The National Women’s Soccer League held its draft Thursday, with two UConn Huskies selected.
Rachel Hill was picked 14th overall by Portland Thorns FC. Hill went into her senior season regarded as one of the best players in the country, coming in a No. 6 on All White Kit’s Preseason Big Board.
Last season, Portland was the best team in the regular season, finishing with a record of 12-3-5. They owned the largest goal differential at +16.
Hill brings electric speed up top along with the versatility to play multiple positions at forward and midfield. She played center striker and won AAC Offensive Player of the Year her sophomore and junior seasons. Her senior season, Hill earned AAC Midfielder of the Year after a positional switch.
The Rollinsford, New Hampshire native finished her career as one of the best to ever play for UConn. Her 61 career goal total is second all-time in program history.
Stephanie Ribeiro heard her name called just three picks later, at 17th overall, by Kansas City FC. No player boosted her stock more this season than Ribeiro, who went from a not being “an elite offensive talent” to being one of the premier offensive threats in this draft class.
Kansas City finished in the middle of the pack with a 20-7-8 record. Picking a scorer such as Ribeiro makes sense for them as they were second-to-last in goals scored with just 18 all season.
While Ribeiro doesn’t have fantastic speed, she makes up for it with her technical abilities. She’s capable of dribbling through defenders while also making precise passes across the field.
During her senior season, Ribeiro led the nation in goals, total points and game-winning goals while finishing in the top five nationally in points-per-game, goals-per-game, total assists and assists-per-game. She was named AAC Offensive Player of the Year, as well as AAC Forward of the Year and First-Team All-AAC.
With only 10 teams in the NWSL, each team plays each other at least twice, once at home and once on the road. This means that Ribeiro and Hill will play at the Boston Breakers at least once, which will be a homecoming game for both players.