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, their role with the team, their game, and what they’re looking forward to about life in DC.
Here’s 26th overall draft pick Nicole Douglas, in her own words:
The draft experience
Nicole Douglas was one of the few Washington Spirit draft picks in Philadelphia for the 2023 NWSL Draft. She attended the event with her coaches from Arizona State University, so they were able to cheer her on in person when Washington selected her with their very first pick of the draft.
“They’ve been part of my journey since I was a freshman, so I was really happy I could have them there,” she said of her coaches’ support at the draft.
“The thing that really was least expected was how crazy the process was, like when people are getting called out and trades can take place,” Douglas said of the draft ceremony. The 2023 Draft was particularly chaotic, including a trade announced with the very first pick and multiple changes in draft order throughout the evening.
Douglas described watching coaches and other team staff going from table to table in the convention center, negotiating deals. “You’re just sitting there like, ‘What is happening?’”
“The experience of the media and stuff being there, and everything you have to do if you got picked up… I just didn’t expect any of it, to be honest,” she said. For Douglas, the post-draft duties included meeting with team ownership and staff, posing for photo opportunities, and being interviewed on-air by national media.
Her style of play
“I’m a very hard-working minded player. I would say that I have very good dribbling ability. I would say that I’m pretty good at 1-v-1s and then finding passes in behind the back line for the forwards and wingers to run onto. I’m definitely a goal scorer as well, and I put myself in good positions to score.”
Douglas proved that at ASU, where she broke multiple scoring records — she’s the Sun Devil’s all-time leading scorer in addition to holding single-game and single-season records — and hit more than enough bangers for a highlight reel.
Goals for her first pro season
“Competing, definitely, within the team. Obviously I have to come in and try to prove myself as a player. I want to fight for a spot to even get some minutes. I know it’s very hard as a rookie to get minutes, but whether that’s me starting, whether that’s me on the bench, whether that’s me not even getting on the field, I have a role to play within the team.”
Douglas also had a goal for her time off the field: “Getting as close to my teammates as possible because it is a new team, and we want to be as close as we can off the field, because it will make us stronger on the field.”
Being in D.C.
Early in her time in Washington, DC, Douglas went with a few teammates to visit the Lincoln Memorial and White House.
“It was so surreal, just standing in front of it and being like, ‘I see this in movies and now I’m standing in front of it.’” She joked that maybe this is how people feel when they see Buckingham Palace in her hometown of London.
Although training had kept her busy so far, Douglas said, “I’m really excited to explore more and get outside and spend time with my teammates.”
Douglas’s main plan for her time off the field was to spend time with her teammates. “I think that’s something that I’ve always done on my days off,” she said. “We’re always with each other, but I want to get to know… especially on this new team, to get to know them a little bit more.”
She had a few specific outings in mind: “There’s a Top Golf nearby, and I absolutely love Top Golf. I’m sure my teammates will be going there for team bonding and stuff like that, which will be cool.”
She was also open to “just being relaxed and chill[ing] out, maybe go out to eat. I’m down for anything!” she said, laughing.