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Going global: Why are NWSL rosters becoming more international?

Photo credit: Orlando Pride, Bay FC, Daniela Porcelli / SPP

Once upon time, the most common way to build a National Women’s Soccer League roster was by building through the College Draft or by signing a recognizable U.S. women’s national team player. Many regarded domestic American talent as the gold standard.

But times are changing. As the NWSL swiftly approaches its 11th regular season – and the world catches to the U.S. women’s national team – the league is truly entering its international era.

Last month, U.S. Soccer approved commissioner Jess Berman and the NWSL governors’ request to increase the amount of international players clubs are allowed to have on their roster, The Equalizer confirmed this week.

Now, for the 2024 season, teams will be given seven international roster spots. Which is an increase from five during the 2023 season.

Due to expansion clubs Bay FC and Utah Royals also entering the league this year, that means there are an additional 38 international roster spots when compared to last season. Which equals a potential total of 98 rostered international players across the league, for 2024. Or 27% of the maximum rostered player pool.

“We’ve got to attract world-class talent”

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