The Michigan Hawks would like to wish Courtney, Zoe and Natalie the best heading into the NWSL Draft this week. #DreamBig

The 2020 Edition of the NWSL College Draft is nearly here, as the best of college soccer looks for a chance at the next-level.

This year’s draft class received a boost of quality with the expected news — while yet to be officially announced — that Ashley Sanchez and Sophia Smith will leave school early to enter the NWSL.

Both players slot into the top five of the TopDrawerSoccer Big Board, with Smith likely to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Portland Thorns. Portland swung a deal last week to move atop the draft order and are expected to grab the Colorado native.

Who are some of the other top prospects available? Below is the TopDrawerSoccer Big Board for the NWSL Draft. Stats and highlight vidoes are embedded for those that posted them. (Full article with highlight videos at )


10. Courtney Petersen – LB – Virginia

Stats: 78 games, 5 goals, 12 assists

Arguably the best outside back in the entire draft class, Petersen’s position and ability to fit a need right away could see her go very high on draft day. Like just about every player at Virginia, she’s a good passer of the ball and can defend well enough to make an immediate contribution. Just how good of a one-on-one defender she is against better attackers will factor into just how good she can be. Even if she struggles at left back, there’s a chance she could be an impact player on the left wing.

11. Zoe Morse – CB – Virginia

Stats: 85 games, 4 goals, 3 assists

Another of Virginia’s senior quintet to head into the draft as one of the top prospects on the board, Morse could certainly be considered as the second-best central defender behind Riehl. Great with her passing, UVA’s undoing last fall proved to be handling the pace and power of Washington State. Should that reflect poorly on Morse? Probably not, but the U.S. youth national team veteran will need to show she can stick against the higher paced attackers the league will throw at her.


29. Natalie Winters – CM – Iowa

Stats: 77 games, 15 goals, 13 assists

A solid-and-steady performer at Iowa, Winters helped the program to a stellar 2019 campaign. While nothing she does pops off the page, if she can hone in on one or two traits and slot in centrally as a defensive midfielder, then there’s a solid chance that she could stick. Given the scarcity of prospects, if Winters proves that she can handle the demands of the No. 6 role in the league, she’ll have a pathway to a very solid career in the league.