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By: NWSL Editor
NWSL Rookie Report

A look at the top performances around the league by rookies, updated weekly

Last Updated May 21, 2024

WEEK 9: May 17-19

STARTING ROOKIES

Three rookies have started every match for their clubs this season including the Utah Royals forward Ally Sentnor, Washington Spirit midfielder Croix Bethune and Kansas City Current midfielder Claire Hutton.

BETHUNE BE GREAT

Washington Spirit midfielder Croix Bethune leads all rookies with three goals and seven assists making her the fifth player in NWSL history, and the first since 2015, to record 10 goal contributions in her first 10 career matches. Most recently in a 4-2 victory over Angel City FC, Bethune notched two assists and now holds the club and league records for assists by a rookie passing teammate forward Trinity Rodman.

SEARS SOARING

Racing Louisville forward Emma Sears tallied her second goal of her NWSL career in a 3-3 tie over the undefeated Kansas City Current. Sears has also notched two assists during her time with Louisville.

WEEK 8: May 8-12

BETHUNE CONTINUES

Washington Spirit midfielder Croix Bethune notched her fifth assist off forward Ouleymata Sarr's goal against Racing Louisville.

SENT TO THE TOP

Utah Royals forward Ally Sentnor leads Utah with 20 shots, 12 on target, and two goals with both of her goals being scored from outside the box.

HELPING LINNE-HAND IN THE WIN

Portland Thorns forward Payton Linnehan helped the Thorns beat Cascadia rivals Seattle Reign 4-0 after scoring off an assist from Sophia Smith. Linnehan has two goals and one assist to begin her NWSL career with the Thorns.

JOSEPH ASSIST

Chicago Red Stars forward Jamese Joseph notched her first assist of the season solidifying Chicago’s 3-1 victory. She made an immediate impact with the assist after entering the game off the bench in the 82 minute.

WEEK 7: May 1-5

ROOKIES GETTING MINUTES

Kansas City Current forward Claire Hutton and Utah Royals forward Ally Sentnor are just two rookies who have played every minute of the regular season so far. Washington Spirit midfielder Croix Bethune has started every possible match for the Spirit. Through Week 7, a total of 38 rookies have made at least one appearance, and 30 have started at least one game.

ROOKIE NETTING GOALS

12 rookies have scored a total of 17 goals, and seven rookies have logged at least one assist. Three rookies scored their first pro goals in Week 7 including Chicago Red Stars midfielder Leilanni Nesbeth, Portland Thorns forward Payton Linnehan and Houston Dash forward Amanda West.

BETHUNE ASSISTS

Washington Spirit midfielder Croix Bethune became the fifth player in league history to record three assists in a regular-season game in Washington’s 4-2 win at the Chicago Red Stars, and she became the first-ever rookie to do so. She was named Rookie of the Month for March/April.

WEEK 6: April 26-29

ROOKIE TO ROOKIE

Racing Louisville forward Reilyn Turner scored her second goal of the season and the latest goal for Louisville this season in 90+5 against Gotham FC who brought the score level two minutes later. Rookie Emma Sears brought the ball endline and sent a dangerous cross into the box that deflected and landed at the feet of Turner.

BETHUNE’S FIRST ASSIST

Washington Spirit midfielder Croix Bethune recorded her first professional assist over the weekend as Ouleymata Sarr scored her second goal of the season. Bethune continues to lead all rookies with three goals this regular season.

WEEK 5: April 19-21

ROOKIE’S CLASS ACT

There have been seven rookies who have scored through five weeks of play. The top six picks in the 2024 NWSL Draft have combined for 12 goal contributions already this season with eight goals and four assists.

THREE ROOKIES, THREE GOALS

In the Utah Royals vs. Racing Louisville saw a new first as three rookies secured their first pro goals of the season. Royals’ defender Olivia Griffitts and Louisville’s forwards Reilyn Turner and Emma Sears each tallied their first goals of the season in the same game.

ROYAL ROOKIES

Three of the Utah Royals’ four goals have come from rookies including two from forward Ally Sentnor and one from defender Olivia Griffitts who scored her first goal against Racing Louisville.

CURRENT ROOKIES GETTING MINUTES

Defender Ellie Wheeler and midfielder Claire Hutton from the Kansas City Current are just two-of-four rookies league-wide to play every minute so far and helped the Current secure a 5-2 victory over Bay FC.

BETHUNE’S NOT DONE

Washington Spirit midfielder Croix Bethune scored her third goal in her last four games of her NWSL career after Casey Krueger set Bethune up at the top of the box to beat the keeper on the near post. She also became the third Spirit player, joining Diana Matheson and Mallory Swanson to score three goals in her first five appearances with the team. Bethune’s impact did not stop with a goal as she found herself in the box drawing a penalty after taking a shot that led to a handball converted by forward Ashley Hatch.

WEEK 4: April 12-14

ROOKIE CLASS IN SESSION

The top 5 rookies from the 2024 Draft have six combined goals through four weeks of action. Washington Spirit midfielders Croix Bethune and Hal Hershfelt each have two goals, respectively. The No. 1 pick in the 2024 Draft selected by the Utah Royals FC, forward Ally Sentnor, has notched a pair of goals herself so far this campaign. Additionally, defender Savy King registered her first assist for Bay FC in their 3-2 victory over Seattle Reign.

CURRY’S IMPACT

Angel City FC rookie defender, Madison Curry, got her second professional start in last weekend’s match against the Chicago Red Stars and made an impact on the game. Most notably, Curry created several offensive chances, including a lofted cross to Jasmyne Spencer, who headed the ball on target that was ultimately covered by Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

KENNEDY’S CALL UP

San Diego Wave defender Kennedy Wesley made her NWSL and professional debut over the weekend against Racing Louisville FC after a week of training as she prepared to fill the role of an injured Naomi Girma. Head Coach Casey Stoney gave Wesley plenty of preparation along with encouragement from fellow former Stanford teammate Girma. She had a very successful debut at centerback for the Wave as she helped keep the game scoreless in a 0-0 tie against Louisville.

WEEK 3: MARCH 29-31

CURRY’S COOKING

Angel City defender Madison Curry, the 51st overall pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft, made her first career start against the Kansas City Current, playing the full match. Curry recovered a loose ball in the box and turned it into her first professional goal in the 78th minute. The former Princeton standout also completed 30 passes and recorded a game-high three tackles won.

TURNING POINT

Racing Louisville forward Reilyn Turner earned her second professional assist in a draw against the Portland Thorns, executing a perfectly placed cross to Uchenna Kanu, who scored the header for her second goal of the match.

FIRST STARTS FOR FRAN

Houston Dash head coach Fran Alonso earned the first win of his NWSL coaching career, while rookies Kiki Van Zanten and Amanda West made their first professional starts. West fired two shots, while Van Zanten recorded a game-high three successful dribbles.

SENTNOR’S SECOND

Utah Royals forward Ally Sentnor became the first rookie to reach two goals this season, firing a shot in the 71st minute that deflected off a defender and found the back of the net. Sentnor totaled four shots, including three on target, along with seven possessions won and a game-high three tackles won. The former UNC standout also completed 25 of her 30 passes.

WEEK 2: MARCH 22-24

SENTNOR STRIKES

Utah Royals forward Ally Sentnor scored her first professional goal while playing every minute for the second consecutive match. The top overall pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft struck in the 30th minute against the Norh Carolina Courage, showing off her impressive dribbling before unleashing a shot from the top of the box to give the Royals their first win in the club’s new era.

DOUBLE TROUBLE IN D.C.

The Washington Spirit earned their first win of the season thanks to contributions from top five picks Hal Hershfelt and Croix Bethune. Hershfelt made a great play on a pass from Trinity Rodman in the 23rd minute, firing her shot above Bay FC keeper Lysianne Proulx and into the top corner for her first professional goal. With the game tied in stoppage time, Bethune weaved through defenders, creating just enough space to score her first goal in the 95th minute.

ROCKET REILYN

Racing Louisville FC forward Reilyn Turner, who earned an assist in her NWSL debut last week, registered eight shots against the Houston Dash and reigning Goalkeeper of the Year Jane Campbell, including six on target, while recording a game-high four aerial duels won in a draw.

WEEK 1: MARCH 16-17

KANSAS CITY’S TRIO

The Kansas City Current defeated Portland Thorns FC, 5-4, in the first game at CPKC Stadium, with three rookies making key contributions in the win. Defender Ellie Wheeler, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft, scored in the 25th minute, marking the first goal by a rookie this season. The Penn State alumna played the full match in her NWSL debut alongside 18-year-old midfielder Claire Hutton, who completed 39 passes while leading the Current in tackles (6) and aerial duels won (3). Rookie forward Alex Pfeiffer made history with her goal in the 68th minute, becoming the NWSL’s youngest regular season goal scorer at 16 years and four months. Pfeiffer set the milestone while playing against Thorns midfielder Olivia Moultrie, who previously held the record.

TURNER’S TIME

Racing Louisville FC forward Reilyn Turner, the sixth overall pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft, earned a spot in Bev Yanez’s starting lineup in her NWSL debut, playing 69 minutes in a draw against the Orlando Pride. Turner made her impact early, assisting Elexa Bahr’s goal in the 13th minute.

DASH DEBUTS

Houston Dash forward Avery Patterson, the No. 19 overall pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft, had a promising professional debut, playing the entire match for Fran Alonso’s club. Patterson recorded 60 touches, eight possessions won, seven passes in the final third and three tackles, ranking second on the Dash in all categories. Former Notre Dame midfielder Kiki Van Zanten played 40 minutes off the bench, completing all eight of her passes and earning two possessions won.

LET HER COOK

Chicago Red Stars forward Ally Cook, signed this offseason as an undrafted player, earned an assist in her NWSL debut against Utah Royals FC, setting up forward Ava Cook’s goal in the 77th minute.

SENTNOR’S SUCCESSFUL START

Top overall pick Ally Sentnor played the full match in her debut for the Utah Royals, completing 24 of 30 passes, including 10 in the final third. Sentnor led her club in a number of categories, including crosses (8), possessions won (8), chances created (4) and tackles (3).

WATCHING WASHINGTON

Five rookies made their professional debuts for the Washington Spirit in Week 1, including three starters. Fifth overall pick Hal Hershfelt played the full match, completing 48 of her 54 passes, while third overall pick Croix Bethune played over 100 minutes and recorded six possessions won.

KENNEDY VS. KING

The last matchup of the week gave fans a good look at Bay FC’s Savy King, the second overall pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft, and Angel City FC’s 17-year-old forward Kennedy Fuller. Despite signing with Angel City less than a month ago, Fuller earned the start in her debut for Becki Tweed, registering two shots on target while completing more than 79% of her passes and recording five possessions won. King looked sharp in her professional debut, completing 15 passes, including seven in the final third, while recording a team-high four tackles.