Bywaters selected first overall by Chicago Red Stars

The Equalizer Staff January 18, 2013 31

UCLA forward Zakiya Bywaters was drafted No. 1-overall by the Chicago Red Stars. (Photo Copyright: Patricia Giobetti |

INDIANAPOLIS — UCLA attacker Zakiya Bywaters was part of history on Friday, the Chicago Red Stars making the 21-year-old the first pick in the NWSL College Draft.

Bywaters, the 2012 Pac-12 Player or the Year, was a first-team NSCAA All-American and semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, posting a 15-goal, four-assist season in Los Angeles.

The Las Vegas native represented the United States at the 2010 CONCACAF U-20 championships in Guatemala and was a two-time all Pac-12 selection. She also made three appearances for the U.S. U-23 team in 2012, recording one goal and one assist.

[RELATED: Chicago surprises with first pick]

Tiffany McCarty (Washington), Kirstie Mewis (Kansas City) and Lindsi Linsonbee-Cutchall (Sky Blue) rounded out the top four, with Casey Short (Boston), Adrianna Franch (Western New York), Christie Nairn (Seattle) and Kathryn Williamson (Portland) also selected in the first round.

The University of Florida saw four players selected, with fellow-Sunshine State school Florida State placing three players in the draft. Defender Kathryn Williamson was the first Gator selected at No. 8, with former teammaters Erika Tmyrak, Holly King, and Jo Dragotta chosen in later rounds. Seminoles McCarty and Short were joined by goalkeeper Taylor Vancil, who went in the third round to the Red Stars.

Boston College, Penn State, Stanford, and Wake Forest also had multiple players selected.

Starting with Oklahoma State’s Franch at No. 6, five goalkeepers were selected in the 32-player draft, including with the day’s last two picks. Michigan’s Haley Kopmeyer and Pepperdine’s Roxanne Barker are now expected to backup Seattle’s Hope Solo and Portland’s Karina LeBlanc.

[RELATED: Spirit stay local with FSU’s McCarty]

The first player from the national champion North Carolina Tar Heels was not selected until the 24th pick when U.S. U-23 midfielder/defender Amber Brooks, recently signed to Frauen-Bundesliga club Bayern Munich, went to Thorns FC.

The draft, which took place at the annual NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis, added four players to rosters originally stocked by Friday’s allocation. Teams will fill their remaining roster slots through free agency.

First round

1. Chicago Red Stars – Zakiya Bywaters, F, UCLA
2. Washington Spirit – Tiffany McCarty, F, Florida State
3. FC Kansas City – Kristie Mewis, M, Boston College
4. Sky Blue FC – Lindsi Linsonbee-Cutshall, D, BYU
5. Boston Breakers – Casey Short, M/D, Florida State
6. Western New York Flash – Adrianna Franch, G, Oklahoma State
7. Seattle Reign FC – Christine Nairn, M, Penn State
8. Portland Thorns FC – Kathryn Williamson, D, Florida

Second round

9. Chicago Red Stars – Rachel Quon, D, Stanford
10. Washington Spirit – Caroline Miller, F, Virginia
11. FC Kansas City – Erika Tmyrak, F/M, Florida
12. Sky Blue FC – Kendall Johnson, M/D, Portland
13. Boston Breakers – Mariah Nogueira, M, Stanford
14. Western New York Flash – Amy Barczuk, M, Colorado
15. Seattle Reign FC – Mallory Schaffer, M, William and Mary
16. Portland Thorns FC – Nicolette Radovcic, F, Central Florida

Third round

17. Chicago Red Stars – Taylor Vancil, G, Florida State
18. Washington Spirit – Holly King, M, Florida
19. FC Kansas City – Whitney Berry, M/F, Kansas
20. Sky Blue FC – Ashley Baker, G, Georgia
21. Boston Breakers – Jo Dragotta, D, Florida
22. Western New York Flash – Victoria DiMartino, F, Boston College
23. Seattle Reign FC – Kristen Meier, M, Wake Forest
24. Portland Thorns FC – Amber Brooks, M/D, North Carolina

Fourth round

25. Chicago Red Stars – Jen Hoy, F, Princeton
26. Washington Spirit – Colleen Williams, M, Dayton
27. FC Kansas City – Nia Williams, D, Missouri State
28. Sky Blue FC – Becky Kaplan, F, Maryland
29. Boston Breakers – Maddy Evans, M, Penn State
30. Western New York Flash – Jackie Logue, D, Wake Forest
31. Seattle Reign FC – Haley Kopmeyer, G, Michigan
32. Portland Thorns FC – Roxanne Barker, G, Pepperdine

  • randomhookup

    One correction in spelling: It’s Nicolette Radovcic

  • Thirteen

    Williamson went to Florida. They had four players selected.

  • andreas

    sorry thorns fc, amber brooks is play for bayern münchen.
    und bitte nicht uli hoeness verärgern.

    • Steglitz49

      Thanks for drawing our attention to that (“U-23 midfielder/defender Amber Brooks, recently signed to Frauen-Bundesliga club Bayern Munich, went to Thorns FC”). What happens now? Why draft someone who is joining a famous team (which, incidentally, already has 3 Americans)?

      OK. The German ladies’ league plays a winter season but the DFB-pokal final is on 19th May and the league usually starts on the first W/E in September. I suppose the Thorns might employ her June to early August?

      • vert2013

        That’s how they got her. If she wasn’t playing in Germany I think she would have gone 1st round. I think it was a good pick, she’s a great player and will only miss the beginning of the season.

        • Steglitz49

          I would have taken her first round. If she is good enough for Bayern, then she is good enough for me. But, heck, what do I know?

          Does anyone — Andreas? — know how much Bayern are paying her? More than enough, presumably.

      • randomhookup

        Rumor has it that Brooks has an out clause that would let her leave at the end of May. And, in American leagues, you retain the rights to someone for the future. If she comes back in 2 years, the Thorns would have 1st pick.

        Remember, to be drafted, she had to apply, so she willingly put her name in for consideration. The chance to play with Morgan & Sinclair may be too tempting to pass up.

        • Steglitz49

          If Ms Brooks helps Bayern clinch second place in the league and thus qualify for the CL, then no doubt the Kaiser, Hoeness and the rest of the top brass will have enjoyed great return on their investment. Should she also help them retain the DFB-pokal then their cup runneth over.

          Ms Brooks would no doubt pick up a tip or two from the Magic Dwarf while in Munich, not to mention all the other great players, female as well as male.

  • Cosmos

    Tiffany McCarty, Caroline Miller, Holly King and Colleen Williams for Washington. Great draft and much offensive power for the Spirit in my opinion. In conjunction with their allocated defensive strength they have a very strong team so far.

  • vert2013

    I’m still a little baffled at how Chicago and Washington passed up Mewis and Nairn and how Miller didn’t go until the 2nd round. Also, WNY was allocated a GK from Mexico yet they used their top pick on a GK…that’s going to be awkward.

    • Steglitz49

      Maybe they will convert one of them into a defender or midfielder? I agree it seems asinine.

      • Kayla

        Getting Franch in the 6th round was a complete steal for WNY. Flash got the short end of the stick when it comes to GK’s in allocation. Their needs were simple: GK and defenders. And they did just that.

        • Steglitz49

          I might have seen if I could get a locally living basketball player come and play for me and train her in goal-keeping.

          Seeing that this league has no relegation, unlike the foreign leagues where the two bottom teams are sent down, coming last or second in the first season is still losing. I would have taken my medicine and played my Mexican goalie, and used the first season to improve a back-up. I would have trusted the Mexican FA to have sent someone reasonable.

          If nothing else, it would have been a diplomatic move that would have earned me some bargaining chips to trade with the federation.

    • They scouted who they thought would be the best forward for them. I’m usually more of a talent first, needs second person in the first round, but when you have a lot of needs plus probably a lot of free agent stuff going on behind the scenes your choices might seem odd at first. I’m happy it became Seattle’s fortune. 🙂

      A second or third string GK from Mexico might be far from starting goalkeeper quality out the gate. Franch is a great pick for them and more than deserves being picked in the first round.

      • Steglitz49

        If you do not play your DPs, what happens then? After all, the three federations are paying their salaries so they would expect value for money, ie playing time.

        Apart from injuries and drastic loss of form, goalies tend to play every match. It is an unusual position and they tend to play long careers.

        • I think it was well known that backup keepers from Mexico weren’t guaranteed starters and that federations had little say in who got to play, what position they play, etc. The NT players are not considered DPs. That said, if another keeper wins the spot over Franch they deserve it. They will figure it out during training camp. May the best keeper win.

          • Steglitz49

            Why should back-up keepers from Mexico be treated differently from back-up keepers from USA and Canada?

            Unless a team is prepared to alternate keepers, like the Nadeshiko, it is difficult to get play-time as the alternate. That does not matter so much in wealthy men’s clubs who pay their 2nd and 3rd string goalies decently.

          • USWNT keepers are deep. Most could start on other NT. Most would have gotten more burn if Solo wasn’t so undeniably unique. Backup keepers from Mexico not in same class. They are getting a shot though. Survival of the fittest. Keepers are used to that.

          • Steglitz49

            You might not be so sanguine and philosophical if you were Mexican. The Mexican FA were originally only committed to 12 players but were persuaded to raise to 16, a 33% increase in costs to them.

            It goes without saying that USA has strength in depth. For 20 years now USWNT has been a top performer, though not so dominant as in ladies’ basket, as witness Japan and Germany having been world champions since 2003.

            The most important item of this first season is that it looks good. To an uneducated public lots of goals is what matters, Matches finishing 4-3 in injury time like the last Algarve Cup final are exciting. A couple of weak goalies may not be such a bad thing, therefore, at this stage.

          • I haven’t been sanguine a day in my life. I’m a fan of good goalkeeping and not stifling better players for the sake of drama. Last thing I’d want is a superior, young keeper benched for reasons she can’t escape. Non-honest reasons like the artificial drama you suggest. Might as well bench Hope then. That would add drama.

          • Steglitz49

            Soccer is part of the world wide entertainment industry as witness that 485 million TV viewers watched the men’s FA Cup final. The TV viewing figures for the men’s CL final are even higher — and the figures for last year’s ladies CL final were not bad either. This is pertinent because it has just been reported that Harris’s club Duisburg, who won the CL in 2009, are in serious financial difficulties and may go bankrupt.

            The number one priority for the NWSL is to ensure the financial security for the new league. A third failure would be disastrous. You must keep the current payers on board till you can find others who will pay. Ask Harris’s team. If they are insolvent, they get relegated 2 divisions. Goodbye. Mexico’s FA are paying for 2 players per team. Keep them sweet.

            Play this first season must not just be of high quality but be entertaining and exciting so that the stands are full and more sponsors come on board and the league is secured and can expand. In Europe a few more men’s teams have learnt from Lyon and are upping their support for their women’s side. There are no such sugar-daddies for the NWSL. *

            You can’t afford to bench Hope Solo because she is a star. Only Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach have such star power.

            *) To put the money into some context, using the Forbes figures for 2012 (but before the earnings of the FA cup & CL finals are inluded) Lyon’s revenues were $193m. Bayern Munich who signed Ms Brooks had $466m in revenues. Chelsea and Liverpool, who have broken ranks in England are signing foreign players — Liverpool bought Whitney Engen– had revenues of $362m and $295m. There is considerable concern in Europe, because there is no salary cap, that the ladies’ game will become very skewed.

          • Its like talking to wikipedia. You say bad goalkeeping is good for entertainment. For me it would make me eat my hat. If Franch is better than the allocated NT keeper she had better start. That is all.

          • Steglitz49

            You obviously have much more interesting conversation partners than I do.

            I do not think that we disagree. We simply look at the issue from different angles. Maybe my spectacles make me see the world up-side-down and back-to-front?

            What is the primary objective? At this stage I see a collective one: to establish the NWSL on a sound footing. That is the only thing that matters, the only thing that counts.

            Obviously, one team will win the league. That goes without saying. What we cannot have is needless and avoidable friction. How is the NWSL helped by murmurs of discontent that one of the federations that invested in this venture feels discriminated against?

            Belgium and Holland were not able to run their own women’s leagues. They now have a joint competition this season. Briefly, the top teams in each country’s leagues play a second stage against each other, that is, it is not a common league like the NWSL. The NWSL is a unique experiment. Let’s root for the league to flourish.

          • randomhookup

            At the Olympics, I think half the teams had a (at one time) US-eligible GK on the squad.

          • Steglitz49

            Jack Charlton as manager of Ireland pioneered the concept that a player was eligible for Ireland as long as their grandmother had owned an Irish wolfhound.

            At the London Olympics, Sweden agreed to play Japan at 12:00 noon essentially at the request of Japanese TV. The match was most entertaining, though how Sweden managed to hang on to a nil-nil draw was beyond me.

            There are not just goalies but other players eligible for USA who play for other NTs. Long may it last.

        • randomhookup

          The powers-that-be have said that the feds will not dictate playing time. We’ll have to see about the other GK. She is 28 and has 36 caps. Could be a good competition between the 2.

          • Solo got drafted as a strong GK prospect and didn’t get much playing time her first year and only year due to (mutter-mutter) circumstances so it isn’t always clear cut. But since this is the first season of a new league I’d think everyone had a fair shot to prove themselves and earn positions.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Solo went to Gbg and played 19 of 22 games for them in a season. Then she moved to Lyon for a while. As I understand it she has made more games for the NT than all her clubs together, a bit unusual, but somewhere along the line she became an outstanding goalie.

  • Steglitz49

    How did Washington Freedom get into the 3rd and 4th round?

  • LetsGetReal

    It’s crazy and shows the lack of depth in this senior class, when so many GKs were taken. Still absolutely shocked. backup GKs and pool/free agent GKs would still be good enough over some of these senior GKs. I bet players like Val Henderson, Brittany Cameron, etc would be just as good.

    • Steglitz49

      Verily. Wasted opportunities.

      It is easy to forget that the 1970 Dream Team had a weak goalie.