Beach, the University of Georgia and Gonzaga University.




  Naomi Girma (Stanford)
2 Racing Louisville  Jaelin Howell (Florida State)
3 North Carolina Courage  Emily Gray (Virginia Tech)
4 Racing Louisville  Savannah DeMelo (USC)
5 Orlando Pride  Mia Fishel (UCLA)
6 North Carolina Courage  Diana Ordonez (UVA)
7 Kansas City Current Elyse Bennett (Washington State)
8 OL Reign Zsanett Kajan (St. John’s University)
9 2151  Marleen Schimmer (Grand Canyon University)
10 Orlando Pride  Caitlin Cosme (Duke University)
11   Orlando PrideJulie Doyle (Santa Clara)
12 North Carolina Courage Kaitlin Fregulia (LBSU)
13 2150 Sydny Nasello (South Florida)
14 2145  Tinaya Alexander (LSU)
15  2145Madison Elwell (Vanderbilt)
16 Racing Louisville FC  Charme Morgan (Oklahoma State)
17 Kansas City Current  Chardonnay Curran (Oregon)
18 Chicago Red Stars  Ava Cook (Michigan State)
19 Chicago Red Stars  Samantha Fisher (Notre Dame)
20 OL Reign Claudia Dickey (UNC)
21 OL Reign  Ryanne Brown (Wake Forest)
22 2150  Gabby Provenzano (Rutgers)
23 2145  Lucy Shepherd (Hofstra)
24 NJ/NY Gotham FC  Kelly Ann Livingstone (Georgetown)
25  NJ/NY Gotham FC Sydney Pulver (Washington State)
26 Racing Louisville FC Jordyn Bloomer (University of  Wisconsin)


27  Angel CityBelle Briede (Stanford)
28  Angel City Hope Breslin (University of Illinois)
29   North Carolina CourageHaleigh Stackpole (University of Mississippi)
30  Racing Louisville FC Jenna Menta (Wake Forest)
31 2151  Jada Talley (USC)
32 OL Reign Kaile Halvorsen (Santa Clara)
33  OL ReignOlivia Van der Jagt (University of Washington)
34 NJ/NY Gotham FCHensley Hancuff (Clemson)
35 Chicago Red StarsSarah Griffith (Purdue)
36 Angel CityLily Nabet (Duke)
37   Chicago Red StarsKayla McKeon (University of Arkansas)
38 2145 Audrey Harding (UNC Wilmington)
39 Angel CityMiriael Taylor (Hofstra)
40 Angel City Kayla Bruster (University of Georgia)
41 Kansas City Current Jenna Winebrenner (TCU)
42 Racing Louisville FC Sydney Cummings (Georgetown University)
43 Kansas City Current Izzy Rodriguez (Ohio State University)
44 Houston Dash Ryan Gareis (USC)
45 North Carolina CourageMarisa Bova (Purdue)
46 NJ/NY Gotham FCRaleigh Loughman (University of Michigan)
47 OL ReignMarley Canales (UCLA)
48 2150 Natalie Beckman (University of Denver)
49 Chicago Red StarsJayda Hylton-Pelaia (Arizona State)
50 2145Jordan Thompson (Gonzaga University)


Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at