Five Trojans Selected in the 2017 NWSL Draft|
Jan. 12, 2017
LOS ANGELES -- Five Trojans off the 2016 national championship squad were selected in the 2017 NWSL Draft, the most Trojans taken in any professional women's soccer league draft, and the most selected from any program in Thursday's draft at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Downtown LA.
Midfielder Morgan Andrews, a New England native, is headed to her hometown team, the Boston Breakers as the third overall pick. She is the highest USC pick in a professional league draft since Amy Rodriguez was selected first overall by the Boston Breakers in the 2009 WPSL draft. The Trojans went back-to-back as defender Kayla Mills was the fourth overall pick to Sky Blue FC, while teammate Mandy Freeman rounded out the top 10, also drafted to Sky Blue FC. The three first round selections were the most of any program. Forward Katie Johnson was taken in the second round, 16th overall to the Seattle Reign, while goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme was taken in the fourth round, 31st overall to Boston, where she will be reunited with teammate Andrews. Prudhomme was just one of three goalkeepers to be drafted.
The only previous USC player to be drafted in an NWSL Draft was Elizabeth Eddy, who was drafted as the 33rd overall pick in the 2014 draft by Sky Blue FC. Eddy is still playing the NWSL, but for the North Carolina Courage (previously Western New York Flash, the reigning NWSL champion).
Andrews, the highest Trojan ever to be drafted in an NWSL Draft, capped an outstanding senior season, where she was one of three finalists for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy Award. She was named to the 2016 NCAA Women's College Cup All-Tournament Team while helping to win the program's second national championship. The Milford, N.H., native assisted on the game-winning goal in the national semifinal vs. Georgetown and scored the first goal of the match in the national final against West Virginia, a game the Trojans went on to win 3-1. Andrews was named a second team NSCAA All-American for the second-straight season, after earning her second NSCAA All-Pacific Region first team mark. She was named a TopDrawerSoccer Postseason Best XI Second Team, while earning Hero Sports 2016 All-American midfielder honors. First Team All-Pac-12 for the second-straight season as the Trojans finished second in the Pac-12. Andrews started all 25 games, finishing tied for first the team with 10 goals and was second with 24 points (10 goals, 4 assists). She finished second on the team with four game-winning goals. Scored in seven different games, three of those being multi-goal outings. Andrews has a knack for coming up big in big games, none bigger than her second-minute finish in the national championship vs. West Virginia. She also scoring two goals, including the game-winner on Oct. 6 as the Trojans upset then-No. 1 Stanford 3-0. Andrews also scored the game-winning goal against then-No. 8 North Carolina on Sept. 11 as the Trojans upset the Tar Heels 3-0. She also tallied two goals at Oregon on Sept. 29th and two goals against Eastern Washington in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Freeman, the 2016 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, capped off her outstanding season by being the 10th overall draft pick to Sky Blue FC. Freeman became the third Trojan taken in the first round, the most of any program. In 2016, Freeman earned the first All-American honors of her career as she was named an NSCAA Second Team All-American. The 2016 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Freeman also earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors. She assisted in 16 shutouts on the season to put USC eighth in the nation in shutout percentage. USC led the Pac-12 in goals against average at 0.47 throughout the regular season. USC finished the regular season with 47 goals scored and nine goals allowed, the second-best goal differential in the league. During the team's magical national championship season, the Trojans only allowed 11 goals in 25 games. In her career, Freeman appeared in 89 games, starting 87 of those games. She is a two-time All-Pac-12 First Team honoree. She was a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, going above and beyond off the pitch with community service, leadership and academics (2016 Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention selection).
Katie Johnson was the next to hear her name called, as she was selected in the second round, 16th overall to the Seattle Reign. Johnson is the first Trojan to ever be drafted to the club. A member of the full Mexican National Team, with experience in the 2016 Olympic Qualifying, Johnson made a name for herself in the College Cup, scoring three of the Trojans' four goals en route to the program's second national championship. She scored the winning goal in the semifinal 1-0 victory over Georgetown and added the game-winner in a 3-1 victory over West Virginia in the final. She was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player of the College Cup. Her 24 career goals rank in the top 10 in USC program history, with 10 of those goals coming in 2016 as she tied for the team lead in finishes. Five of those goals came in Pac-12 play as she was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention.
Rounding out the Trojan draft picks was senior goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme, who was taken in the fourth round, 31st overall by the Boston Breakers. Prudhomme will reunite with teammate Andrews on the other side of the country. The Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year, she led the league in virtually every goalkeeping statistic, individually being credited with 15 of 16 team shutouts (she shared one with backup keeper Julia Murphy). Those 15 shutouts set a new individual goalkeeper shutout record. She also led the team to a school-record seven-straight shutout victories. The Aliso Viejo, Calif., native started all 25 games between the pipes and had a miniscule goals against average of 0.43. She recorded 106 saves for a .906 save percentage, ranking in the national top 10. A 2015 All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection, she upped that to be named 2016 All-Pac-12 First Team this season. A communication major, Prudhomme also excels in the classroom, as she was named a CoSIDA District 8 First Team All-Academic selection, along with earning NSCAA Scholar honors.
Other Trojans that have been drafted to play professionally in the U.S. include Amy Rodriguez and Ashley Nick, who were both selected to the Women's Professional Soccer League in the 2009 draft. Rosa Anna Tantillo was not drafted, but later joined the FC Gold Pride in the same league. Rodriguez was the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft, going to the Boston Breakers. Nick was the 56th overall pick, also selected by the Breakers.When the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) was in action, USC had Ali Fennel selected 23rd overall by the Washington Freedom. In 2000, USC had Kim Clark selected 57th overall by the Bay Area CyberRays and Tara Koleski selected 83rd by the Chicago Spirit.
Andrews, Mills, Freeman, Johnson and Prudhomme will join four other Trojans who currently play in the NWSL. Amy Rodriguez competes with FC Kansas City, Samantha Johnson with the Chicago Red Stars, Elizabeth Eddy with the North Carolina Courage and Caroline Stanley with Sky Blue FC.
The 2017 NWSL season will begin in April.