Red Stars acquire forward Rachel Hill, select five players in the 2020 NWSL College Draft
In a day full of deals, the Red Stars made USC defender Julia Bingham their first pick.
It all happened so fast.
Within minutes of the opening of the 2020 NWSL College Draft on Thursday, the Red Stars did a lot of trading but didn’t do any selecting.
The Red Stars started the day by trading away their fourth and fifth picks in the first round plus allocation money to Sky Blue FC for its No. 2 and 3 picks. Coach Rory Dames said making that trade was a priority.
They wouldn’t keep those picks long before trading the No. 2 pick to Portland for picks No. 15 and 16 plus allocation money.
Five minutes later, the Red Stars sent their newly acquired No. 3 pick plus the No. 26 pick to Orlando in exchange for forward Rachel Hill, allocation money, the No. 19 overall pick and the Pride’s first-round pick in 2021.
The allocation money was a huge factor for the Red Stars and Dames, who are playing the long game.
The Red Stars finally made a selection with the 15th pick, choosing defender Julia Bingham out of USC. With the No. 16 pick, they picked Camryn Biegalski, a defender out of Wisconsin and Glenbard East.
“I probably got two hours of sleep last night,” Dames said. “I would say the 40 minutes before the draft, and the first 20 minutes after the draft started was a bit chaotic. But then it settled in, and we were very surprised Julia and Cam fell that far.”
The Red Stars finished the draft selecting Virginia’s Zoe Morse with the 19th pick, Duke’s Ella Stevens with the 24th pick and Yale’s Aerial Chavarin with the 35th pick.
Dames said he traded away the first-round selections because he didn’t think any players available could crack the starting 11. He thought a more valuable way to use the picks was to invest in a little insurance for his star players.
Dames couldn’t say exactly how the allocation money would be used or how much his team acquired.
“There’s at least one expansion team coming for sure, if not two or three next year,” Dames said. “To be able to have that to protect your current players and your current roster is always a good thing.”
Coming off a 2019 NWSL Championship appearance, Dames feels the Red Stars are in a great position.
But there’s still the question of how they plan to replace Sam Kerr’s production.
Hill rounds out a group of three forwards, including Makenzy Doniak and Kealia Ohai, who were brought in to take on that challenge. Last season they combined for seven goals, while Kerr had 19.
“We targeted three forwards that were currently in the league that we wanted to bring in and Rachel was the third,” Dames said. “We wanted Makenzy [Doniak], we wanted Kealia [Ohai] and we wanted Rachel. Now we have them.”