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2020 NWSL expansion draft on Nov. 12 rules

2020 NWSL Expansion Draft on November 12: rules, trades, allocation money and more

October 28, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
The 2020 NWSL Expansion Draft is days away and teams are already making moves to secure their most important assets as Racing Louisville FC looks to build their best possible team ahead of their 2021 season debutD

The madness started with a three-way trade between North Carolina, Portland and OL Reign on Oct. 22. Initially, the Portland Thorns aimed to bring USWNT veteran Crystal Dunn by trading with the North Carolina Courage, but they did not reach an agreement. Then came OL Reign, who facilitated the trade. 

Jeff Kassouf from The Equalizer explains what went on in the three-way trade in under 90 seconds.

On Oct. 26, the Chicago Red Stars traded away forwards Yuki Nagasato and Savannah McCaskill, the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft and an international roster spot for the 2021 and 2022 seasons to Louisville in exchange for roster immunity.

All in all, the Courage and Red Stars are protected from Louisville in this upcoming NWSL expansion draft. The following are the details disclosed by The Athletic's Meg Linehan about the draft.

2020 NWSL expansion draft rules

Each NWSL team can protect up to 11 players. Each team is limited to protect two U.S. allocated players, who will still count towards the list of 11 protected players. The remaining players will be listed as unprotected and available for Racing Louisville to select.

Teams must provide their lists of protected players to the league by 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 4. The rest of the teams will receive the lists for every team the next day at 1 p.m. ET. The lists will be made public later.

Teams will also disclose added information about their rosters exclusively to Racing Louisville. The additional information regards player availability by Jan. 1, 2020 due to injury, loan retirement, opting out for personal reasons or any other reasons.

Players eligible for selection

The protection process does not apply to only players on a NWSL team's discovery lists.

  • Under contract 
  • On the roster
  • Supplemental roster
  • Disabled or season-ending injury lists
  • Leave from the team
  • Loan to a club outside the NWSL
  • Players not currently under contract with a NWSL team but whose rights are held by a NWSL team – college draft, retirement, waivers, etc.

The introduction of allocation money might incentivize Racing Louisville to forgo selecting any U.S. allocated players. According to the rules, Louisville will receive $150,000 in allocation money if they decide not to select a U.S. allocated player. Moreover, if the team does choose one U.S. allocated player, that amount drops to $75,000. And if they choose two, they get no allocation money. 

On another note, if Louisville selects an unprotected U.S. allocated player from an existing team, the team will receive $75,000. 

The main reason why Racing Louisville would be incentivized to skip selecting any U.S. allocated players is that allocation money may be used on the salary of the first pick in the 2021 NWSL College Draft. In other words, Racing Louisville could use the extra $150,000 to potentially sign Stanford's Catarina Macario if she declares for the 2021 draft.

Expansion draft mechanics

  • 18 rounds
  • One player per round
  • Each round lasts three minutes
  • Racing Louisville has three five-minute time-outs
  • Each of the other nine teams has one five-minute time-out
  • NWSL has unlimited time-outs
  • Racing Louisville can only select two unprotected players maximum from any team

2020 U.S. allocated players by NWSL teams

Chicago Red Stars (protected after trade with Louisville)

  • Morgan Gautrat
  • Tierna Davidson
  • Julie Ertz
  • Alyssa Naeher
  • Casey Short

Houston Dash

  • None

North Carolina Courage 

  • Abby Dahlkemper
  • Samantha Mewis

OL Reign

  • Rose Lavelle
  • Megan Rapinoe
  • Allie Long

Orlando Pride

  • Ashlyn Harris
  • Ali Krieger
  • Alex Morgan
  • Emily Sonnet

Portland Thorns 

  • Crystal Dunn
  • Adrianna Franch
  • Tobin Heath
  • Lindsey Horan
  • Becky Sauerbrunn

Sky Blue FC

  • Carli Lloyd
  • Mal Pugh

Utah Royals

  • Kelley O'Hara
  • Christen Press

Washington Spirit

  • none

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