Over 50% of Players Selected in 2024 NWSL Draft Are USYS Alumnae – 7 from Cal South

Official Press Release – usyouthsoccer.org

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 12, 2024) More than half of the players selected during the 2024 NWSL Draft on Friday night in Anaheim, Calif., are US Youth Soccer alumnae.

Four of USYS’ most notable programs — ODP, National League, National Championship Series, and Presidents Cup — were well represented among the draftees. The Olympic Development Program had 26 alumnae, while National League (12) and the National Championship Series (11) also had long lists of former participants. Additionally, Racing Louisville’s fourth round pick, Sam Cary, has refereed multiple US Youth Soccer events, including the 2019 National Championships in Overland Park, Kan. In total, 33 of the 56 players chosen had ties to the largest youth sport organization in America.

North Carolina’s Ally Sentnor, selected first overall by the Utah Royals, got her start with US Youth Soccer before her first involvement with the United States Youth National Teams in 2016. Sentnor’s talent was visible during her days with USYS in ODP, National League and National Championship Series events. She led her South Shore Select team to a 2015 USYS Region I Championships appearance, pacing her 13-and-under age group with six goals during the event, and is one of the many ODP Thanksgiving Interregional participants to reach the professional ranks.

When asked about her past experiences with US Youth Soccer, Sentnor shared what her mindset was at a young age.

“I really just played for fun, and I still do that. Once I got called into my first youth national team camp, I was like, ‘Oh, this is awesome. This can be a real thing for me.’ All of the opportunities that have come along have been incredible, and I’m just trying to take advantage of all of them.”

Stanford’s Kennedy Wesley is another first round pick who believes US Youth Soccer set her up for success early. Like Sentnor, Wesley’s time with ODP was critical in her development as she grew up in the Golden State’s competitive locale and believes it will help her as she joins the San Diego Wave FC.

“With So Cal, obviously, there are a ton of talented people that we’ve seen come out of there so far who are going to have really fantastic pro careers,” Wesley said. “The super competitive environment that Southern California can bring will translate to the professional career. You’re always fighting for a spot on the field and playing time, but ultimately it creates the best environment for you to grow in so many ways. Technically, tactically, every bit about the game, I think my upbringing will help me.”

BYU also celebrated a special night on Friday as five players — the highest number for a single draft in program history — were selected. Olivia Wade-Katoa joined fellow Cougars Brecken Mozingo, Jamie Shepard, and Laveni Vaka as US Youth Soccer alumnae to hear their names called. Mozingo and Shepard are two former members of the storied Utah Celtic team that had a dominant run to the 2019 USYS National Championships.

As a former participant of ODP, National League champion, and National Championship finalist and three-time Best XI selection, Wade-Katoa looked back fondly of her time with USYS and credited it with preparing her well.

“I feel like playing at those levels really did introduce you to the best of the best throughout the country. Playing in those leagues, playing against some of the best has really helped me develop into the player and person that I am, and it really has helped prepare me for this next step in going pro. I’m super thrilled about how that experience helped me.”

Below is a list of all US Youth Soccer alumnae selected in the 2024 NWSL Draft.

Cal South Players in Red

1.1 – Ally Sentnor (Utah Royals) – ODP and National League

1.2 – Savy King (Bay FC) – ODP CAL SOUTH

1.3 – Croix Bethune (Washington Spirit) – ODP

1.4 – Brecken Mozingo (Utah Royals FC) – ODP, NCS and National League

1.6 – Reilyn Turner (Racing Louisville) – NCS CAL SOUTH

1.7 – Kate Wiesner (Washington Spirit) – NCS and National League CAL SOUTH

1.9 – Ally Lemos (Orlando Pride) – ODP CAL SOUTH

1.12 – Kennedy Wesley (San Diego Wave) – ODP CAL SOUTH

1.14 – Maycee Bell (NJ/NY Gotham FC) – ODP

2.17 – Sam Meza (Seattle Reign) – NCS and National League

2.18 – Ellie Wheeler (Kansas City Current) – ODP

2.19 – Avery Patterson (Houston Dash) – ODP, NCS and National League

2.21 – Kiki Van Zanten (Houston Dash) – ODP

2.22 – Cori Dyke (Orlando Pride) – ODP

2.23 – Olivia Wade-Katoa (Portland Thorns) – ODP, NCS and National League

2.24 – Natalia Staude (North Carolina Courage) – ODP and National League

2.27 – Maddie Mercado (Seattle Reign FC) – ODP and NCS CAL SOUTH

3.29 – Zoe Burns (Utah Royals) – ODP

3.30 – Jamie Shepard (Bay FC) – ODP, NCS and National League

3.32 – Hailie Mackiewicz (Kansas City Current) – ODP

3.33 – Cristina Roque (Utah Royals FC) – ODP

3.35 – Anna Podojil (Washington Spirit) – ODP, NCS and National League

3.37 – Felicia Knox (Angel City FC) – ODP

3.38 – Heather Hinz (Houston Dash) – ODP

3.39 – Kat Asman (Portland Thorns) – ODP

3.40 – Julia Dorsey (North Carolina Courage) – ODP

4.43 – Makena Carr (Seattle Reign FC) – ODP and National League

4.45 – Celia Gaynor (Chicago Red Stars) – NCS and National League

4.48 – Sam Cary (Racing Louisville FC)

4.51 – Madi Curry (Angel City FC) – ODP CAL SOUTH

4.52 – Landy Mertz (North Carolina Courage) – NCS and National League

4.53 – Katie Duong (Portland Thorns FC) – ODP

4.55 – Laveni Vaka (Bay FC) – Presidents Cup

– USYS – 

About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer)

US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sport organization in the country, is on a mission to provide world-class support, resources, and leadership, helping every member fulfill their goals on and off the field of play. US Youth Soccer registers nearly 2.5 million players annually. Through its programming, resources and leadership, US Youth Soccer is advancing the game for its 54 Member State Associations, 10,000 clubs and leagues and nearly 1 million administrators, coaches, and volunteers. US Youth Soccer connects families and communities to the power of sports and its shared love of soccer. US Youth Soccer provides a path for every player, offering programs that provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game.

Sign up for our Newsletter