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NWSL announces official Expansion Draft rules, streaming location

Photo courtesy of Sky Blue FC.

The National Women’s Soccer League — and its clubs — are gearing up for the Expansion Draft, which will take place on Nov. 12. Racing Louisville FC, the newest club entering the league, will be making their selections at 7 p.m. ET, and fans will be able to tune in on the official NWSL Twitch channel.

With the trade window officially closed — after some head-turning moves by the Chicago Red Stars and a three-way trade between OL Reign, the Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage — the league announced rules for the Expansion Draft.

Unprotected and protected player lists will be distributed to all NWSL clubs on Nov. 5, by 1 p.m. EST. The NWSL will release those lists to the public and media the same day.

According to the rules, protected players cannot be selected by Racing Louisville FC. Unprotected players are up for selection by Christy Holly and the new club. Teams may protect up to 11 players — which includes up to two U.S. women’s national team allocated players.

Players that are on the Discovery List of any of the nine current NWSL clubs are not eligible for selection. Teams will not have to pinpoint if Discovery List players are protected or unprotected, according to the rules.

However, in a new rule, clubs must disclose to the league if any player is expected to be unavailable to play by Jan. 1, 2021, due to injury, retirement, loan or any other reason. That information will be shared with Holly and Louisville.

A full breakdown of the rules can be found here.

Christy Holly on becoming Louisville’s first coach, building an expansion roster, and leaving Sky Blue in 2017

As for the draft itself, Racing Louisville is allowed to select two players — or one U.S. allocated player — from each NWSL team. However, Racing Louisville is limited to two total U.S. allocated players from all teams. The full list of allocated players can be found here.

If Racing Louisville does choose less than two U.S. allocated players, the club will receive an allocation money grant of $75,000 for each spot. If Racing Louisville does not choose any U.S. allocated player, they can receive up to $150,000 in allocation money grants from the league.

That money can be used for roster transactions, which also includes usage fo the first pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft and that player’s salary.

In addition, any team that does lose a U.S. allocated player will receive an allocation money grant of $75,000.

The Houston Dash and the Washington Spirit do not have any U.S. allocated players on their rosters. Houston has Canadian allocated players, but there are no limitations for those players. Washington began the year with Rose Lavelle on their roster, but her rights are now retained by OL Reign while she is overseas.


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