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Boyds, Md., (2/10/20) – The Washington Spirit have signed all five of the club’s picks from the 2020 NWSL College Draft, as well as an addition at goalkeeper.
The players, Ashley Sanchez (4), Natalie Jacobs (13), Averie Collins (17), Katie McClure (23), Kiaya McCullough (32), were drafted across all four rounds of the draft in Baltimore on January 16. Katie Lund, the second goalkeeper on the Spirit roster, was an undrafted free agent from Arkansas.
Sanchez was the Spirit’s first selection of the day, selected with the fourth overall pick in the draft. Sanchez was a highly-touted United States Women’s National Team youth international, as she appeared for the U-14, U-15, U-17, U-20 and U-23 teams. The forward became the first-ever player in US history to play in multiple World Cups in the same year after captaining the US at the U-17 Women’s World Cup and playing in the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016.
Collegiately, Sanchez played in 24 games for UCLA in 2019, making 23 starts. In her 1,807 minutes of game time, the 20-year-old scored seven times and earned 15 assists. Over her 69 game career with UCLA, Sanchez scored 23 goals and created 42 assists.
Jacobs, the Spirit’s second selection, played collegiately at the University of Southern California and Notre Dame. Jacobs never missed a single game during her time with the Trojans, making 84 appearances and 74 starts. Jacobs displayed impressive utility, appearing as a defender, midfielder and attacker.
For the US, Jacobs holds over 40 US Youth National Team caps from the U-17 level through U-23’s, including the 2016 U-20 World Cup. During Jacobs’ stint with the U-20 team in 2016, she played every minute of World Cup qualifying action and was named to the CONCACAF Best XI.
Collins, the Spirit’s third pick of the day, won three straight Pac-12 championships during her three years at Stanford. The midfielder won the 2017 National Championship as a junior with the Cardinal alongside Spirit players Andi Sullivan, Tegan McGrady and Jordan DiBiasi. Collins finished her Stanford career with 10 goals, five assists, and 25 points before transferring to Washington State for her final season, where she made it to the Final Four.
McClure, the Spirit’s fourth pick, played at Kansas, for all four years of her collegiate career. The former Jayhawk had a stellar senior season in which she 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.
McCullough, the Spirit’s final pick of the day, hails from UCLA where she started all but one game during her college career. McCullough finished her college career with 76 consecutive games started. Her 92 career starts rank tied for fifth in UCLA history. The defender 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) during her senior campaign.
Lund, the Spirit’s newest addition to the goalkeeping unit, enjoyed an award-laden four-year collegiate career at Arkansas. In 2019, the 6’1” keeper was named to the All-Southeast Region Second Team, 2019 All-SEC Second Team and 2019 SEC All-Tournament Team. Lund ranked ninth-best in the nation with 11 shutouts and led the SEC in save percentage at 0.871%.
Jacobs, Collins, McClure, McCullough and Lund signed two year contracts with a team option for the second year, while Sanchez signed a three year contract with a team option for the third year.
This is the second consecutive year that the Spirit have selected five players in the draft, then subsequently signed all five. During the 2019 preseason, the Spirit drafted and then signed first-round picks Jordan DiBiasi, Sam Staab, Tegan McGrady and Dorian Bailey, and second-round pick Bayley Feist.
Hometown: Pasadena, Calif.
Hometown: Coto de Caza, Calif.
College: University of Southern California
Hometown: Bozeman, Mont.
College: Stanford / Washington State University
Hometown: Wichita, Ka.
Hometown: Mission Viejo, Calif.
Hometown: Plano, Tx.