Spirit send Oyster to Breakers, get K. Mewis, Kallman in major trade

Dan Lauletta November 17, 2016 81
Megan Oyster and Kristie Mewis, each pictured, have swapped teams. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Megan Oyster and Kristie Mewis, each pictured, have swapped teams. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

The Washington Spirit and Boston Breakers completed a major trade on Thursday that included three players, two draft picks, and top priority in the Distribution Ranking Order.

In the deal, the Breakers acquired Megan Oyster plus the No. 3 and No. 9 picks in the 2017 NWSL draft. Heading to Washington are Kristie Mewis and Kassey Kallman plus the No. 1 priority in the Distribution Ranking Order. Distribution order trades require teams tot swap picks so the Breakers now own the No. 2 priority. The Spirit previously traded up to that position in a deal that sent Ali Krieger to Orlando.

[RELATED: Spirit trade Krieger to Orlando | Nairn to Seattle]

Oyster joins Krieger and Christine Nairn as major pieces of last year’s Spirit team that lost the NWSL Championship on penalties. It was an odd season for Oyster who had started every match of her career until the Olympic break before being benched for all but one of the remaing regular season matches. Oyster then played the final six minutes of the semifinal win over the Red Stars and returned to the starting lineup where she made a strong showing for herself in Jim Gabarra’s 3-5-2 setup for the NWSL Championship.

“Megan is a player that we really wanted to bring to the club,” Breakers coach Matt Beard said. “She is a very good defender and comfortable on the ball. Megan will bring great experience to the back line and a winning mentality.”

Oyster will slip into the spot vacated by Kallman who played every minute of her Breakers career that spanned two seasons. Before being involved in a trade for Heather O’Reilly, Kallman was the No. 5 pick and starting left back for FC Kansas City in 2014. That club won the NWSL Championship.

“Kassey is a player that I think all NWSL coaches and general managers perceive as one of the top defenders in the country,” Spirit coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said. “She comes from having a strong college career at FSU (Florida State) and has built upon that to be a reliable and consistent defender in the NWSL. Kassey solidifies our defense.”

Mewis spent three seasons in Boston near where she grew up after a year in Kansas City. She arrived in Boston as an allocated player but fell off the national team radar and has played the last two seasons on a standard player contract. She may be better served returning to a wide roll similar to the way she was deployed in Kansas City.

The acquisition of two first-round picks gives the Breakers three total picks in the opening round and seven of the first sixteen picks. But general manager Lee Billiard hinted on Twitter the club would likely use some of those picks as a means to add more veteran players to a side that has yet to qualify for the NWSL playoffs.

The Spirit are currently out of the 1st round and do not hold a pick until No. 19.

  • Bruce

    Hard to really gauge what this means without clarification on NWSL Distribution Order rules. If Buchanan is the only allocated player likely to go that route in 2017 – and the #2 Distribution Order pick is worthless – I think that WAS comes out ahead. If there are no Distribution Order picks or more than one, then I’d say WAS got taken to the cleaners.

    Sounds like something Jeff Plush should comment on. Not holding my breath.

    • Som Termanni

      If draft-eligible UFIs go through the college draft instead (as Sonnett and Beckie did in ’16), distribution draft order applies to

      – Mal Pugh, and mostly if she backs out of her already deferred UCLA commitment
      – Andi Sullivan, if she decides to skip her last year of college eligibility for a USWNT contract
      – Deanne Rose and Ashley Sanchez, if they skip college; both turn 18 in March, in time for the NWSL preseason

      If draft-eligible allocated players go through the distribution draft instead, add:

      – Jane Campbell as the USWNT’s 3rd keeper, especially if Franch backed out of the Romania camp knowing the job wasn’t hers (or if she tanked her stock with Ellis by backing out)
      – Rebecca Quinn
      – Nichelle Prince

      There’s also whatever the hell’s going on with Mexico. If any Mexican players get allocated, they’ll also likely go through distribution order.

      One other point: per the ’16 rules, a team can pick a UFI, choose not to sign her, and keep her rights until the next preseason. I can’t imagine Washington or Boston trading for UFI rights just to block every other team from signing a player, but weirder things have happened, and this has been a weird offseason.

      • kernel_thai

        Still not sure Buchanan isnt going to take the money in Europe. Also not sure Sanchez is guaranteed the USSF contract that gets her in the UFI. That means unless ur in love with one of the other Canadians, the best possibilities r Sullivan skipping her senior year to play for her home town club or a new country providing allocation talent.

        • Steglitz49

          Has Ms Buchanan been linked to any specific club in Europe? Or is this just chattering and noise?

      • Bruce

        I still don’t get this.

        According to NWSL roster rules, distribution applies to any player who is designated as a who has been designated as a “potential Federation Player” by a national team, but that currently isn’t attached to an NWSL team.

        To identify such players NWSL and US Soccer have referred to both Unattached Federation Individuals (UFI) and Unattached Subsidized Individuals (USI), but it seems that they refer to the same the same thing.

        So what defines a “a potential Federation Player” if a player isn’t under contract/allocated? Current NT roster at the time of draft? Is there a list published somewhere? When?

        Are players required to declare for the draft before a deadline?

        You mention a lot of players and scenarios, but I really don’t see any rules that bind those opinions.

        http://nwslsoccer.com/about/2016-roster-rules

        • guest

          Player may be on WNT contract and choose not to play in NWSL (perhaps money offered is better in Europe ala D Scott) for NWSL team that acquires rights via Distribution process.

          • Bruce

            I understand that. Thanks for the info. But that doesn’t answer any of my questions to be honest.

          • kernel_thai

            At the time Scott bolted for Nott’s Country Canadian policy was to not pay any additional money to allocated players than what they already received for Canadian NT duty. Any idea if that has changed?

          • Rdalford

            re “does Canada WNT pay any additional money to allocated players than what they already received for Canadian NT duty.”

            short answer. I do not know.

            My understanding is that Canada has made some adjustments to how they pay players (based on news reports) but I have not read any article which lays out the how they are paid specifics.

        • DNG

          The USSF had not given out contracts to players until after they had been drafted in the case of Emily Sonnett and Morgan Brian.

          • kernel_thai

            Actually Sonnett was announced as allocated to the league on Jan 13 and drafted Jan 15

          • DNG

            Thanks for the correction. Do we know if she signed a contract before she was drafted?

          • kernel_thai

            No idea how that works. If memory serves she was at NT camp during the draft so not in attendance so quite possible a contract was signed already.

    • kernel_thai

      If Im Buchanan I dont want to be allocated. She’ll likely make more just signing a rookie contract.

      • guest

        In previous draft years my understanding is that the NWSL has set salary ranges for drafted players $xx – $yy for 1st round, lower range for 2nd round etc – with NWSL teams negating specific $ with players but staying within the salary range for draft position as set by NWSL.

        Canadian allocated players most likely get more $$ as allocated players than they would on rookie contract (and no allocated $)
        but
        If Canadian WNT players just get Canadian WNT contract money and do not also get an any additional federation/allocated money for being allocated and playing in NWSL
        then agree would be better off with Canadian WNT contract money and ability to negotiate separate additional $$ contract with clubs

        • Steglitz49

          Kadeisha has the profile and status to get a more than decent contract from a European club. That holds for any of the Canaidian internationals about to leave college but Ms Buchanan has the highest profile and is a defender to boot. Her recklessness counts against her.

          Thus, have their been any rumors of Kadeisha seeking to pursue Mammon if not happiness outside the NWSL?

          • guest

            Given option of playing in NWSL at whatever $$$ amount (in 2013 reported to be in $20k-$25k range) the Canadian allocated players receive
            vs
            playing for more money in Europe

            my guess continues to be that Buchanan plays in Europe

          • Steglitz49

            Do you have a specific club in mind? Albi? Reading? Piteå? Hjörring?

  • Bruce

    Dan – How about an article breaking down Distribution Ranking Order rules and potential scenarios (Buchanan, Lavelle, Jordan, Pugh, etc.)?

    • Lindsey

      Unless Pugh has decided to for-go college completely and not just redshirt her Freshman season then you’ll have to wait a few years for her to come through the distribution.

      • Bruce

        Where do draw that conclusion from? Others are saying that Sullivan could forego her senior year. Seems like everyone is speculating and no-one can point to a USSF/NWSL source. Not trying to be an ass but we are all grasping at straws here.

        • Lindsey

          I’m not saying that she will. I’m pointing out that you listed a player that won’t be going through the distribution this coming year. You were the one suggesting Pugh was going to turn pro for next season by putting her on your list of players that are actually finished with their college eligibility and will be going through the draft/distribution.

    • another guest

      agree that an article re Distribution Order would be helpful … and any such article needs to include some factual reporting and on the record info from NWSL league and/or teams and/or USSF about Distribution Order, draft etc. Need clarification if likely to be federation/allocated but draft eligible players (Buchanan etc) are going thru draft (as in the past) or thru Distribution Process Currently just lots of speculation

  • kernel_thai

    I think the Breakers win this one. Kallman and Oyster r a wash and the #3 pick is probably better than Mewis right out of the gate.

    • Bruce

      But if WAS gets Buchanan via Distribution and BOS gets nothing with the #2 Distribution pick then the tide turns.

      • guest

        WAS back line of Church, Buchanan, Zadorsky, Kallman might be interesting

        • john

          No Dydasco?

          • guest

            ACL injury

          • Steglitz49

            The bane of WoSo.

          • john

            Yes, I know. I was thinking post recovery. I’m an optimist.

      • kernel_thai

        I dont put much in the distribution draft because u can sign or pass. Let’s say it’s Sullivan. If Boston has the number #1 slot and she says she isnt leaving college to play in Boston, they r going to pass on her and keep the #1 slot so Washington didnt gain much. Buchanan is more of a wild card as to where she doesnt want to play but considering how many players seen to not want to be in Boston just not sure being at #2 is a big enough deal to make another trade to reach #1.

        • Bruce

          So I’m to assume from this that players do not have to declare for the draft (like in football, basketball, etc.)? Where is this written?

          • tonysocref

            Check the roster rules that DNG indicated above.
            Dagny Brynjarsdottir is an example of what happens to players that are eligible for the draft but fail to declare. She ended up not eligible to play in the NWSL that year and was not eligible to become a discovery player until the season ended.

          • Bruce

            I posted the roster rules in a post below some time before my comment to k_t. They are so vague and contain so many omissions and undefined terms that they are pretty much useless to this discussion.

            As per draft declarations, they aren’t mentioned at all in the doc. In fact, there are articles (search for “college protected”) that tend to imply the opposite of what you posted.

            I don’t think speculation about the rules are worth our time. I’d much rather talk about soccer. It’s a shame that the NWSL makes it so hard to get people talking about the league by not covering the bases.

          • Steglitz49

            Dagny played for Bayern Munich and scored 2 goals in 9 matches in 2015. Katie Stengel played the whole 2014-15 season for BM becoming their top scorer with 9 goals in 20 matches. In 2015 BM won the league for the first time since 1976.

            I guess Bayern did more than OK out those two NCAA players.

      • DNG

        Buchanan is going to be only eligible through the draft if they go by previous rules unless Canada gives her a contract and allocates her to a team before the draft. At least this is my understanding. I think players who would be eligible for the distribution pick are players skipping the college soccer or leaving school early with the option of a NT contract on the table.

        • Bruce

          So by that logic, Pugh isn’t currently allocated (or a UFI) at present either? Where is that written? Not trying to be an ass but I’ve gotten five responses that don’t seem to have any underlying sources.

          • DNG

            The roster rules are in here.

            http://nwslsoccer.com/about/2016-roster-rules

            The rules are kind of unclear and vague though so I don’t know how much you are going to be able to get from them. I’m going based on what happened last year and by what I understood to be the case from the EQ reporters. Sonnett was allocated at the beginning of last year possibly before the draft possibly not. She needed to be selected from the college draft by the Thorns. The Thorns were also trying to get Mallory Pugh during that time and traded away their second pick to acquire the first distribution slot to try and get her. Personally I don’t really like how this whole thing works.

          • Bruce

            I posted the same link on another thread below and agree that the vague language and omissions really make it impossible to draw solid conclusions. You cannot even find a corroborating definition of key terms like UFI or a list of “federation individuals” from USSF. Rather than spin my wheels in speculation I think I’ll sit out on the topic of distribution until definitive rules are revealed.

          • Steglitz49

            Presumably the rules are vague so that they can be interpreted loosely and liberally as each situation requires and develops.

    • xanthophobe

      Couldn’t agree more. Mewis was just not really panning out for them (granted, there were injuries) and this means they can get a player like Savannah Jordan or Rose Lavelle.

    • Breakers fan

      I differ with your viewpoint. I think Kallman is solidly better than Oyster, but that said I want to see Oyster more to see if I will still believe that. Kallman is quite good – that comes from seeing her in every game the last 2 years. (The goals against happened largely due to reasons besides her) I know I think Kristie Mewis is better than you do so I’m not going to debate that. The real way to determine who wins a trade is to evaluate it a year or two later. You can’t know if Mewis or the 3rd pick will have a better year next year until it’s played. And if they get Sullivan from this, well, that answers the question.

      • Kallman was fantastic in Kansas City and a big reason they won the Championship game that year. It will be interesting to see her play with a team with a better backline, assuming that the Spirit backline will be of higher caliber, but who knows what they’ll have when the dust settles.

        • Breakers fan

          I felt that all things considered she was great with the Breakers too. If you (universal “you”) saw all her touches you’d know what I know. A good amount of people noticed her quality in Boston, but I think for a lot of others too much cognitive static arises in their brains to say that someone can be very good on a last place team who gave up that # of goals.

        • guest

          Kallman is a very good defender. She was well coached at FSU and in FCKC (Vlatko is good coach plus played as a defender) as well as within usa U-xx system. Kallman demonstrated the flexibility to play OB effectively in FCKC although she had mostly only played as CB at FSU. The defensive tactics (high defensive line) and defensive weakness (turnovers and lack of defensive tackles) in Boston midfield sometimes exposed Kallman (who is not super fast). Kallman may well (should?) do better in Washington. However, imo If FCKC could work out a trade with Spirit to bring Kallman back to FCKC then both she and FCKC would benefit.

    • GT

      I see this as a “win-win”. The Spirit immediately fill two holes created by the departure of Kreiger and Nairn, with two established quality starters. Admittedly Mewis has been a little bit of a disappointment in Boston. Perhaps she’ll find her niche in Washington. The Breakers pick up a quality defender in Oyster and two first round draft picks as they build for the future. Can’t understand why Oyster wasn’t starting in Washington, but I think she will thrive in Boston. From the players perspective, Kallman and Mewis are going to a contender (at least they were last year) and Maryland is not a bad place to live and play. And Oyster may be part of a resurgance by Boston under a new passionate coach.

  • john

    Imo it’s highly unlikely that Sullivan would leave school. Doesn’t seem to fit what we know about her.

    • kernel_thai

      She certainly isnt the type not to finish college but maybe she sees a guaranteed NT contract a good enough financial reason. If she left after Spring classes she would have two semesters to finish to get her degree. As NWSL is conducive to Fall classes maybe a chance to play with the Spirit is worth putting off her degree one year.

    • Steglitz49

      Given the the USWNT has two fallow years in front of them, she would be smart to finish college.

    • Breakers fan

      This is my sense as well, but I don’t know all that much about her as a person. It is worth noting, however, that she is from Virginia and so The Spirit is by far the nearest team to where she grew up. If she’s considering accelerating her move to the pro ranks and likes the idea of playing near to home this move by the Spirit could add another motivation to do so. If that happens, it’s quite the coup. The more I think about it, the more I think it could happen. As kernel_thai notes below she could work in her remaining 2 semesters at some point, like Morgan Brian is doing.
      Getting, IMO, the Breakers best 2 remaining players, getting Andi Sullivan and trading a current bench player, one great draft pick and another one very good one to do so would be a brilliant deal. That said, it’s possible that if Sullivan saw that she was going to go to the Breakers if she left school early she may not have decided to leave Stanford early. We’ll see what she does.

      • Steglitz49

        The young lady would be well advised to stay at Stanford and enjoy her salad days in all their glory. As she builds up her reputation on the NT, options to play abroad will open up. 2017 and 2018 will be fallow years so might as well pack her stuff in an old kit bag and smile smile smile!

        • Breakers fan

          She certainly has an interesting situation in front of her now…I predict she leaves Stanford, goes pro, and thusly back close to her native stomping grounds with the Spirit.

          footnote: *especially* if Stanford wins a national title this year.

          • Steglitz49

            Why go back? Go forwards! She has already gone west.

          • Breakers fan

            Good point……a huge point you make here, Steg. This matter will turn on this very question, I think. Having set out on her own and established a life far away from home, and having done so very well, does she WANT to go home again? She may not want to, but then again, it may appeal to her. We have no way of knowing!

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe she should go to Law School or whatever she fancies?

          • Breakers fan

            We’re talking Sullivan here — Engen is the one who may go to Law School. No way on God’s green earth that Sullivan ditches soccer at this point in her life.

          • Steglitz49

            I suspect you earn more as a lwyer in the long term than as a WoSo player.

    • Breakers fan

      Back to Oyster — you said the biggest reason for her being benched was in your opinion her weakness in reading aerial balls. What happened? She misjudged a few and some goals were scored?
      Beyond that, as you saw her for the Spirit, how would you describe her:
      a) speed and quickness
      b) her tenaciousness in defending
      c) her attitude towards the game, how passionate does she appear to be, how inside the game?
      Thanks

  • john

    I’m curious to see what role Gabarra wants K Mewis to fill and if she accepts it. Also, does Kallman have more potential to still develop than Oyster? On the Breakers side will they get value either pick or trade for their picks?

  • Calci0

    I really hope Boston can turn things around. If they can draft like Chicago has over the past couple years, that will hep get them pointed in the right direction.

    And I still think Mewis can be an impactful player. Sometimes a change of scenery, and getting out of your comfort zone, can help kick-start a player.

    • Steglitz49

      Kristie Mewis is 25 and seems to be going in ever decreasing circles. Still, she had the get up and go to go and play in both Japan and Germany which must be counted her for merit.

      Maybe Kristie should consider a spell with Avaldsnes or some club in Sweden, like Örebro which did wonders for some Canadian players.

  • mockmook

    Well, Boston picking up EVEN MORE draft picks was unexpected.

    Wish they would hold on to all of them and start a new team from scratch:

    http://drawformation.com/post/582e919362364/sm-582e919362364.png

    • Lindsey

      Didn’t Engen unofficially retire from soccer?

      • Breakers fan

        I don’t know the answer to this. I think it’s quite possible that she will retire but I don’t think she’s announced anything final yet.

        • Steglitz49

          Maybe a return visit to Liverpool Ladies? Another option down meory lane would be Tyresö, who have gotten their finances into shape and are climbing the league ladder again.

          • Breakers fan

            I highly doubt it, Steg. It’s either law school (what I heard she’s contemplating) or just retirement. I believe she’s in a pretty long-term relationship and that her boyfriend I believe plays pro lacrosse, so that would help keep her stateside. Not that I *know* that she won’t go back overseas, but the evidence points to her not doing so, as I read it.

          • Steglitz49

            I would go to Law School if I were her.

          • Breakers fan

            The fact that she hasn’t re-signed yet with the Breakers is indicative at least of hesitation, of considering not returning.

          • Steglitz49

            Whitney is unique. She is a field player who won the WC but was not given the chance to tread on the grass for even 1 minute. Maybe the only one in the history of modern WoSo. She certainly will be in all sorts of sports chatshows.

          • Breakers fan

            Yes, she’s endured a few big disappointments of late — although being able to say she was on a World Cup-winning team, she, as you reported, didn’t get to play in the Cup. Shame on Jill for that, I say. And then recently her NT contract was terminated. She now finds herself on a last-place team in rebuilding mode. Either that excites her or it doesn’t. It’ll depend on how much she still loves playing the game, whether she thinks something like law school can wait at least 1 more year, or not.

          • Steglitz49

            It could be she asked JE what she should do and JE decided to give her a shove in the legal direction. A helping hand, if you like.

          • mockmook

            If I was Engen, I’d wait until the draft (and any trades) completes before deciding whether I’m re-signing with Boston.

    • Breakers fan

      I also hope they keep all their picks and then of course use them well. My guess is that they’ll get bombarded from other teams trying to wrest the top picks away with “solid veterans”. I hope they don’t fall prey to that again. That temptation to go with “the known player”, the “experienced” one, when a college player may have 17 years of soccer experience in her life, while an NWSL player may have 13, if you get what I mean. My view is you pick the superior player/athlete, not the one who’s logged a few more minutes and value those on pro fields disproportionately – having played on those fields is just a function of her birth date, and not how good she is.

      I still need to see Driesse. Will try and do so this weekend.

      • mockmook

        Thought you might want to forward this link to Beard 🙂

        The most pertinent part starts at 7:10

        https://youtu.be/Gz0KR0h-xHo?t=7m10s

        • Breakers fan

          Hilarious. Great find! Tempted to, that’s for sure. Been awol due to trying to catch up with everything and see it happen rather than just seeing game score results. Enjoying especially the U20 Cup. Lots of my faves in the NCAA have been beaten, so less interest there. Still watching UNC-SC!

          • mockmook

            BTW, here are some players that “some club” might consider drafting in 2017 to place at LB:

            Emily Byorth — Clem
            Corey Delaney — Geo’twn
            Aurélie Gagnet — Kan
            Hanna Gardner — UNC
            Christina Gibbons — Duke
            Kaitlin Moore — NWU
            Lizzy Raben — Duke

            Gibbons will go fast, so I don’t think “some club” would want to “waste” a top pick on her just for LB.

            I haven’t really seen enough of these (and others) to make a good evaluation, but my SWAG is that (after Gibbons) the top candidates for LB are Gardner and Delaney.

          • mockmook

            I should note that Freeman, Mills and Lawrence are possibilities at LB as well — but (as with Gibbons) I don’t think you “waste” a top pick to put them there.

          • Breakers fan

            Ever since Pathman retired the Breakers do need a strong left back, so I appreciate this. I have no idea who they may be targeting there. One question of course is “Do you take the strongest outside back available and convert her to the left if her experience is on the right side? I know of 3 or 4 very good left backs – natural lefties – who are Sophomores but that doesn’t do us any good now. I agree that you could also convert someone elite, like who you name, to that position if you had to, but that wouldn’t be the ideal way to use them. I’ll see if I can research who you have on your list.
            By the way, what does “SWAG”, as I assume acronym mean?

          • mockmook

            SWAG — silly wild ass guess

  • FlyingSquirrel42

    And the dismantling continues. I think I may be done rooting for the Spirit at this point. Until now they were the first-season underdogs that climbed their way nearly to the top, but between all these trades, the conflict over the anthem, and that odd letter from Gabarra, it’s just looking like a frustrating situation overall.

    • GT

      That letter was odd.