The Washington Spirit entered the 2023 NWSL Draft with just two picks. Thanks to a flurry of activity after the first round, they ended up selecting six intriguing talents. Recently, we got to chat with each Spirit draft pick to get the inside scoop on their draft experience, goals for their first season as a pro, their game, and what they’re looking forward to about life in DC.
Here’s 34th overall draft pick Lena Silano, in her own words:
The Draft Experience
Silano didn’t make the trip to Philadelphia for the draft but was at home watching with family and friends. While this year’s draft seemed to have fewer time outs and stoppages, and finished nearly an hour earlier than was originally scheduled, it was still an unexpectedly long night for Silano.
“I was with my friends. I was at my house. We were just watching and for some reason I thought it was gonna be an hour long, it definitely wasn’t!”
While she waited, she recalled phone conversations with the Spirit prior to the draft. When the Spirit’s flurry of trades started happening, confidence grew, but the phone call she was waiting for still hadn’t come.
“I talked to the [Washington] Spirit couple days before so I was just keeping that one in mind, and then they had a ton of trades. Like I really didn’t know what was gonna happen from that, and then I got it. But then I didn’t get a call when I was expecting a call, and then they call my name on TV and everyone lost it. And then I got a call afterwards and it was super exciting!”
What was it like to hear your name being announced at the draft?
“I think the most wild thing was just actually being called and seeing your face up there on the screen, you know, like you grow up watching [the draft] and all these amazing players, and then you become one of those. So I think, just like that becoming a reality was most like eye opening for me.”
Though she was excited to be drafted, she also mentioned that it was important to remain calm throughout the process, and be prepared to work hard no matter the outcome.
“I mean, I think being drafted is obviously a blessing, and some great players come from the draft. Like, that was a really big goal of mine coming into my senior season, but regardless of what was gonna happen I knew I was gonna work hard wherever I went. So I didn’t want to get like too high about it. Like too ‘Oh, my gosh I need to be drafted’ but I also didn’t want to be too low and be like ‘Oh, it’s out of the picture.’ So I was very neutral about what was really going on, but yeah it was definitely a goal – it’s a proud moment.”
How Would You Describe Yourself as a Player?
“I’m like the type of player that likes to make runs in from behind and I do enjoy finishing or creating opportunities. So just also have like a lot of grit behind myself. It’s funny you ask that because we’re doing that with our coaches right now. My strengths are speed, shooting, I like to cut and do some moves, and I’m just really really hard working.”
Asked if there is anything specific Silano wants to work on, she highlighted a rarely discussed, but vitally important facet of the game.
“There’s always room for improvement, it’s also like a mental game as well – not only physical.”
Do you have any specific individual goals for your first season as a pro?
“Yeah, of course, but I also, like, don’t want to overshare of course! But I think really just getting comfortable to able to play on the field as me. Like having like that flow state whenever I get on, and then from there I know that my strengths will come out on the field. And I get to do what I like and enjoy doing best, which is playing and creating opportunities.”
Have you allowed yourself to envision what your first professional goal might be?
“Yes I think about it. Honestly I’d be grateful for any of course, but yeah I mean I’ve thought about it. Definitely trying my best at practice everyday, you know – just shooting! [It’ll] probably be first-time in the box, it’s more realistic.”
That evenness and calmness was on display again when I removed the parameters of reality and suggested dreams of a 30-yard screamer to mark her first professional goal. After all, despite her even nature, she is capable of the absurd.
But she wouldn’t bite.
“Yeah, probably first-time in the box.”
What are you looking forward to the most about being in the DC area?
“Well, I know the landmarks are very historical, so I really do want to see all the monuments and everything that makes DC, DC. I haven’t really gotten an opportunity just yet, so I’m really excited to see the beautiful landmarks and of course, the field. Everyone talks about Audi Field!”
Editor’s note: HASHTAG GO TO GAMES!
What do you like to do on your days off or are looking forward to doing around the area in your free time?
“We actually went to the driving range a few of us so I know we live by Top Golf. So I do definitely want to go to the driving range eventually. And just exploring like where we live. So like just like the walks if the weather allows me. Most days it’s kind of resetting as well. I’d probably go for like a walk to be mindful, or maybe kick a ball around and just like have fun with it. But I also do enjoy like hanging out with like my friends and I hope eventually we get to take a trip to DC just for fun.”