OL Reign Selects Jimena Lopez in the 2021 NWSL Draft
TACOMA, Wash. - OL Reign selected Mexican international defender Jimena LÃ³pez in the third round of the 2021 NWSL College Draft Wednesday. LÃ³pez was selected with the 28th overall pick, the lone pick held by OL Reign in the draft.
"Jimena is a tremendous young talent that will have a very bright future in professional football," said OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti. "We believe she can play immediately, and know she will continue to grow as she gains more experience. We feel very lucky to have selected Jimena and are excited to welcome her to our club."
LÃ³pez featured for Texas A&M at multiple positions, having been named the 2019 SEC Midfielder of the Year and the 2020 Co-Defender of the Year. The Mexico City native was a two-time All-SEC First Team selection for the Aggies, amassing 70 appearances, 17 goals and 23 assists in four years in College Station.
Internationally, LÃ³pez has represented Mexico at the U-15, U-17 and U-20 levels, including the 2014 Youth Summer Olympics, the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. She made her senior national team debut on February 27, 2019 in a friendly against Italy.
Prior to the draft, OL Reign traded its first, second and fourth round picks. The club traded its first round pick on draft day in 2020, moving up to select midfielder Kelcie Hedge with the ninth overall pick.
The club acquired midfielder Dani Weatherholt in exchange for its second round pick in a trade with Orlando on January 22, 2020. Weatherholt, who re-signed with the club on December 7 through the 2022 season, appeared in seven of OL Reign's nine matches in 2020.
The club's fourth round pick was traded in conjunction with forward Darian Jenkins and the rights to Meg Brandt in exchange for forward Tziarra King on January 4 in a trade with Kansas City. King made eight appearances for Utah Royals FC in 2020, scoring two goals.
OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore said he and the club's coaching staff elected to forgo trading for additional draft picks, based largely on the 22-player roster the club had assembled ahead of the draft.
"We entered this draft with a lot of confidence in the roster that we have assembled," Predmore said. "We think Jimena has the potential to be a great addition and could make an impact for us this season, but the players that we already have available meant that we didn't have to get involved in what proved to be a very expensive draft day trade market."
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