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Jaelin Howell was selected second overall in the NWSL draft by Racing Louisville FC.
This makes her the third Colorado native to be drafted in the top three in league history.
In 2019, Highlands Ranch native Jordan DiBiasi was taken third overall, while fellow Fossil Ridge alum Sophia Smith was the No. 1 selection in 2020. Now, Howell joins that list after a decorated career at Florida State.
The midfielder captained the Seminoles to their third NCAA national title in four seasons this fall, which was also Howell’s second national championship. She already has one Mac Hermann trophy for the best player in women’s college soccer for the spring 2021 season, and she is a finalist for this season’s edition as well.
Howell was a workhorse at FSU, starting 86 out of a possible 90 games. The United States Women’s National Team came calling, as she earned her first cap in a friendly against the Netherlands last November, and second cap in the SheBelieves Cup against Argentina in January.
USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski spoke highly of Howell recently, telling the site Just Women’s Sports;
Jaelin is a talented young player with a lot of good qualities, She’s always very competitive and great in the team environment. We’ve enjoyed working with her during the few times we’ve had her in with the national team.he said.
Howell was a consensus top pick, but ultimately, expansion side San Diego Wave FC chose central defender Naomi Girma from Stanford first overall.
Howell should fit in well with Louisville, where she will play alongside fellow Colorado native Lauren Milliet from Durango, a Colorado College alum.
Jaelin has many qualities that will help Louisville to help maintain possession and relieve pressure, I think the question for Jaelin is, she needs to be challenged. Watching what she can do will be really interesting and it will be fun to see her evolve. She’ll have to take control of the reins immediately.”The former USWNT player Aly Wagner said on Saturday’s CBS broadcast.
The rest of the draft takes place Saturday, and five Colorado natives could also be selected from a list of 189 draft-eligible players. They include Aurora native Natalie Beckman out of the University of Denver, Grand Canyon University’s Hannah Edwards from Aurora, Colorado Springs’ forward Athena Kuehn from LSU, Loveland High School’s Emerson Layne, and Sydney Pulver, a Parker native who attended Washington State.
Three players who played college soccer in Colorado are also eligible: Haileigh Adams and Shanade Hopcroft from CU, and Jacqueline Hand from Colorado College.