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    Southern California natives Savy King, Ally Lemos begin their NWSL careers early
    • January 13, 2024

    ANAHEIM — Savy King made the decision to leave North Carolina after her freshman season.

    The choice, although a difficult one, paid off as she was selected No. 2 overall in Friday’s NWSL Draft by expansion team Bay FC.

    “It was hard because of how much I really loved it,” King said of North Carolina. “It helped me grow so much as a person and as a player, it’s been such an amazing journey there and such an amazing season, but this was definitely the next step in my dream.”

    King followed her North Carolina teammate Ally Sentnor to the Anaheim Convention Center stage as Sentnor went No. 1 to the other expansion team – the Utah Royals.

    “It’s a testament to the amazing program that it is,” King said. “I love UNC so much, it’s my second home, I’m so happy I got to go there and spend one year there and be coached by amazing coaches and Ally and I get to share this amazing moment.”

    King is the third-youngest player (18 years, 11 months) ever selected in the NWSL Draft.

    Glendora native Ally Lemos, who left UCLA after her sophomore season, was selected ninth by the Orlando Pride.

    “This is surreal,” Lemos said. “It’s a dream come true. The little kid in me is absolutely screaming.

    “After I chose UCLA as my next home, I didn’t think I would be leaving. It was a really difficult decision, but I just felt that I was ready for something bigger, the professional challenge. It was a difficult decision, but my parents, brothers, teammates, coaches gave me the confidence to fully, truly bet on myself.”

    In two seasons at UCLA, Lemos made 44 appearances, scoring three goals with 11 assists.

    “I was back and forth (on deciding to leave early), because UCLA is a special place,” Lemos said. “My sisters are there, my teammates, I see them as a my sisters. My coaches are like my family. It was a really tough decision, but I felt I was ready to endure the professional challenges.”

    Lemos is the fourth-youngest player (19 years, 10 months) to be selected in an NWSL draft.

    UCLA forward Reilyn Turner (Laguna Beach High) was selected sixth overall by Racing Louisville. In four years at UCLA, Turner scored 42 goals. Turner was the Pac-12 Forward of the Year.

    The next pick, Penn State defender Kate Wiesner (Monrovia High) was selected by the Washington Spirit. Wiesner played four seasons at Penn State (71 games).

    Stanford defender Kennedy Wesley went 12th in the first round to San Diego Wave FC. Wesley, from Los Alamitos, attended Valley Christian High then played five seasons at Stanford, making 104 appearances.

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    USC’s Zoe Burns was the first pick of the third round (No. 29 overall), going to Utah.


    Angel City didn’t have a pick until No. 37, and the club used it on Alabama midfielder Felicia Knox. Knox made 87 appearances in four seasons at Alabama, scoring 18 goals and adding 31 assists.


    In a pre-draft trade, Angel City acquired midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard from San Diego Wave FC in exchange for $40,000 in allocation.

    Dougherty Howard made 17 appearances last season with San Diego. She has also spent time with the Washington Spirit (2017-2020) and Orlando Pride (2021-2022).

    ​ Orange County Register