The Portland Thorns selected midfielder Emily Ogle out of Penn State University with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft Thursday.
Ogle is a defensive-minded midfielder that is coming off a stellar career at Penn State. In 2018, she started all 25 matches in the Nittany Lion midfield, tallying six goals and five assists. She was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and selected as the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year for her performance. She was also selected as a United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American. Ogle finished her Penn State career with 20 goals and 21 assists.
“Emily has talent, but more important than that is her character,” Thorns coach Mark Parsons said. “She’s a player that’s continued to grow throughout her career and wants to continue to develop.”
The Thorns entered the draft with the No. 17 and No. 35 overall picks, but made two trades to end up taking Ogle with their lone pick at No. 24.
The Thorns had planned to draft Ogle with the No. 17 pick, but decided to trade the pick away when they realized that Ogle might fall in the draft. Portland traded the No. 17 overall pick to the Washington Spirit in exchange for the No. 31 overall pick and Washington’s natural second-round pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft. Portland then traded the No. 31 and No. 35 overall picks to the Chicago Red Stars for the No. 24 pick, which they used to take Ogle.
“It’s a great organization and I’m super excited for the opportunity,” said Ogle about joining the Thorns.
Parsons said that Ogle is a versatile midfielder that has great vision and is a tremendous distributor. He said that Ogle can play as either a holding midfielder or as a playmaker.
Ogle could be a particularly important piece for the Thorns as the club tries to overcome key absences during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this season, Parsons said. The NWSL announced Thursday that it was expanding its maximum senior roster size to 22 and allowing teams to sign an additional four players to their supplemental rosters, which could give the Thorns the leeway to sign a player like Ogle.
“Her best qualities are her vision and her ability to distribute the ball,” Parsons said. “She can sit in the No. 10 position and play and distribute from there or she can do that from the No. 8 or No. 6. There are different options for her as midfielder.”
Even though Ogle was the only player that Portland selected in the draft Thursday, she won’t be the only draft pick joining the Thorns in preseason. Portland’s 2018 draft picks, Gabby Seiler and Sandra Yu, will also compete for roster spots during preseason this year. Seiler and Yu were unable to vie for roster spots last season due to injuries.
The Thorns are also in discussions with other key players that could potentially join the roster this season.
“I think we got some exciting momentum and ongoing discussions with some big-time players that we want in Portland and who want to be in Portland,” Parsons said.
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