With Duke in the offseason, some former Blue Devils have been competing in the NWSL. The Blue Zone takes a look at some alumni who have started their 2023 campaigns off strong:
Michelle Cooper, Kansas City Current
Cooper, the reigning MAC Hermann Trophy winner and second-overall pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft, has been seeing quality minutes since joining the Current. She has started in all three of Kansas City’s regular-season games this year and has played the entire match in two of them. While the former Blue Devil standout is yet to find the back of the net since making the move up to the professional level, her upside as a quick, agile scoring forward will be a bright spot on a Current squad that has yet to win a game in this year’s campaign.
Ella Stevens, Chicago Red Stars
Stevens, the former 24th-overall pick from the 2020 NWSL Draft, has been a key piece up front for Chicago this season. She has started all four of the Red Stars’ games thus far and even netted a goal and an assist against Cooper and Kansas City. She has a solid 72.8% pass completion rate thus far and will look to help the Red Stars get back on their feet after a difficult 1-3-0 start to the regular season.
Caitlin Cosme, Orlando Pride
Cosme, the former team captain for Duke, has had a major impact since arriving in Orlando after the 2021 season. She has started all three of the Pride’s regular-season games so far with three interceptions and 19 clearances. Cosme will look to help her team recover from a difficult start to 2023 as her Orlando squad has gone winless with only one goal so far.
Imani Dorsey, Gotham FC
While Dorsey is yet to see any action in the 2023 season due to an excused absence, the fifth pick in the 2018 NWSL Draft was a key player on the back line for Gotham last season. She started 19 games and played in a total of 21, racking up 35 interceptions and tackling at a 60.8% success rate. If Dorsey manages to make a return this year, she will be important for a Gotham team that will be looking to make a postseason run.
Sophie Jones, Chicago Red Stars
While Jones, formerly a star midfielder for the Blue Devils, is yet to see any action this season, she was picked for a reason. She started all 75 games that she played during her time with Duke for a total of 5,945 minutes, scoring five goals and assisting on eight others. Look for her to develop into a bigger role as she spends more time playing at the highest level in American women’s soccer.
Mackenzie Pluck, Angel City FC
Pluck, who is yet to see NWSL minutes, was a key contributor during her time with the Blue Devils. She played in a school-record 107 matches, using her speed and ball skills to record a total of 21 goals and 29 assists. Now playing at the professional level, she will look to earn quality minutes with Angel City FC in the coming years. As General Manager Angela Hucles Mangano said, “ [Angel City’s] coaching staff identified her on-field strengths during this preseason. She's also been able to integrate very well into the team and environment quickly. We're looking forward to seeing Mackenzie grow and develop in our system.”
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.