The National Women’s Soccer League announced on Thursday that the supplemental draft will take place on Feb. 7 and that team rosters will be completed with “discovery players.” The six-round draft will take place via conference call, but the results will be live tweeted by the league.
Each of the eight NWSL teams will be able to nominate 8-10 players for the supplemental draft. Players who are not drafted can then be picked up as discovery players. Each team may claim up to four discovery players. Teams are allowed two international players beyond the ones allocated to them from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
In addition, four teams will be able to sign a fifth free agent to make up for lost players. Western New York was allocated one less player (six total) than each of the seven other clubs. Chicago is without U.S. defender Amy LePeilbet all season due to left ACL surgery and Seattle will be without U.S. forward Amy Rodriguez all season. She is pregnant and due in August.
Washington may be without goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to start the season (though it is unclear at this stage) and thus receiving a fifth free agent. Harris was to finish the season with Duisburg in Germany, but that is still being figured out, according to her agent. The Spirit are open about Harris’ uncertain status and posted that they have “locked up a starting quality GK.”
Other important notes from the FAQ document regarding NWSL rosters:
- The minimum roster size at any given time is 18 players and the maximum is 20 players.
- The maximum preseason roster size is 32 players.
- Then all of this stuff on the discovery players, which is playing out to be a confusing topic:
What is a Discovery Player?
A Discovery Player is considered a player who was not drafted in the College or Supplemental Draft, or a player who was “discovered” either domestically or internationally, who is not presently on an NWSL roster and whose rights are not owned by an NWSL team. Teams can also list a player who is currently on a roster for a European or other foreign club, knowing that they would likely not have access to the player until the completion of that foreign club’s league season.
How do teams claim Discovery Players?
The rights to Discovery Players will be allocated to a team on a “date of submission priority” basis. If two teams submit the same player, the team that submitted the player first will have the opportunity to sign her rights.
What is the process to sign a Discovery Player?
Once a team has submitted a Discovery Player, the decision to sign that player will need to be made in a timely manner determined by the League. Should a team decide to not sign the submitted player in a timely manner, that player can sign with another club.
How can players who are not signed by a team get onto a roster during the season?
Players who have never been signed or taken in any of the League’s player acquisition mechanisms can be signed as Discovery Players.
Will there be opportunities after the four Discovery Players for teams to add any other players?
After the initial four Discovery Players are selected and once teams have gone into camp, additional Discovery Players may be permitted.
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