Thorns FC select defender Emily Sonnett with first overall pick in 2016 NWSL College Draft

BALTIMORE, Md. – Portland Thorns FC selected defender Emily Sonnett from the University of Virginia with the first overall pick in the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft and defender McKenzie Berryhill from Arizona State University in the third round (No. 21 overall) Friday morning at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md.

Additionally, Thorns FC traded the third overall pick, which was acquired in an earlier trade with Sky Blue FC, along with the fourth spot in the Allocation Ranking Order and future considerations to the Boston Breakers in exchange for the first spot in the Allocation Ranking Order.

Sonnett, 22, was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy and a nominee for the Honda Sports Award in 2015 during her senior season at the University of Virginia. Currently in camp with the U.S. Women’s National Team, Sonnett earned her first international cap with United States on Nov. 25, 2015, starting and playing 90 minutes in a 3-1 win against Brazil at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. The Marietta, Ga., native is the second consecutive player from the University of Virginia to be selected first overall in the NWSL College Draft (Morgan Brian, 2015).

Sonnett closed out a decorated collegiate career in the fall, helping lead the Cavaliers to a 19-1-3 overall mark and a fourth consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, anchoring a backline that posted 15 shutouts. A First-Team All-American and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Defensive Player of the Year in 2015, Sonnett was also named the ESPNW National Player of the Year in her final season.

“Emily is a special talent and a fantastic person off the field,” said Thorns FC coach Mark Parsons. “I’ve had the opportunity to watch her throughout her college career and she is extremely intelligent and technically gifted with the focus, drive and a skill set that will help her become a top professional in this league.”

A two-time First-Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selection, Sonnett appeared in 97 career games (89 starts), tallying 11 goals and nine assists in four seasons for the Cavaliers. As a junior, she helped lead Virginia to the 2014 NCAA Women’s College Cup Final and was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player at the College Cup.

Berryhill, 22, was a four-year starter at Arizona State University, logging six goals and four assists in 76 career games (65 starts) for the Sun Devils. One of the top defenders in the Pacific-12 Conference, the Phoenix, Ariz., native garnered First-Team All-Pac-12 and NSCAA First-Team All-Pacific Region honors as a junior in 2014.

“McKenzie has exciting potential and is a versatile defender,” said Parsons. “She is very tough to play against and possesses great technical ability.”

As a senior, Berryhill tallied career-high marks with three goals and three assists in 18 appearances. A team captain for ASU during the last two seasons, Berryhill was called into training camp with the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team in June 2014.

Emily Sonnett
Position: Defender
Height: 5-7
Born: Nov. 25, 1993
Hometown: Marietta, Ga.
College: University of Virginia

McKenzie Berryhill
Position: Defender
Height: 5-8
Born: March 24, 1993
Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.
College: Arizona State

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