WSU Cougars have program-record three gamers chosen in 2021 NWSL draft


When the Nationwide Ladies’s Soccer League held its inaugural School Draft in 2013, the occasion culminated with out a Washington State participant being chosen. In 2014, the Chicago Crimson Stars picked up midfielder Nicole Setturlund within the third spherical, however 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 have been barren years for the Cougars as NWSL groups reloaded their rosters with the NCAA’s finest — lots of them coming from the Pac-12 Convention.

That made the 2020 School Draft a momentous one for the Cougars, with Morgan Weaver and Averie Collins each being chosen throughout the first two rounds — the primary time WSU’s program had somebody chosen within the first spherical and the primary time a number of Cougars have been chosen in the identical draft.

The Cougars made historical past in 2020, then made extra of it in 2021.

On Wednesday night time, freshman ahead Trinity Rodman turned the second WSU participant in as a few years to be taken with the No. 2 choose of the NWSL draft, going to the Washington Spirit. Two extra Cougars have been taken earlier than the digital occasion concluded, giving Todd Shulenberger’s program 5 draft picks in two years after a five-year drought.

Defender Brianna Alger was drafted within the third spherical, with the twenty fifth total choose, by the Chicago Crimson Stars, and ahead Makamae Gomera-Stevens was taken off the board simply minutes later, going to the Houston Sprint with the twenty seventh total choose.

Although Alger and Gomera-Stevens have been chosen Wednesday, each will keep in Pullman in the meanwhile and compete for the Cougars throughout the upcoming spring season. Rodman plans to signal with the Spirit throughout the coming days and report back to the staff’s coaching camp subsequent month.

“This group of younger girls, I stated earlier the present group of gamers and the one which helped alongside the way in which earlier than these guys performed right here, it’s been a protracted work in progress,” Shulenberger stated on a post-draft Zoom name Wednesday night time. “The work’s paying off for these younger girls and I’m tremendous happy with these three and clearly the 2 that went final 12 months as effectively.”

Rodman, who was extensively thought of the nation’s high recruit in 2020, has intensive expertise enjoying for the U.S. U-20 ladies’s nationwide staff, however didn’t play a sport for the Cougars because of the COVID-19 pandemic and elected to register for the NWSL draft and get a jump-start on her skilled profession slightly than go well with up for WSU this spring.

Gamers needed to be formally registered for the NWSL draft by Monday and Rodman, who had been in communication with WSU’s employees the previous few months, instructed Shulenberger of her intentions on a telephone name Sunday night time. Rodman had initially dedicated to Pac-12 rival UCLA, however a go to to WSU, the place her brother DJ is a sophomore ahead for the boys’s basketball staff, satisfied the Southern California native and daughter of former NBA champion Dennis Rodman to flip to the Cougars.

“She’s been superior, want her the very best,” Shulenberger stated. “It was nothing I used to be being blindsided about, we talked ourselves via the method and you probably have an opportunity to be the second choose of the draft, you’ve bought to go for it.”

Alger, a Colorado native, and Gomera-Stevens, a local of Hawaii, have been each instrumental to WSU’s program-record 16-win season in 2019, serving to the Cougars attain the School Cup for the primary time at school historical past.

As a junior, Alger began in all 24 video games for the Cougars and performed a team-high 2,098 minutes, changing into the third participant at school historical past to put up double-digit assists (10).

“With this complete COVID factor, the foundations for this draft have been actually messed round so I took on every thing actually quick and it was form of sudden to even be part of this,” Alger stated. “However I’m simply so happy with myself for the work I put in and so blissful that Chicago picked me up and so prepared to begin this new journey.”

A video from WSU’s Twitter account captured the response from Gomera-Stevens when the senior was drafted by Houston. The midfielder from Kapolei, Hawaii, shed tears when her title was known as, explaining later in a Zoom name with reporters that few athletes from her native island have a possibility to play Division I soccer.

“Bittersweet, it’s one thing I’ve been wanting, working in the direction of, a purpose of mine since I first began enjoying once I was 3 or 4,” Gomera-Stevens stated. “… I simply bought a bit bit emotional as a result of my dream got here true.”

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