The Houston Dash were big winners at the 2023 NWSL Draft held in Philadelphia on Thursday. The Dash began the day landing one of the best scorers in the NWSL last season and then added four more draft picks.
After getting Ordonez plus the 30th overall pick in exchange for the eighth overall pick plus cash, Houston's natural first rounder in 2024 and a 2023 international roster spot, they went to work on the draft board.
With the 20th pick, they chose Harvard midfielder Sophie Hirst who made 56 starts in 60 collegiate career appearances. The Seatlle, Washington native tallied 10 goals and 12 assists over her four year career.
Two picks later, they grabbed University of South Carolina defender Jylissa Harris. The Gamecock defender set the NCAA D1 record for most minutes played in a collegiate career with 9.395. Harris mae 105 starts in 107 appearances scoring 16 goals to go along with 11 assists.
In the third round, Houston general manager Alex Singer was wheeling and dealing again sending the 30th pick from the Ordonez deal to the Washington Spirit's 32nd pick and $30,000 in allocation money. Singer then turned that into the 36th pick and another $20,000 in a deal with the Portland Thorns FC.
With pick number 36, Houston chose Conroe, Texas native Lindsi Jennings. The LSU defender made 32 starts in 40 appearances in two seasons after transferring in from Northern Colorado and Mississippi State where she had played previously.
Fittingly enough, Houston closed out the 2023 NWSL Draft choosing UCLA defender Madelyn Desiano. The San Clemente, California native anchored the 2022 NCAA D1 champion's backline. With her stout play, UCLA recorded 14 shutouts in 2022 and their lowest goals against average (0.55 GAA) since 2014.
“The day kicked off with a bang with the Diana Ordóñez trade and that was incredibly important for us,” Dash general manager Alex Singer said. “We were very prepared, and we checked every box that we wanted to check. I am very pleased with how the day panned out. Our coaches are very pleased with who we were able to select, they are great people with great characters and I’m
excited to get this group together and see what happens in 2023.”
If Houston was not the preseason favorite to win their first ever NWSL title before Thursday night, they should be now.