While we’re still Team #AbolishTheDraft, the 2023 one if coming up on January 12. So we’re back to look at two very different, but very effective midfielders who should be high on every NWSL team’s draft board (if they officially put their names in).

Also ICYMI: Last week’s profiles were on Duke’s Michelle Cooper and Notre Dame’s Korbin Albert

Croix Bethune

School: USC, Senior

Position: Attacking Midfielder

Player Profile: Line breaker

The shortest distance between two objects is a straight line, so it stands to reason that the one thing a defense would hate most is a player who can attack their goal from central areas. Unfortunately for defenses, Croix Bethune is exactly this type of player.

Though she’s had awful injury luck, and reportedly injured her ACL (again) a couple months ago, Bethune is still worth a top pick due to her ultra rare skillset. Bethune’s close control and quick feet allow her to shift the ball and/or defenders left or right in tight spaces, and with limited time and touches. The one caveat is that any NWSL team lucky enough to secure her signature must commit to keeping her in midfield rather than making her a winger, lest I be forced to contact the relevant authorities.

Also note: Nobody knows how to celebrate a goal quite like Croix Bethune

Sophie Jones

School: Duke, Senior

Position: Defensive Midfielder

Player Profile: Metronome

One of the most fun things about professional soccer is that it’s alive. As such, it goes through phases and trends. The NWSL has been a transition league for the majority of its existence; it is, after all, the quintessential U.S. style. However, the 2022 NWSL Champion Portland Thorns wrangled control of matches through possession, and a key piece to that was rookie defensive midfielder Sam Coffey.

While Coffey was not a defensive midfielder at Penn State, Sophie Jones has excelled in the role at the top collegiate level. Jones has an understanding of space and tempo that’s rare for young midfielders, particularly at such an important position. Any team looking to get ahead of the trend toward possession, a midfield metronome like Jones would be a gift.

Please watch Sophie juggle

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