Two Nittany Lions Selected In 2018 NWSL Draft
Following Penn State women’s soccer’s Big Ten title and run to the Elite Eight in 2017, at least two Nittany Lions will make the jump to the professional ranks after getting selected in the National Women’s Soccer League Draft on Thursday afternoon.
With the 10th pick in the first round, the North Carolina Courage selected forward Frannie Crouse — a 2016 All-Big Ten first team honoree and the 10th-highest goal-scorer in program history with 37. She scored just four goals in 2017 after suffering an arm injury in the middle of the season, but was still the highest Penn State player selected this year and fourth Nittany Lion all-time taken in the first round.
The Washington Spirit took defender Brittany Basinger in the third round with the 21st pick. The outside back was a two-time co-captain that was rarely beaten on the defensive end, but managed to make her presence known on the flanks of the attacking third with nine career assists. She also featured on the United States’ U-20 World Cup team in 2014.
Centerback Elizabeth Ball was on the preliminary list of eligible players for this draft, but did not get selected. She’ll likely have a chance to join an NWSL club during the preseason in late February. The 2017 co-captain also earned a spot on the 2016 All-Big Ten first team for locking-down a young defense in conference play. She also had a knack for scoring on set pieces in her career — finishing with nine goals.
Each member of the trio played a major role in bringing home the 2015 NCAA Championship — the program’s first and only national title. Crouse scored three goals in the tournament, including one in the College Cup semifinal, to earn a spot on the all-tournament team, while Basinger and Ball anchored a backline that didn’t concede a single goal in all six tournament games.
With Crouse and Basinger’s selections, Penn State is just one of three college programs (alongside Stanford and Virginia) to have a player taken in each of the six NWSL Drafts in history. They will join a plethora of Nittany Lions who are making their names at the highest level of the professional club game.