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Thursday Roundup: NWSL Draft to be held January 18, will be open to public

Also in today’s roundup, Alex Scott announces this will be her final season at Arsenal and Ashleigh Sykes heads to Canberra United

after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Spirit at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 2014. (Photo by Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

NWSL has officially announced January 18 as the date of the league’s sixth college entry draft. The festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. EST at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will be open to the public. The date of the draft was first reported by Dan Lauletta of The Equalizer. The draft is part of the United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA) convention in Philadelphia. It will be held in the CC Grand Ballroom.

The Washington Spirit hold the top selection and are widely expected to use it on Stanford’s Andi Sullivan who recently won her 5th cap with the United States. The Spirit also hold the 6th pick and four the first 16. The Spirit and Red Stars hold seven selections including three 2nd rounders for the Red Stars. On the flipside the Pride and Reign are currently in possession of only one pick. The Pride have traded all of their picks and hold the Dash’s 3rd rounder, No. 23. The Reign hold only their 4th round pick, No. 36 overall.

The 2018 draft will be the third held in Philadelphia. Crystal Dunn (2014) and Morgan Brian (2015) were selected No. 1 overall in Philadelphia.

The current NWSL draft order is:

1st round
1. Washington Spirit
2. Boston Breakers
3. Houston Dash
4. FC Kansas City
5. Sky Blue FC
6. Washington Spirit (from Seattle Reign FC via Chicago Red Stars)
7. Chicago Red Stars
8. Portland Thorns FC (from Orlando Pride)
9. Portland Thorns FC
10. North Carolina Courage

2nd round
11. Washington Spirit
12. Houston Dash (from Boston Breakers via Seattle Reign FC)
13. Chicago Red Stars (from Houston Dash)
14. FC Kansas City
15. Sky Blue FC
16. Washington Spirit (from Seattle Reign FC)
17. Boston Breakers (from Chicago Red Stars)
18. Chicago Red Stars (from Orlando Pride)
19. Chicago Red Stars (from Portland Thorns FC)
20. North Carolina Courage

3rd round
21. Washington Spirit
22. Boston Breakers
23. Orlando Pride (from Houston Dash)
24. Houston Dash (from FC Kansas City)
25. Sky Blue FC
26. Washington Spirit (from Seattle Reign FC)
27. Chicago Red Stars
28. Houston Dash (from Orlando Pride)
29. Chicago Red Stars (from Portland Thorns FC)
30. Houston Dash (from North Carolina Courage)

4th round
31. Washington Spirit
32. Boston Breakers
33. Houston Dash
34. FC Kansas City
35. Sky Blue FC
36. Seattle Reign FC
37. Chicago Red Stars
38. North Carolina Courage (from Orlando Pride via Portland Thorns FC)
39. North Carolina Courage (from Portland Thorns FC)
40. North Carolina Courage

Alex Scott leaving Arsenal at season’s end

Alex Scott has announced that she is leaving Arsenal at the end of the current FA WSL season. The 33-year old made the announcement Thursday at the Sports Women of the Year awards in London.

Scott, who plied her trade for the Boston Breakers in WPS and has been an English international, did not specifically say she was retiring as a player. However she has a budding career as an analyst and could be ready to make the jump full-time.

The announcement comes on the heels of Arsenal parting ways with manager Pedro Martinez Losa earlier this week. The club is off to a 1-1-1 (4 pts) start to the season and sit sixth, a world away from top dogs Chelsea and Manchester City.

Ashleigh Sykes returns to Canberra to round out squad

On Wednesday Canberra United announced that Ashleigh Sykes would be returning to the squad on loan from the NWSL Champions Portland Thorns for the 2017/2018 W-League season.

Sykes, 25, has played for Canberra since its inaugural season in 2008/2009 when she was just 17 years old. Last season, she beat out Sam Kerr for the W-League’s Golden Boot, tallying 12 goals to help her team earn its third Premiership, or regular season title. She previously won the Julie Dolan Medal for Season 8 of the W-League.

Joining Sykes at Canberra is former Seattle Reign defender Kendall Fletcher, who left the NWSL ahead of the 2017 season to pursue an Advanced Diploma in Ministry at the Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney. During the 2016/2017 NWSL offseason, Fletcher was a member of the Western Sydney Wanderers, one of four W-League clubs she has played with before her most recent signing with Canberra.

Canberra kicks off Season 10 of the W-League on Saturday, October 28 against Melbourne Victory, but will have a large obstacle to overcome: the squad will be missing six players who will be away on youth national team duty with the Young Matildas, who qualified for the U-19 Asian Football Confederation semifinals on Monday.

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