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Bailey: Next step is free agency, supplemental draft

NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey recently stepped down from her role. (Photo Copyright: Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey. (Photo Copyright: Patricia Giobetti | http://www.printroom.com/pro/psgiobetti)

INDIANAPOLIS — Looks like NWSL free agency is set to move forward — with a lot less emphasis on the “free” for a good number of players.

With the exception of the Western New York Flash, which has 10 players, each team now has 11 players on its preliminary roster after drafting four each during Friday’s college draft. Roster sizes will be 20 players per team.

The final pieces of the puzzle, as reported Thursday on The Equalizer, will include teams signing four free agents each and then identifying 8-10 players for the supplemental draft. That supplemental draft will fill out the final five-to-six roster spots on each team.

“The next thing is to sign four additional players and then have a supplemental draft,” NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey said.

“Right now they have seven players for most teams, they have four college players. They have the opportunity to find four more additional players and then go into a supplemental draft.”

By a numbers game, that supplemental draft would put every team at 20 players and exclude some players from getting to play anywhere.

“If you’re not identified after that process, then you have the opportunity for discovery players.”

There is a maximum of four “discovery players” — those identified by individual teams but not entered into the supplemental draft — per team.

International players can fit into any of the aforementioned categories, but only two players per team can come from outside of the U.S., Mexico or Canada.

Additionally, a league schedule could be released as early as Feb. 1. Opening day is expected to be April 13.

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