NWSL News of Note: College Draft and Roster Details, Seattle Announces Head Coach

News of Note for the National Women’s Soccer League… Details on the upcoming college draft, along with free agent status, international player quota and status, and initial roster structure, plus Seattle Reign FC names first head coach.

College Draft: On Friday, U.S. Soccer posted a news item announcing that the new league will hold a four-round draft for college players on Friday, January 18, 2013, during the NSCAA convention in Indianapolis. Players who have been out of college for less than a year and have not yet played professionally are eligible draft. The actual draft will be closed to the media and public, but the draft will be live-tweeted by the league as well as providing live updates on Facebook and the league’s yet-to-be launched website.

Free agent status: If a non-allocated player is playing professionally, or has played professionally, or has been out of college for more than a year, or went undrafted in the College Draft, then they will be considered a free agent. The league’s window for signing free agents will be sometime after the College Draft. (source: the same USSoccer.com news item).

International quota and status: As noted in an earlier post, there will be some sort of a quota for “international” players, namely two per team (Twitter). Players on foreign WNTs, but have U.S. passports, or foreign-born players with permanent residence status (e.g., have a green card, as will be the case with Lianne Sanderson – Tweet #1, #2), will apparently not count against this quota. In other words, if a non-allocated player needs a visa to play in the new league, then they count as an “international” player.

Initial roster structure: Teams are expected to have a roster of at least 18 players, but no more than 20 players. Seven of those players will be allocated from the sponsoring federations’ national teams: 3 from the USWNT player pool, and 2 each from Canada’s and Mexico’s WNTs. As noted above, teams will draft 4 players via the College Draft. The remainder of the roster spots (7 to 9) will be filled by free agents. A post-draft timeline for signing free agents and finalizing rosters (e.g., cutting free agents and drafted players) has not yet been published.

Fig. 1: Bar diagram showing an example roster structure.


Seattle Reign FC names first head coach: Also on Friday, the Seattle franchise named current Arsenal Ladies manager Laura Harvey as the team’s first head coach (Twitter). Under Harvey, Arsenal have three-peated as league champions (2009-2010, Women’s Premier League; 2011, 2012 FA Women’s Super League), as well as winning one Women’s FA Cup, and making the final four of the UEFA Women’s Champions League twice.  Further reading: Seattle Times blog write-up, ProstAmerika.com interview of Harvey, Arsenal.com write-up on Harvey’s departure,


Bonus: On Friday, U.S. Soccer also posted a feature about Ali Krieger returning to the USA from Germany.

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