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Saturday, December 18, 2021


2022 NWSL Draft Takes Place Today at 2PM

I'll bet you didn't expect to see a soccer focused article in the middle of December. However, with the last basketball game coming on Thursday and the next tomorrow, both of those games are out of my purview, and, unfortunately, Louisville isn't in the volleyball championship match for me to preview. If, like me, you had to step away after the heartbreaking Louisville loss, let me inform you that Pitt also lost. So, instead of a potential All-ACC final, it's an All-B1G matchup. Given the details of DBK's new contract, I'm not sure if we want Nebraska to win so that they stay happy with their coach or lose so that he doesn't feel satisfied and want to retire. That match is tonight at 7:30 on ESPN2. (Also, if you're like me and use YouTube TV, you officially can't watch this due to the contract breakdown that pulled ABC and ESPN platforms off of the service effective immediately.)

Anyway, I intended this to be a soccer article, and I've gotten off track. After the NWSL Expansion Draft for the two new teams, Angel City FC and San Diego Wave, took place on Thursday, a flurry of trades happened yesterday to set up the full rookie draft today. Racing Louisville lost one player in the expansion draft, a defender to San Diego, after the Christen Press trade with Angel City prevented the team from LA from selecting any Louisville players. Racing had protected Emina Ekic and Emily Fox, among others, from potential selection by San Diego.

Last night, RLFC announced a trio of trades, with two garnering the most attention as they were effectively one move. The team traded Savannah McCaskill, a fan favorite, for the 6th overall draft pick, which did not make very many people happy. The team will not use that 6th pick this afternoon, though, as they turned around and traded it as well. With that trade, Louisville brings in Jess McDonald, the all-time assist leader in NWSL. McDonald has also won the NWSL championship three times and has a World Cup trophy. The veteran presence will help guide the young team and winning experience is always welcomed.

Racing Louisville will add to their youth today. The addition of the two California teams brought the league to 12 total, so today's draft will feature four rounds and 50 overall picks (there are 14 picks in the second round for whatever reason). Louisville will be busy early as they draft second and fourth. The team will have just one pick in each of the final three rounds, giving them five new players via draft. We'll see if they hang on to those two first round picks or try to leverage them into a known quantity from a different team.

As for why this all ties in to UofL, that's owed to Gabby Kouzelos. The super senior finished her sixth season with the Cards as the all-time leader in minutes played and shutouts earned. Louisville played 36 straight games in which she was in goal every minute, and she became the fifth Louisville goalkeeper to finish with more than 200 career saves. Her final tally of 257 gives her the fourth place ranking in team history. 

Hey look, she already knows how to wear purple!
Kouzelos is the only Louisville player on the NWSL draft eligibility list this season. The list includes 189 players vying for 50 available slots, so quick math tells you there's about a 30% chance she's selected. Of course, the math isn't quite so simple, as the teams will weight field players over goalkeepers due to flexibility. On the Top Drawer Soccer list of the top-30 players available for the draft, only one is a goalkeeper. Eighteen players on the eligibility list have goalkeeper as their sole position, with a handful of others including it in their list of positions. 

Gabby was a wonderful player for UofL in her time on campus. She was an exciting player to watch and a joy to speak to. I think I speak for the whole Cardinal Couple crew when I wish her the best of luck today and moving forward. The NWSL draft starts at 2:30PM and will stream on Paramount+ and CBS Sports HQ. 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

This week's show doesn't get to be quite as joyful as we're finally forced to cover a loss by UofL volleyball. Jeff and Jared were in Columbus for the match, so we'll hear from their first hand experiences. We've also got a pair of Louisville WBB wins over in-state foes to cover, as well as the matchup against UCONN to preview. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

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Until next time, Go Cards!

1 comment:

  1. This Nebraska Volleyball squad is going great guns at Wisc. They figured out the height disparity so far. Champions do that.

    Nick O.


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