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North Carolina's Emily Fox, Washington State's Trinity Rodman go 1-2 in NWSL draft


U.S. international Emily Fox and Trinity Rodman, daughter of former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman, went 1-2 in the NWSL draft Wednesday evening.

Expansion Racing Louisville FC took Fox, a defender-midfielder from the University of North Carolina, to open the virtual draft. The 22-year-old Fox is currently in camp with the U.S. team, looking to add to her three senior caps.

Canadian international forward Deanne Rose was taken by the North Carolina Courage with the final pick of the first round, 10th overall. The 21-year-old from Alliston, Ont., has won 48 caps for Canada with nine goals and eight assists.

Rose, who won bronze at the 2016 Olympics, had 16 goals and six assists in 42 games over three seasons with the Gators.

University of Wisconsin midfielder Victoria Pickett, a 24-year-old from Barrie, Ont., went in the second round (15th overall) to Kansas City.

Fox started all 69 of her appearances for the Tar Heels with two goals and 20 assists.

The 20-year-old Rodman then went to the Washington Spirit. The U.S. youth international has yet to play a collegiate game due to the pandemic after joining the Washington State Cougars as a freshman last fall.

Sky Blue FC took North Carolina midfielder Brianna Pinto third before trading the fourth pick to Kansas City for US$175,000 in allocation money. Kansas City, formerly the Utah Royals, then selected Stanford defender-midfielder Kiara (Kiki) Pickett.

Racing Louisville went local with the fifth pick, taking University of Louisville midfielder Emina Ekic. The Louisville native is a former ACC Offensive Player of the Year.

Louisville came into the draft with 19 players, obtained via the expansion draft, waiver or by trade.

The Chicago Red Stars traded the sixth pick to the Portland Thorns, who used it on TCU midfielder Yazmeen Ryan. Chicago got an international spot for 2021, plus the seventh and 32nd pick, in return.

Thanks to a waiver obtained by the NWSL from the NCAA, players drafted have until Jan. 22, 2021 to decide whether to report immediately to their NWSL club or at the conclusion of the spring NCAA season.

The league also expanded the eligible pool for the draft, waiving the requirement for “senior” collegiate athletes to register for the draft and automatically making all players who exhausted three years of intercollegiate soccer eligibility prior to the 2020-2021 academic year eligible.

Some 50 others registered for the draft, including University of Memphis forward Clarissa Larisey of Ottawa.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press