Several players with state ties could hear their names called Thursday afternoon as the National Women's Soccer League holds its annual college draft in Los Angeles.
Midfielder Rose Lavelle (UW) surely will be selected by one of the league's 10 teams, and most likely very shortly after the draft begins at 2 p.m. (Watch live stream on Facebook or YouTube)
Chris Henderson of All White Kit has the three-time All-American ranked as the top player available in the draft, while Travis Clark of Top Drawer Soccer lists Lavelle second. Both writers have Lavelle being selected by the Boston Breakers with the No. 1 pick in mock drafts (All White Kit mock draft | Top Drawer Soccer mock draft).
Lavelle has starred for U.S. youth national teams and has been part of several full national team camps, though she is yet to earn her first cap. The Cincinnati native finished her UW career with 22 goals and 24 assists in 84 appearances (83 starts), and is tied for fourth in program history in assists, tied for seventh in games played and tied for fifth in starts.
A pair of players who have been teammates for many years, first at Cedarburg-based club North Shore United and then in college at Minnesota, also are projected to be among the 40 players chosen in the four-round draft.
Defender Rashida Beal (Germantown) is 26th in Clark's rankings and 32nd on Henderson's draft board, while midfielder Josee Stiever (Cedarburg) is ranked 27th by Henderson and 32nd by Clark. Beal was a second-team All-American and the Big Ten Conference Defender of the Year for the Golden Gophers last fall; Stiever had 21 goals and 20 assists in 86 career games and was a two-time all-region selection.
Midfielder-defender Morgan Proffitt (Marquette) is another possible draftee. The Columbus, Ind., native was the Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior last fall and finished her career with 10 goals and three assists in 85 games (83 starts). She is currently taking part in a U.S. Under-23 national team camp in Carson, Calif., and checks in at No. 44 in Henderson's draft rankings.
Forward Natasha Minor (De Pere) also is eligible for selection following a standout career at Southeast Missouri State. Minor, who played club soccer with Beal and Stiever at North Shore United, had 28 goals and 13 assists in 66 appearances (62 starts) and was a three-time, All-Ohio Valley Conference honoree for the Redhawks.
On Twitter: @roselavelle @joseestiever @MorganMorg09
- The Orlando Pride exercised their 2017 contract option on forward Sarah Hagen (Appleton North/UW-Milwaukee), while defender Cara Walls (Wauwatosa East/UW), midfielder Mary Luba (Whitefish Bay/Marquette) and goalkeeper Michele Dalton (UW) received new 2017 contracts from the Chicago Red Stars.
- Maegan Kelly (Marquette) was leading the Cypriot First Division with 16 goals through five matches for powerhouse Apollon Limassol. Kelly scored seven times in a 17-0 rout of Champions Ypsona on Dec. 4 for eight-time defending champion Apollon, which has outscored opponents 51-2 in winning its first seven league games. The team was eliminated from the UEFA Women's Champions League, falling to Czech side Slavia Prague 4-3 on aggregate in a two-leg series in October. Kelly started all three matches and had a goal and an assist as Apollon went 2-0-1 to win its qualifying group and earn a spot in the Round of 32. On Twitter: @maegskell
- Goalkeeper Genevieve Richard (UW) and Nojima Stella Kanagawa went unbeaten to win the Nadeshiko League Division 2 title and earn promotion to Japan's top women's league for 2017. Richard, 24, posted a 12-0-3 record and nine shutouts, allowing just six goals on the season, for Nojima Stella (14-0-4 ). The team also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Empress Cup. On Twitter: @gen_richard
- Defender Axel Sjöberg (Marquette) was named to the Major League Soccer Best XI after his breakout 2016 season for the Colorado Rapids. The 6-foot-7 Swede anchored the league's top backline (32 goals allowed) in his second professional season and added two goals and an assist in 31 appearances (all starts). Sjöberg, 25, was one of three finalists for the MLS Defender of the Year award in voting done by league players, club staff and media. On Twitter: @SjobergAxel
- Keeper Patrick McLain (Eau Claire Memorial) has a new home in MLS, after he was selected by Orlando City in Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft in December. In 2016, the 28-year-old made one appearance with the Chicago Fire and played one game on loan with Saint Louis FC in the USL. McLain previously has played for the Sacramento Republic, Orange County Blues and now-defunct MLS club Chivas USA. On Twitter: @PatrickMcLain24
- Daniel González, the former Argentine youth international who was the coaching director at Middleton-Yahara SC (now Rush Wisconsin) from 2005 to '08, is back in MLS. He will serve as the goalkeeper coach under new Los Angeles Galaxy coach Curt Onalfo. González held the same role with the Colorado Rapids from 2000 to '03 and with Chivas USA from 2010 to '12, and was the keeper coach for Onalfo with USL side LA Galaxy II the past two seasons.
- Three players with Wisconsin ties are eligible for selection in Friday's 2017 MLS SuperDraft, and two are goalkeepers: Logan Ketterer (Racine Prairie School), who played at Bradley, and Casey Beyers (UW). Ketterer, who posted 12 clean sheets and a 1.37 goals-against average in 51 college appearances, was ranked fifth among college senior keepers by Bill Reno at Everybody Soccer following the fall season. Defender Eric Schoendorf (Delafield/Waukesha Catholic Memorial), who played for FC Linköping City in Sweden's fourth-tier Division 2 Södra Svealand last season after completing his career at Loyola (Ill.), also is eligible.
- Defender Boubacarr Sylla, who played with the Croatian Eagles in the Premier League of America last summer, is on trial with USL club Tampa Bay Rowdies. The 25-year-old Sylla, who played professionally in France and earned two caps for his native Mali, logged the final 20 minutes in the Rowdies' 2-0 loss to German Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg in a friendly Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Tampa Bay faces Brazilian Serie A side Atlético Mineiro in another friendly Saturday.
- Four players with state ties were part of the Midwest Region team that won the National Premier Soccer League Showcase earlier this week at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Drew Ruggles and Chris Kurth (Green Bay Southwest/UW-Oshkosh) of the Milwaukee Torrent and Aaron Wagner (Eau Claire Memorial/Viterbo) and Erik Altenburg (Hartland Arrowhead/UW-La Crosse club) of La Crosse Aris FC were among the 15 players on the Midwest squad, which rallied past the West 2-1 in Monday's final after outlasting the Northeast 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Sunday's semifinals. Coaches and scouts from MLS, USL and North American Soccer League clubs attended the third annual event. On Twitter: @d_ruggles16 @KurthMaGerth20
- Midfielder Declan Rodriguez (UW-Milwaukee), who had five goals and five assists for the Torrent last summer, is in the Netherlands on trial with several clubs. On Twitter: @Drod_06
- Keeper Alex Horwath (UW) re-signed with Norwegian side SK Brann for the 2017 season. The 29-year-old made four appearances in all competitions for Brann, which finished second in the top-tier Tippeligaen last season.
- Striker Andrija Novakovich (Muskego) has gotten off to a great start in 2017, with three goals in two matches with the Reading Under-23 team in England. The 20-year-old had a pair of goals in a 4-2 home win over Southampton last Friday in a Premier League 2 game (watch highlights), then found the back of the net again Tuesday as the Royals lost 4-2 to host Yeovil Town in an EFL Checkatrade Trophy third-round match (watch highlights). Novakovich has seven goals in 19 appearances (all starts) in all competitions with the Reading Under-23 team this season. On Twitter: @AndrijaNovakov3
- Midfielder Laurie Bell (UW-Milwaukee) recently signed a dual contract with a pair of non-league clubs in his native England, Macclesfield Town and Hyde United, which allows him to play with both teams. Macclesfield Town is in the National League, which is the fifth division and a combination of fully professional and semi-pro clubs, while Hyde United plays in the eighth division in the Northern Premier League Division One North. The 24-year-old Bell is coming off an excellent season in the fourth-tier Division 2 Södra Svealand in Sweden, where he scored 10 goals in 24 appearances (all starts) for Karlslunds IF HFK last year. On Twitter: @LBellBell
- It was a painful end to the season for Matt Pyzdrowski (Marquette) and Helsingborgs IF, as they allowed goals in the 86th and 89th minutes and lost to Halmstads BK 3-2 on aggregate in a promotion-relegation series in November in Sweden. Helsingborg (8-17-5) finished 14th in the top-tier Allsvenskan during the regular season and were relegated to the Superettan for 2017 after the two-leg series against Halmstad. Pyzdrowski, 30, had a 1.27 goals-against average, four clean sheets and a 5-7-5 record in all competitions in his second year with Helsingborg.
- Carl Schneider (Madison La Follette/UW) is set to return to Swedish club IFK Åmål in 2017 after helping the team win the Division 4 Bohuslän/Dalsland last year. The versatile 24-year-old signed with the club in August and was impressive at center back over the final 10 matches as Åmål (16-4-2) earned promotion to the fifth-tier Division 3 Västra Svealand for this season. On Twitter: @c7schneider
- Carlos McCrary, who played three seasons with the Madison 56ers in the NPSL, has nine goals for Sportfreunde-Seligenstadt in 19 appearances (13 starts) in the German fifth division. The 25-year-old McCrary is tied for 12th in the league in goals for Sportfreunde (7-8-5), which stands 10th in the 17-team Hessenliga. The league is on a winter break, with play to resume Feb. 25. On Twitter: @CarlosMcCrary