BALTIMORE (1/16/19) – It was a busy day for the Spirit at the 2020 NWSL Draft as the team made a total of five selections despite beginning the draft with just two.
The Spirit began the draft with a blockbuster trade to acquire the fourth overall pick in the draft in a trade with Sky Blue FC. Washington also received the number 4 and 8 picks in the second round of the 2020 draft, as well as a first-round pick in the 2021 Draft. The Spirit sent Mallory Pugh to Sky Blue in exchange for the picks.
The Spirit then selected forward Ashley Sanchez with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft.
Sanchez, a UCLA alum, played in 24 games for the Bruins in 2019, making 23 starts. In her 1,807 minutes of game time, Sanchez scored seven times and earned 15 assists. Over her three year career with UCLA, Sanchez scored 23 goals and created 42 assists.
Next, the Spirit drafted Natalie Jacobs with the 13th overall pick from Sky Blue.
Jacobs was a staple in the starting XI at Southern California, as she never missed a game during her collegiate career. Jacobs made 87 appearances, starting 74 times. Jacobs contributed heavily on the attacking end during her career, scoring 26 goals and earning 23 assists.
With the final 2020 pick secured from Sky Blue, the Spirit drafted Averie Collins 17th overall.
Collins played at Stanford during her first three years in college before transferring to Washington State University for her final year. Collins was a part of three-straight Pac-12 championships in three seasons for Stanford and won the 2017 national championship with the Cardinal as a junior.
During Collins’ senior year with Washington State, she started all 24 games of the season, scoring six goals and creating five assists over 1,559 minutes of work.
The Spirit drafted Katie McClure with the club’s natural third-round pick, the 23rd overall pick in the draft.
McClure, from Kansas, had a stellar senior season for the Jayhawks. McClure made 25 starts, scored 17 goals and notched nine assists over 1,775 minutes of work. The Wichita native earned two hat-tricks in 2019, putting three past Nebraska and Xaiver.
With their natural fourth-round pick and final pick of the day, the Spirit drafted Kaiya McCullough 32nd overall.
The defender comes from UCLA, and earned multiple honors during her senior year as a Bruin. The Mission Viejo native was named Second-team All-Pac-12 and was selected to Top Drawer Soccer’s Team of the Week three times (Oct. 29, Nov. 25, Dec. 3).
McCullough started all but one game and finished her career with 76 consecutive games started. Her 92 career starts rank tied for fifth in UCLA history.
At the conclusion of the draft, the Spirit selected five players: Ashley Sanchez (4), Natalie Jacobs (13), Averie Collins (17), Katie McClure (23) and Kaiya McCullough (32).