BALTIMORE, Md. – Portland Thorns FC selected forward Sophia Smith from Stanford University with the first overall pick in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft, forward Morgan Weaver from Washington State University with the second overall pick and defender Meaghan Nally from Georgetown University in the third round (No. 25 overall) on Thursday morning at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md.
To acquire the second overall pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, Thorns FC traded their two second round picks (No. 15 and No. 16 overall) in the 2020 draft and allocation money to the Chicago Red Stars. In addition, Portland acquired the rights to a player to be named later from Reign FC in exchange for their fourth round pick (No. 34 overall) in the 2020 draft.
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Smith, 19, arrives in Portland after helping guide Stanford to the 2019 NCAA Championship in her sophomore season. In two seasons with the Cardinal, Smith appeared in 33 games (27 starts), recording 24 goals and 11 assists. During her two seasons at Stanford, Smith was named Second Team All-Pac 12 in 2018 and 2019.
“It has been a key priority to bring a player of Sophia’s qualities to Portland for multiple years,” said Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons. “Sophia is a tremendous person with great maturity and a strong work ethic. Her intelligence and quality on the ball is complimented by her electrifying pace and desire to punish the opposition’s backline in various ways.”
In 2019, Smith tallied 17 goals and nine assists in 21 matches (17 starts) for the Cardinal. In the NCAA Tournament, Smith started all six matches, recording seven goals and four assists. In the semifinal round of the College Cup against UCLA, Smith scored a hat-trick to help Stanford secure a spot in the title match. For her performance in the tournament, Smith was tabbed the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the College Cup and was also named to the All-Tournament team.
At the international level, Smith has featured at the U-23, U-20, U-18 and U-17 levels for the United States and has been called into camp with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Most recently, Smith participated in training camp with the USWNT in Tampa, Fla. from Jan. 5-15 ahead of Concacaf Olympic qualifying, which begins on Jan. 28.
The 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, Smith was part of the U-17 team at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World and was also on the roster at the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, scoring three goals in the U-20 tournament. She finished her career with the U.S. U-20s with 23 goals in 27 appearances.
Weaver, 22, joins Thorns FC after tallying 43 goals and 12 assists in 85 appearances (85 starts) as a four-year starter at Washington State University (2016-19). Weaver, who was named a Third Team All-American in 2019 by the United Soccer Coaches and a Second Team All-Pac-12 honoree, logged a career-best 15 goals and five assists in 24 appearances (24 starts) during her senior campaign en route to guiding the Cougars to the semifinals of the 2019 College Cup.
“It was a tremendous opportunity to be in a position to acquire a player of Morgan’s quality,” said Parsons. “She’s had an incredible six to 12 months, showing the physical, technical and tactical qualities of someone that has an extremely bright future. We are getting someone who has no ceiling and brings an incredible mentality to how she plays the game.”
The University Place, Wash., native registered 13 goals and four assists in 20 appearances (20 starts) for Washington State in 2018. During her junior campaign, Weaver earned First Team All-Pac-12 honors. In 2017, Weaver was named to the All-Pac-12 third team after making 22 appearances (22 starts) and tallying seven goals and two assists. In her freshman season in 2016, Weaver was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team after leading the Cougars with eight goals and adding an assist in 19 appearances (19 starts).
At the international level, Weaver was called into the USWNT’s identification camp in December 2019 and has played multiple times for the U.S. U-23s, including playing for the U-23s in the Thorns’ Spring Invitational in 2018 and 2019.
Nally, 21, played four seasons at Georgetown University (2016-19), where she made 88 appearances (66 starts) and registered eight goals and six assists. One of the top defenders in the BIG EAST Conference, the Herndon, Va., native garnered BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2018 and 2019, while she was named a Third Team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches in 2018. Additionally, Nally claimed First Team All-BIG EAST honors in 2018 and 2019.
“Meaghan is an absolute warrior. She has a ‘beast mode’ mentality in the way she approaches growth and development and how she approaches defending attackers,” said Parsons. “She’s a special individual who can play multiple positions in the backline and we are excited to bring her to Portland.”
Born: Aug. 10, 2000
Hometown: Windsor, Colo.
College: Stanford University
Born: Oct. 18, 1997
Hometown: University Place, Wash.
College: Washington State University
Born: June 30, 1998
Hometown: Herndon, Va.
College: Georgetown University