Four Gators chosen in NWSL draft

Four Florida seniors were among the opening three rounds of selections in the first National Women’s Soccer League’s draft, held Friday at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention in Indianapolis.

Kathryn Williamson, who earned All-America honors in 2010 and 2011 for her play at center back, was a first-round pick by the Portland Thorns FC. Her 2012 collegiate season was shortened due to a right meniscus tear suffered versus Florida International. She returned to play to appear in each of Florida’s three NCAA matches. This summer, Williamson played with the W-League’s Ottawa Fury. The Fury claimed the 2012 W-League title with a penalty kick decision over the Pali Blues and Williamson was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 W-League Final Four.

Two-time All-American and 2012 Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year Erika Tymrak was selected in the second round by FC Kansas City. In 2012, Tymrak was Florida’s leader in goals (9), assists (12) and points (30). She finished third on Gators’ career charts in assists (40), sixth in points (104), tied for seventh in game-winning goals (11) and eighth for goals (32).

Both of Florida’s defensive midfielders were third-round picks. 2012 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year Holly King was selected in the third round by the Washington Spirit. Jo Dragotta also was a third-round draft selection by the Boston Breakers. Dragotta joined King and Tymrak on the 2012 All-SEC and NSCAA All-South Region first teams. King posted a career-high five goals in 2012. Dragotta tied for second among Florida’s 2012 goal scorers (7) and was third in points (18).

On Jan. 11, the NWSL announced the allocation of 55 National Team players to the eight clubs (23 from U.S., 16 each from Canada and Mexico). Four with Gator ties were among the 55.

Two members of Florida’s 1998 NCAA Championship team and longtime members of the U.S. National Team, Heather Mitts and Abby Wambach, were among the U.S. player allocated. Mitts is part of the Boston Breakers team and Wambach is a member of the Western New York Flash in her hometown of Rochester, N.Y. Both were members of the U.S.’s gold medal team at the 2012 Summer Olympics. It was the third Olympic gold for Mitts and second for Wambach, who missed the 2008 Olympics with a broken leg. Earlier this month, Wambach was named FIFA Ballon d’Or 2012 or the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.

Adriana Leon joins Mitts in Boston. Leon transferred to Florida for the 2012 season, missing the opening three matches as she played with the Canada at the FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup in Japan. She chose to take the opportunity to be among Canada’s allocated players, ending her collegiate eligibility. Leon turned in five goals for the Gators this season.

Another with Florida ties among Canada’s allocated players is three-time All-American Melanie Booth. She was part of Canada’s bronze medal team at the 2012 Olympics. Booth will play for Sky Blue, which is located in New Jersey.

Courtesy of UF Communications