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Utah Royals FC pick UNC midfielder Ally Sentnor first overall in NWSL draft


The Utah Royals FC selected North Carolina midfielder/forward Ally Sentnor with the first overall pick of the 2024 NWSL Draft on Friday night.

It marked the Royals’ first draft choice since being revived for the league’s expansion this year. Utah played in 2018-20 before ceasing operations.

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Sentnor is the third North Carolina player to be selected first in the NWSL draft, joining Crystal Dunn (2014) and Emily Fox (2021).

Sentnor was a redshirt sophomore for the Tar Heels last season and was named ACC Midfielder of the Year as well as a third-team All-American by United Soccer Coaches. She led the team in goals (11), assists (seven) and points (29).

At No. 2 overall, expansion club Bay FC chose defender Savy King with the franchise’s first-ever draft pick.

King also played for North Carolina but is a California native. As a freshman in 2023, she started all 23 matches and led the team with 2,030 minutes.

The Chicago Red Stars dealt the third overall pick to the Washington Spirit in exchange for veteran defender Sam Staab.

Staab, 26, spent the past five NWSL seasons with the Spirit and totaled four goals over 93 appearances. She has earned NWSL Ironwoman honors three times, having played in every possible regular-season minute for her club three times, including in 2023.

The Spirit selected Georgia midfielder Croix Bethune with its third pick and also acquired the fifth selection from the Courage in a trade that sent USWNT midfielder Ashley Sanchez to North Carolina.

Washington, who also received $250,000 in allocation money from the Courage, took Clemson midfielder Hal Hershfelt with the No. 5 pick.

The Red Stars then dealt longtime defender Arin Wright to Racing Louisville FC in exchange for the 15th overall pick and $125,000 in allocation money. Wright, 31, is a Kentucky native and requested to join her home state’s team, according to Chicago.

Information from Field Level Media was used in this report.



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