NWSL

The 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft explained

Lizzy Becherano
The NWSL expansion draft explained
The NWSL expansion draft explained / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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What is the NWSL Expansion Draft?

The Expansion Draft is one of the primary forms of acquiring players for new entrants to the league. National Women’s Soccer League expansion teams are given the opportunity to make one selection from each team, nine total, from a list of available players from every existing roster.

This year, Angel City and San Diego Wave will be selecting in the draft ahead of debuts in 2022. 

How does the NWSL Expansion Draft work?

Prior to the draft, every team in the league must create a list of 'protected players'. Any player on that list is subsequently ineligible to be selected by the expansion side. Players without the protected status are subject to be chosen by the newest NWSL members and immediately traded. 

Angel City and the San Diego Wave will be able to make one selection from each team’s list of eligible players, nine in total. 

During the draft, new teams will be permitted three minutes for each selection with no timeouts. Trades are not permitted during the draft.

Angel City and San Diego will each be given a $150,000 Funded Allocation Money grant. The teams may keep this or exchange it with a team if they select an unprotected U.S. allocated player.

When is the NWSL Expansion Draft?

  • Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7 pm ET

Exemptions

  • NJ/NY Gotham FC also have expansion draft protection due to them trading the rights to Kailen Sheridan to Angel City and $130,000 in allocation money from Wave FC. Angel City also got the rights to DiDi Haracic in exchange for $50,000 in allocation money.
  • The North Carolina Courage have full expansion protection due to trading the rights to Cari Roccaro and Angharad James to Angel City and San Diego respectively.
  • OL Reign FC received $25,000 in allocation money and protection for their forward position group from Angel City in exchange for the No. 36 pick in the 2022 NWSL College Draft. The group of strikers includes Bethany Balcer, Tziarra King, Leah Pruitt, Megan Rapinoe and Ally Watt.
  • Portland Thorns FC have expansion protection from Angle City after trading the rights to Simone Charley and Tyler Lussi, $100,000 in allocation money and the natural second-round pick in the 2022 NWSL College Draft.
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