The National Women's Soccer League held its 2022 expansion draft Thursday for the two new clubs being added to the league: Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC.
The clubs were allowed to "select one player from each NWSL team, and no more than one U.S.-allocated player in total from all teams," according to an NWSL release.
Four clubs had full protection from the expansion draft: the Chicago Red Stars, the Kansas City Current, Gotham FC and the North Carolina Courage. Caitlin Murray of ESPN explained that these teams earned full immunity "through a series of trades before last week's roster freeze."
Here's each pick made Thursday, along with a deeper look at the notable selections.
2022 NWSL Expansion Draft Results
1. Angel City FC - Dani Weatherholt, Midfield (OL Reign)
2. San Diego Wave FC - Kristie Mewis, Midfield (Houston Dash); traded to NJ/NY Gotham FC
3. Angel City FC - Claire Emslie, Forward (Orlando Pride)
4. San Diego Wave FC - Kristen McNabb, Defender (OL Reign)
5. Angel City FC - Jasmyne Spencer, Forward (Houston Dash)
6. San Diego Wave FC - Passed
7. Angel City FC - Paige Nielsen, Defender (Washington Spirit)
8. San Diego Wave FC - Passed
9. San Diego Wave FC - Kaleigh Riehl, Defender (Racing Louisville)
Dani Weatherholt is a defensive midfielder known for her steadiness and composure on the pitch. She will be a key in helping organize Angel City's back line. Depending on which international players land with Angel City, Weatherholt can also be used as a depth piece coming off the bench.
Angel City FC @weareangelcity
With our first pick in the 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft <a href="https://twitter.com/weareangelcity?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@weareangelcity</a> selects Dani Weatherholt from OL Reign. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/volemos?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#volemos</a><br><br>Congrats, <a href="https://twitter.com/daniweatherholt?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@daniweatherholt</a> <a href="https://t.co/M7hlbuak6A">pic.twitter.com/M7hlbuak6A</a>
Weatherholt joins a team that already includes Christen Press and Julie Ertz.
San Diego made a splash with United States women's national team member Kristie Mewis. She was set to join USWNT teammate Alex Morgan, who signed with the team Monday. But Mewis' time with the Wave was short-lived, as she was traded to Gotham FC after the draft.
There has been some speculation that Mewis will join Tottenham Hotspur on loan, but that remains to be seen.
The Wave also did a good job of solidifying its back line by selecting defender Kristen McNabb with its next pick.
Angel City made some sneaky-good moves with its next two selections, landing speedy forward Jasmyne Spencer and versatile defender Paige Nielsen. Spencer is a strong attacker and could fit as a starter or a spark off the bench.
Sandra 💙💯⚽️ @SandHerrera_
Jasmyne Spencer is someone who can either start or be a game changer off the bench. She is a smart front line option that plays fearlessly and attacks 1v1 while also stretching backlines with her off the ball movement and you need forwards like that in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NWSL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NWSL</a> in any capacity.
Nielsen can emerge as a key player on Angel City thanks to her ability to play multiple positions on the back end.
San Diego was apparently satisfied with the players it already landed and passed on back-to-back picks before adding a depth piece in defender Kaleigh Riehl.