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For NWSL, free agency could come with twist

Free agency in the National Women’s Soccer League could have a series of interesting twists, ones which could limit the number of players teams sign, cap free agent salaries, and create a pool players that would be dispersed to fill out initial NWSL rosters.

Multiple sources familiar with the league’s current ideas have confirmed early proposals would create a concept best described as limited free agency. In it, each team would have the ability to sign four free agents in an open market. The rest of free agents would be put into a player pool, with a draft used to round out teams’ rosters.

Current plans would also cap the amount of money teams are allowed to pay players signed in the open market. Multiple sources cited the figure as near $25,000 per season.

Although the league’s free agency plans are described as close to implementation, none of the proposed rules currently are finalized. As was showed when the college draft went from a serpentine to conventional order, the league is capable of changing course.

When asked on Thursday, U.S. Soccer declined to comment on plans for free agency.

If implemented, the league’s plans would provide cost certainties for the league’s teams; however, the proposed rules could also limit the amount sought-after free agents would make in the open market.

The plans would also limit teams’ ability to stockpile talent, with the post-market dispersal keeping attractive destinations from cornering the market on more than four players.

Finalized details on free agency are expected soon. NWSL will hold its college draft on Friday at 9 a.m. ET in Indianapolis, where 32 more players will (for now, at least) be added to the league.


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