This is the time of the year where we start to look ahead at the possibilities of the offseason. Although this is definitely too early, considering the draft list will change once undergrads declare and players declare to go overseas.
Let's face it. Finding information on women's college soccer is very, very hard. Our good friends over at Soccer Dossier do an amazing job putting a lot of effort into rankings and analysis. You can see all their hard work here: https://soccerdossier.com/
Here is a link for the entire first mock draft:
What Gotham FC fans think is the top priority:
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Here are some positional considerations for Gotham FC as they head into the offseason.
Forwards: Purce (28), Gonzalez (30), Williams (30), Stengel (31), T. Smith (29), Onumonu (29) are all signed for next season.
Midfielders: Young starting trio Martin (25), Sheehan (24), Ryan (24). But an older roster behind them. Long (36), Mewis (32), Farrelly (33), Zerboni (36). Interesting note. Taryn Torres (24) is a promising midfielder who is out of contract at end of season and is recovering from an ACL tear. resigning her may help balance the midfield and give depth.
Defenders. Bruninha (21), Nighswonger (22), Lopez (28) are about as solid as it gets. Who is going to fill that Krieger sized hole in the backline? Logical choice would be Kristen Edmonds (36). But has Jean (26) impressed enough to earn a second contract? Is Mandy Freeman (28) on the outside looking in? Thin depth at left outside back if Dorsey (27) doesn't re-sign.
Betos (35) is a free agent. A. Smith (30) looks to return. However, Haught (24) should be a high value target for either expansion team or any team looking for a franchise keeper.
Mock draft results:
#9: Eva Gaetino, CB, Notre Dame
Gaetino is a regular for the USWYNT U-23. Frankly she is the best center back prospect in this draft with a sharp drop-off after that. Standing 5-11, she can provide height to pretty short backline and be a target on set pieces. Has 4 goals and 3 assists in 2023.
From Notre Dame Bio:
The anchor of Notre Dame's stout backline, Gaetino has started in every game since arriving in South Bend. She's also coming off a breakout year in 2022 in which she was named ACC Defender of the Year (the program's first). She also was dubbed a First Team All-American and a Mac Hermann Trophy Semifinalist."
#23: Anna Haddock, M, Auburn
Haddock is a versatile midfielder who can play in a variety of positions. She is a good passer, dribbler, and defender. She is also a good set-piece taker. Another USWYNT U-23 player. High soccer IQ player who is also the SEC Scholar-athlete of the year in 2023. Captained the Tigers the past two seasons. Not afraid to take shots from anywhere. Has 4 goals and 6 assists so far in 2023.
#25: Leah Freeman, GK, Duke
Top keeper in the draft class. Broke all kinds of records at Oregon before transferring to Duke for senior season. Was Oregon's all time leader in shutouts (18) and goals against average (1.05). Is on the Herman Trophy watch list as one of college soccer's top players.
This pick will give Gotham much needed keeper depth. It's a mock draft and people may not be willing to take a keeper. Silkowitz, last drafts top keeper went in the second round Freeman could absolutely go higher. It's possible that if Gotham wants her they will have to move up. I'm very lucky she's here at 25.
Top center back and keeper in the draft is a nice haul. Gotham FC's biggest need is in central defense. They have a number of talented midfielders and attackers, but they lack depth at outside back and youth at center back. Gotham has also not been effective on set pieces despite having Mewis and Nighswonger who provide some of the league's best service. Gaetino checks a lot of boxes.
Haddock could provide leadership and depth. If Torres re-signs that would give the team 5 dynamic young midfielders. Lopez could also can play in the midfield.
Keeper could be an are of great concern if Betos and Haught do not return. Freeman could be a good one for the future.
These 3 would give Gotham a lot of flexibility and depth. But at this point we have to see what underclassmen announce their intention to declare. We also need to see how bad the damage from the expansion draft is.
It is possible I could have gotten Freeman in the 2nd and Haddock in the 3rd. But a lot is going to change. Can't wait to see the progression of these mock drafts. Stay tuned. If Gotham got both Freeman and Gaetano. you can shut down the draft. They already won.