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Dash Draft Four, Trade for Another

The Houston Dash went into Friday's NWSL draft with three picks - and came away with five players. Read on to find out how Chris Canetti, Randy Waldrum, and company pulled it off.


There was no rest for the weary, with Houston Dynamo and Dash general manager Chris Canetti acting the part of the weary. This morning, I jokingly tweeted about him not knowing what sleep meant - only to have him reply a few minutes later (at 2:09 EST) that no, he didn't. He had remained in Philadelphia, overseeing his third draft in the last eight days.

After last Friday's NWSL expansion draft went exactly as he had hoped, Canetti was hoping to oversee a college draft that worked out just as nicely - and if player numbers are any indication, he did just that. The Dash held picks in the first, second, and fourth rounds. As an expansion club, they had been given a good core of players between last week's expansion draft and their previous allocation of national team players, so he draft was meant to simply fill in the holes in coach Randy Waldrum's plan.

The first part of the plan went by the book, as the Dash selected Kealia O'Hai (Kay-lee-uh O-hi.) with the second overall pick. O'Hai, a forward from North Carolina, was widely projected to be the Dash's selection, and in this case, the front office didn't mind playing along. O-Hai, the sister-in-law of Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, is no stranger to the city and already seems excited to be in town.

With their second pick (10th overall), the Dash took Ole Miss forward Rafaelle Souza. After that, the fun began as Canetti started to wheel and deal, using the Dash's timeout during the next pick to work out a trade with Portland Thorns FC. In exchange for midfielder Meleana Shim (who had been with Portland before last week's expansion draft), the Dash picked up Texan-born midfielder/forward Nikki Washington and Portland's 11th pick, which turned into Central Florida defender Marissa Diggs.

After a trade to spice things up, it settled back down, and the Dash used their final pick (28th overall) on midfielder Jordan Jackson, out of Nebraska. That ended draft day for the Dash, but another Canetti tweet gave what could be considered a hint of more action to come. Between open tryouts and free agent signings, there are still a few spots to be filled, but with every new name, the Dash get closer to taking the pitch in April. If the allocations were a start, the two drafts moved them a lot farther down that road. Time will tell just how far.