Felicia Knox receives a warm welcome to Angel City

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
The 37th pick felt like the first one at the NWSL Draft.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Angel City fans have set the standard for women’s soccer fanbases since joining the NWSL in 2022. Their six supporter groups and fans are passionate, showing up to matches, community events, and more with numbers. Friday’s NWSL Draft was no different, as they produced the loudest roars of the night for the 37th pick, Felicia Knox. 

Knox was Angel City’s first of three selections as they traded their previous picks to acquire the first one in 2022, drafting forward Alyssa Thompson. Despite a couple of hours of waiting because of such trades, Angel City fans welcomed Knox in their typical fashion, loudly. 

“The 37th pick felt like the first pick,” said head coach Becki Tweed. “When you can create an environment that’s so special for a player, welcome a player into the community and the fan base that we have, and to see the support that all three of our players got in that moment was really important. It is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for a player and something they’ll always remember, so we’ll always be grateful for the fans for making it the best.” 

The University of Alabama product and midfielder was pleased with the reception she received, with it coming as a bit of a surprise. Knox was unsure of when she would be selected entering the draft but is excited to begin her career in Los Angeles. The fan support was a plus for her, and she took a photo with the fans in attendance after Angel City selected her.

“I am so excited for the opportunity,” she said. “I’m blessed to be here. Blessed to be picked by Angel City. I’m honestly kind of shocked. Didn’t know exactly where I would end up. But I’m very pleased, and the fans gave me the warmest welcome I could possibly ask for. And I’m so excited to get started.”

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Angel City’s fan support is an aspect Knox will have to become accustomed to quickly, and she hopes to return efforts with her play. Knox is a creative player, who makes solid decisions in play. She scored seven goals and assisted 20 goals in her junior year in 27 games (26 starts). Knox was less productive stat-wise during her senior season, scoring four goals and assisting six goals. Some of such goals were outstanding highlights. 

“I feel like I’m creative,” Knox said. “My decision-making is pretty good, and I’m smart. My soccer IQ and my technique is pretty good, so I feel like I can bring some quality to the soccer aspect of Angel City.”

A likely part of the reason for Knox’s production drop off win her senior season was she was recovering from a torn hamstring in the spring. Nonetheless, Angel City could not ignore her junior-year production and was surprised to find her available with the 37th pick.

Some of Knox’s most notable accolades are 2022 SEC Midfielder of the Year and 2022 All-American. She was called up to the United States U-23 Women’s National Team in 2023. 

“Her (Knox’s) season in 2022 was incredible,” Tweed said. “She came off the back of a really, really high season. When you see players play to that level, it’s hard to ignore them. And yes, form is important, and injuries happen; it is part of the game. We have a great medical staff and a great medical team that we can take care of players.”

“She was a player we tracked all along, and we probably thought that we might not get her at this point. We’re super excited.”

Knox is most excited to play with 19-year-old forward Alyssa Thompson. She recognizes Thompson’s impact on matches and looks forward to connecting with her on the field. 

“I’m excited to probably [play with] Alyssa Thompson,” Knox said. “Being a young aspect and a threat to the game, I feel like that’s pretty exciting. As well as being young and in the group with them. I feel like we’d be excited to get started and connect with her.”

Angel City’s final two selections after Knox came in the fourth round. They traded $15k in allocation money to the Utah Royals for the 44th pick and used it to select midfielder Jessica Garziano from St. John’s University. Then, they picked Madison Curry, a defender from Princeton University, as their final pick.

“Picking up a pick was important, and Jess (Garziano) was somebody that we were looking at in that midfield position. High productivity score… Her IQ is really high. She played a lot of minutes. Someone that’s gonna come in and will test herself now against the pros at the next level.”

“Madi (Curry) it’s somebody that I’ve watched for a couple of years. Her competitiveness and her presence, and her athleticism, along with our ability on the ball, has been really good. I think she’s been flying under the radar a little bit at Princeton. We’re looking forward to getting around and see what she can do for us.”

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Bolstering the midfield was a clear goal of Angel City’s as they added two midfielders. They paired such moves with the addition of a defender, Curry. 

“You set out with a plan, and you never know if your plan is going to come out. The plan went pretty well tonight,” Tweed said.

Next, the pressure turns to the draftees. All of them are joining a team with one of the largest fan bases in the NWSL. It is now up to the players to show their talents to earn a spot on the final roster to play in front of them at BMO Stadium.