20210114 nwsl draft through trophy
Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Thorns

The night that was: Remembering Thorns FC's 2021 NWSL Draft

Whether you're watching from home or working in a team's command center, your team's draft day can seem chaotic. Picks, trade talk, the firehose of information fired from each selection. Part of why live drafts have become so popular is because they're too, too much. But they can definitely feel like too much.

So if you missed every nuance of Portland Thorns FC's 2021 NWSL Draft, don't worry. ThornsFC.com understands. Our goal was to give you too much content, and honestly, by the end of the night, it felt like overkill.

But we still want you to have access to everything. That's why we've added everything here, in chronological order of its creation, so that you can relive the draft day experience on your own time. And, if there was a moment that felt special to you, you'll know where to find it in the future.

So from top to bottom, start to finish, here's the 2021 NWSL Draft that was for the Portland Thorns:

The night:

(Click to skip to event.)


Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-Portland Thorns

The scene at the KeyBank Club

For over an hour at the start of the draft, the Thorns' key decision makers — President of Soccer Gavin Wilkinson, head coach Mark Parsons, assistant coach Rich Gunney — sat patiently through delays, trades, timeouts and ... well, sometimes it wasn't clear what was holding the night up.

Moving up to No. 6

But shortly after the draft reached its second hour, the Thorns decided to move, trading up one spot to take the player that sat at the top of their draft board.

Welcoming Yazmeen Ryan

That player was Texas Christian's Yazmeen Ryan, an attack-minded player who is also capable of playing almost only position in central midfield.

"She's dynamic, she's good not the dribble — she's tough to pin down," the NWSL's Lori Lindsey said. "She can wiggle her way out of any sort of trouble.

She also has quite the right foot ...

... and was joined by, oh, a friend or six to celebrate the occasion.

That occasion didn't begin when the broadcast announced her name. Moments before league commissioner Lisa Baird revealed Portland's pick to the world, Parsons revealed the selection to Ryan.

After talking to Ryan, Parsons sat down to share the agony of waiting for her to fall.

Ryan also joined ThornsFC.com's Jake Zivin to get a first glimpse of "RYAN" across a team jersey ...

... before sharing the moment on her own terms.

Welcoming Sam Coffey

As was the case with their night's first pick, the Thorns were left thankful a midfielder they wanted fell. This time, that midfielder was Penn State's Sam Coffey, who could continue the legacy of Nittany Lions playing at Providence Park.

One Nittany Lion in particular took notice and was thankful for her shoutout.

Like Ryan before her, Coffey got her chance to say "hello" to the Thorns' draft room ...

... before doing the same to the NWSL's Jordan Angeli.

"A difference-maker," is how Parsons described Coffey, adding that she is "someone on the dribble who can twist and turn."

After navigating the night's virtual mixed zone, Coffey joined Richard Farley for her own virtual reveal ...

... and then, as a final word, was able to speak directly to her new fans.

Welcoming Amirah Ali

The night's third pick was from another school the Thorns know well, Rutgers University, with Portland selecting forward Amirah Ali.

"A really good, athletic profile," were the first words assistant coach Rich Gunney used to describe Ali, marvelling at "that goal-scoring threat, that attacking threat in the final third."

And of course, Ali had her own moment to speak to Portland.

Parsons on broadcast

Between Portland's third- and fourth-round picks, Parsons joined the league's Twitch stream, where the Portland's fortune over the night's first selections still was foremost in his thoughts.

Welcoming Hannah Betfort

With their night's final choice, Portland went defense, added a Demon Deacon to their backline's options.

As for what that option entails, Gunney lauded Betfort's versatility and quality on the ball.

And if Betfort's selfie video is any hint, she won't lack the confidence to compete at the next level.

Parsons: Night in Review

And at the end of the night, once the draft table had cleared, Parsons stopped by to give us his verdict on the Thorns' haul.

As Parsons noted, teams are always happy with their drafts. After all, every time a team selects, they get a chance to pick their top player on the board. But the Thorns were particularly happy on Wednesday night, and if that feeling translates on the field, memories of the 2021 Draft will also be moments that changed the club's future.

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