Decision Day: Colorado natives earn roster spots for 2022 NWSL season The Denver Post

The circle of professional women’s soccer players who hail from Colorado and play in the NWSL expanded significantly Tuesday.

With the National Women’s Soccer League preseason coming to a conclusion last weekend, teams had to make tough decisions on who would make the final roster spots for the 2022 season by Tuesday.

Of the five Colorado natives either selected in December’s NWSL Draft or the 2021 draft with an option to return to school, four made the final cut.

The most notable move of the day came from the Pacific Northwest, as Portland Thorns kept University of Denver spark Natalie Beckman, a fourth-round selection originally from Aurora. The midfielder was the third-to-last pick in the draft but still made the team.

“Nat has arrived in Portland with a big smile on her face and the attitude to watch, work, and learn. She is a top character person and player who has seamlessly fit into the locker room and team,” head coach Rhian Wilkinson said in a team statement.

Also making the cut from the 2022 NWSL Draft were second-round choice Sydney Pulver of Parker, with new expansion team San Diego Wave FC, and Jaelin Howell, the No. 2 overall pick from Lone Tree. Howell signed her first contract with Racing Louisville FC in January.

There were two Colorado players selected in the 2021 NWSL Draft who returned to play a final collegiate season, then competed for an NWSL roster spot during the preseason. One made it: Alex Loera from Thornton signed on with the Kanas City Current. Brianna Alger from Monument made the penultimate preseason cut with the Chicago Red Stars, but missed the final cut.

With the roster moves, it brings the total number of players from Colorado on NWSL rosters to 13, with another five playing overseas in Europe.

The NWSL season kicks off Friday with the Challenge Cup. All games will be aired on Paramount Plus.

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