The NWSL made the official announcement on Sunday that the Boston Breakers are immediately ceasing operations. The league also announced details of a dispersal draft of players which will take place on Tuesday. The 2018 season will be played with nine teams with a balanced schedule featuring a triple round robin. The same format was used in 2014.
“The Boston Breakers are one of the longest running and most historic clubs in women’s soccer, so we certainly understand that fans of the NWSL and the sport will be disappointed to learn of the club’s decision to cease operations,” NWSL Managing Director Amanda Duffy said. “In the best interest for the long-term viability of the NWSL, we will operate with nine clubs in 2018 to ensure a stronger league where all parties involved are aligned and committed to the core mission of continued growth and development as we move into our sixth season.
“We do not doubt the fan support or interest in women’s soccer in Boston or New England, and the measure taken by the Breakers organization does not reflect the passion we have seen from our fans. We sincerely thank you for your years of commitment, and we look forward to one day returning to the city of Boston.”
Fans who have placed deposits on season tickets for 2018 will be contacted and granted full refunds.
All Breakers players, including retired players whose rights were owned by the club, those on the club’s Discovery list, and 2018 draft picks, will be eligible for Tuesday’s dispersal draft. Players may opt out of the draft to explore options with other clubs around the world but those players will be prohibited from returning to NWSL until the end of the 2018 season. The deadline to withdraw is 12:00 p.m. EST on Monday.
The draft order will be made by weighted draw with last season’s non-playoff teams having twice the opportunity as the four playoff teams. The order will snake meaning the teams will pick in reverse order for their second picks and back to the original order for a third round. The initial order, and the list of eligible players, will be announced on Monday after which clubs may trade picks until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday. The final draft order will be announced at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday with the draft at 4:00 p.m. EST. Teams and players will have live access to the selections but it was not immediately clear when or how the picks will be relayed to the pubic.
Teams may pass on selecting a player but will not be eligible to pick again after that. Any player who neither opts out of the draft nor gets selected will become discovery eligible immediately following the draft.
International players will not cost an international roster slot for the duration of the 2018 season even if they are traded. Players currently under contract will not count against the roster limit or salary cap.