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2022 NWSL Draft: Orlando Pride Select UCLA Forward Mia Fishel at No. 5

The Pride started the 2022 NWSL Draft by selecting UCLA forward Mia Fishel in the first round.

California v UCLA Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

The Orlando Pride began the 2022 NWSL Draft by selecting UCLA forward Mia Fishel with the No. 5 overall selection. The former Bruin became the Pride’s fifth first-round pick in team history and she is the second highest pick made after they selected Taylor Kornieck with the number three overall pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft.

Fishel joins her former UCLA teammate Viviana Villacorta — who was drafted in the first round last year — and the team’s new head coach Amanda Cromwell, who coached her in college. She’ll play up top with another former UCLA Bruin — Sydney Leroux.

“We were actually trying to position a higher pick to ensure we got her,” Cromwell said. “For her to drop to five was a surprise to us. Super excited. Obviously great value for the fifth pick. Everyone had her in the top three, that we talked to. She’s a tremendous player, a professional through and through, she’s a student of the game. Coming out after her third year there’s so much room for growth still, but she also knows kind of what her goals and plans are, and that’s to be on the national team and be an impact player on the national team.”

The 5-foot-7 forward spent three years with UCLA, making 59 appearances (55 starts), scoring 32 goals and adding 14 assists. The 20-year-old attacker won the Golden Ball at the 2016 Concacaf U-15 Championships and the 2020 Concacaf U-20 Championships, and scored the opening goal for the U.S. at the 2018 U-17 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, she was called into her first U.S. Women’s National Team camp for the senior team in October 2020.

The San Diego, CA native was named second-team All-America in 2020 and third-team All-America in 2021. She was also named to the first-team All-Pacific and All-Pac 12 teams in each of the last two seasons.

What It Means for Orlando

Fishel adds to the Pride attack as the team continues its current rebuild and she fills one of the most important positions of need for Orlando. The Pride recently traded forwards Jodie Taylor and Alex Morgan to the San Diego Wave during this off-season, resulting in the need for players in those positions. Fishel will be expected to get on the field early barring any unforeseen additions of established scorers this off-season.

The team currently has veterans Leroux and Marta that Fishel can learn from as she acclimates to the professional game. The fact that Leroux and Marta are on the team also means that Fishel doesn’t have a lot of pressure to produce in 2022, although she has the talent to do so.

Here is a look at some of Fishel’s college highlights from her time at UCLA: