With two months remaining before the start of its second National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season, Orlando Pride added two offensive options through the 2017 NWSL College Draft, held during the NSCAA Convention in Los Angeles. Holding a pick in both the third and fourth rounds, the Pride selected forward Danica Evans (No. 22 overall) and midfielder Nickolette Driesse ( No. 32 overall) from the more than 200 draft eligible players.
“I’m happy [with our selections]. Considering where we picked in the draft, I was pleased with the players we got because they were on our list, we rated them highly and we got them,” Sermanni said following the draft.
Evans enjoyed a stellar collegiate career at the University of Colorado and the University of Portland. In her two years at Portland, Evans started 39 games and scored 12 goals and 10 assists. After transferring to Colorado, she quickly etched her name in the record books, posting the second-highest points-per-game (.98) and goals-per-game (.38) averages in school history. Evans finished her CU career with 16 goals and 9 assists in 42 games played, 41 of them starts. Her 11-goal senior season earned her First-Team All-Pac-12 honors.
Evans has been involved in a series of U.S. Women’s Youth National Team camps, earning her first call up in 2012 for the U-17s and then in 2013 for the U-18 training camp. The forward, who also holds a “flip throw” in her arsenal, is currently amid her first camp with the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team.
“I think [Danica] has the potential to score goals; I think she’s a clever footballer so I think she knows how to play the game,” Sermanni said. “She can play well with her back to goal and can [be used] as a center striker.”
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Driesse also split her collegiate career, winning national championships with both Florida State University and Penn State University. A teammate at FSU of fellow Pride player Jamia Fields, Driesse was an All-ACC Freshman, Soccer America All-Freshman and TopDrawerSoccer.com Freshman Second XI honoree. Following a Championship in her sophomore season, Driesse transferred to PSU and helped lead the Nittany Lions to the 2015 National Championship, finishing her two years in State College with five goals and 12 assists. Her senior campaign, in which she was a co-captain, saw her named to the All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Tournament teams.
Driesse also boasts experience in the U.S. Women’s Youth National Team system, playing in the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup and participating in several camps.
“If [Nickolette] can replicate her passing game from college into the pros, she’ll be a outstanding player,” Sermanni said. “She’s got great vision, great passing range and is good with both feet. If we can [build] a team that gives her that time and space to do that, she’ll be very effective.”
Orlando Pride will open its second NWSL season in the Club’s new, state-of-the-art venue - a 25,500 capacity stadium in the heart of downtown Orlando. 2017 season tickets are currently available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.