NWSL Expansion Draft, 101

NWSL USWNT

By MC Bousquette

Monday was a big day in NWSL news, as all nine existing teams named their lists of protected and unprotected players. These lists were prepared for the NWSL Expansion Draft, which will take place this Monday, November 2nd at 12pm EST.

Why is there an expansion draft?

The NWSL is adding a 10th team, the Orlando Pride. The Pride are affiliated with MLS side Orlando City SC, and will kick off for the 2016 season. But… they need players. That’s where the expansion draft comes in-to fill this new side.

So Orlando can just take other team’s players?

Well, not really. The Pride are permitted to take two players from each team except if they take a USWNT player from that team, in which case they are not permitted to take any other players from that team. And Orlando is only allowed to pick two USWNT players. When Orlando takes a player from a team, that team is allowed to add one player from its unprotected list to its protected list. For each team’s full lists of protected and unprotected players, head on over to Keeper Notes.

But players seem to be moving all over the place, and the draft hasn’t even started. How? Why?

Orlando’s trading already. As you may have heard, they’ve already picked up three big names- Alex Morgan, Kaylyn Kyle, and Sarah Hagen in exchange for college draft picks in the 2016 and 2017 college drafts. The shenanigans that went into this maneuver are, however, difficult to articulate. But thanks to Houston Dash 101, we have this diagram to make (some) sense of just what’s going down:

Photo via https://twitter.com/houstondash101

Photo via https://twitter.com/houstondash101

Keep in mind that this isn’t set in stone- teams can change their minds, and the “unconfirmed” info could be moot by the time Monday rolls around.

We’ll have you covered here on Empire of Soccer after Monday’s expansion draft but buckle your seat belts… it’s gonna be wild.