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Sights and sounds from an NWSL Draft glowing with hope and growth

Top picks reflect the increasing youth movement across the sport

Photo Copyright Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reporting from the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season was an emotional one. We saw the end of an area with the retirement of beloved stars like Ali Krieger, Megan Rapinoe, and Julie Ertz. We watched their final goodbyes to the league featuring all the appropriate fanfare and celebration. We witnessed major growth: a year-over-year attendance increase of 26%, new media deals, and expansion to the Bay Area and a return to Utah for 2024. And Kansas City Current built the first stadium created specifically for an NWSL team.

The 2024 NWSL Draft in Anaheim, CA on Friday night glowed with the hope that can only be expected after such an exciting year, and on the brink of another one. 

The NWSL Championship set records in November with over 25,000 in attendance, and even though primetime viewership technically declined to 817,000 this number is made murky by streaming. But for a league that needs capitalize on the momentum it’s been building, the hope is clear: that the draft will become another moment to engage fans, build hype, and improve visibility. Friday night, they were able to do just that, with the event televised on ION.

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