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The 11 Most Memorable NWSL Trades, No. 5: Sophia Smith leaves Stanford early after Thorns trade for top pick in 2020 Draft

Photos courtesy Orlando Pride and Portland Thorns

The National Women’s Soccer League has completed its 11th year of operation, which makes it a good time to look back at 11 memorable trades that have helped shape the league.

The NWSL is no stranger to blockbuster deals, some of which have lived up to their billing while some have fallen flat (remember Sydney Leroux to the Flash for a first-round pick and the rights to Abby Wambach?). Still others have helped set precedents that live today.

Between now and the end of the year, The Equalizer will bring you one memorable NWSL trade per day.

No. 5 – Portland Thorns FC acquire No. 1 pick in NWSL draft in exchange for Emily Sonnett, the No. 7 and No. 14 picks, and the rights to Caitlin Foord. (Jan. 8, 2020)

Over the 11-year history of Portland Thorns FC, they hold a rather interesting distinction. The Thorns have drafted No. 1 overall more times (2) than they have missed the playoffs (1). The most recent occurrence was 2020 when, realizing they were languishing behind the standard set by the North Carolina Courage, the Thorns embarked on an on-the-fly rebuild. The fruits of that dramatic move have already been born. In 2020, the gold at the end of the rainbow was Sophia Smith.

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