cover photo belongs to Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Between the NWSL and MLS drafts from last week, a total of twelve goalkeepers were selected over 132 picks. Some teams came away from the weekend with significant gains in their goalkeeping core while some did little to help themselves. Here are three winners and losers from the draft weekend.
Houston Dynamo - By the time their 21st pick rolled around, Eric Dick (SKC) and Jeff Caldwell (NYC) were already taken off the board so perhaps Houston would have gone a different direction had they selected first. Regardless, they ended up with three goalkeepers by the end of the weekend, as two goalkeepers were signed to Houston's USL affiliate. Houston was able to fill out their goalkeeping core so quickly in large part to their first ever goalkeeper combine. The Dynamo were thorough in their research, worked with a variety of possible options, and brought in three known goalkeepers without any hanging questions over what they were getting.
Utah Royals FC - No one knows when the ageless wonder Nicole Barnhart will retire. The 36-year-old has played in all but 7 games in the NWSL's entire history and there aren't many signs of her slowing down. Assuming Barnhart will retire at some point, Utah now has a goalkeeper to turn the reins over to. The Royals were able to snag EJ Proctor despite only having two picks to their name. The Duke alum fell into Utah's lap late in the draft and they weren't sleeping when their pick came up. With a couple years of training under Barnhart, Proctor has the ability to grow into a trusted starter, if not a top name in the NWSL.
Minnesota United - Most backups in the league don't arrive with $175,000 in allocated money but Minnesota picked up Matt Lampson from Chicago with the added bonus. Lampson also comes in at a lighter price than last year's goalkeeper, John Albvage ($247,000). Lampson will probably sign for around $120,000, saving Minnesota a net $300,000 from last year's group of goalkeepers. For only having to move down twelve spots in the first round, Minnesota walked away with deeper pockets and a much stronger goalkeeping situation.
Seattle Sounders - To be fair, no one was expecting that many goalkeepers to be selected so quickly and Seattle were quickly left out in the cold. An unprecedented four goalkeepers were selected in the first round, right before the Sounders' pick. The Sounders only have two goalkeepers between their MLS and USL squads and still need three more. Seattle didn't pick up a goalkeeper with any of their three picks and their fourth-round pick they traded to DC went completely unused, as United simply passed on the draft's penultimate pick. Acknowledging some misfortune on Seattle's part, the Sounders still didn't utilize the weekend to help out their goalkeeping rosters.
Portland Thorns - The Thorns already have two reliable goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (2017 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year) and backup Britt Eckerstrom, who is currently playing in Australia over the winter break. The Thorns traded their 2019 third round pick on draft day to move up for Bella Geist. It'd be an understandable move if they hadn't sent two fourth-round picks for Eckerstrom less than a year ago. With only have two roster spots for goalkeepers, it's a waste of draft picks and ultimately one talented goalkeeper. One of the three goalkeepers isn't signing on for 2018 and the resources they used to obtain that goalkeeper will end up going to waste as well.
Colorado Rapids - The Rapids have a long tradition of mishandling young goalkeepers. If Zac MacMath's situation wasn't clear enough, the Rapids have drafted goalkeeper after goalkeeper, only to see them retire or land on another team's roster soon after. Over the twelve, now thirteen, goalkeepers the Rapids have drafted in their history, they've only seen a combined 53 appearances from the draftees. It's a long list of failed projects and Thomas Olsen doesn't seem set to change the course. Never a first-team goalkeeper in the West Coast Conference, (most recently losing out to Paul Christensen, who was still available in the third round) the U20 World Cup alum still needs help developing his aerial game (I'm a little skeptical of his listed 6'3" height) and not diving backwards when things get tight. There's a big project on Colorado's hands but if the Rapids are true to nature, they won't spend much time helping Olsen craft his game.