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NWSL releases 2021 NWSL Expansion Draft process and procedures

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CHICAGO The National Women’s Soccer League announced today the process and procedures for the 2021 NWSL Expansion Draft presented by Ally, featuring Angel City Football Club and San Diego NWSL, set to take place on Thursday, December 16, 2021. Prior to the expansion draft, teams will submit a list of protected and unprotected players which will be distributed to all clubs on Friday, December 10 by 2 p.m. PT. A public release of those lists will follow. 

Kansas City received an exemption from the 2021 Expansion Draft per agreement set forth when the team was established. 

Except as noted below, teams must designate all players and U.S. allocated players as either protected (meaning they are ineligible for selection by ACFC and San Diego in the expansion draft) or unprotected (meaning they are eligible for selection by the ACFC and San Diego in the expansion draft), according to the following requirements:

  • Teams are permitted to protect a total of nine (9) players, which may include one (1) U.S. allocated player. All other players and other U.S. allocated players must be unprotected.
  • Individuals on the Discovery List of any team are not eligible to be selected in the expansion draft (meaning that teams are not required to designate Discovery players as protected or unprotected).
  • Teams are required to disclose to the league, along with the protected/unprotected designation, any players/U.S. allocated players who a team believes will be unavailable to play by January 1, 2022, due to injury, retirement, loan, or any other reason. This information will be shared with the expansion teams.

Angel City FC and San Diego may select one (1) player from each team, for a total of nine (9) selections each. Additionally, both clubs may select no more than one (1) unprotected U.S. allocated player. One (1) $150,000 Funded Allocation Money grant will be assigned to each Expansion team, which they may keep or exchange with a team if they select an unprotected U.S. allocated player from that team.

The full process and procedure document is available here

The NWSL also announced today that each of the league’s 12 clubs will have the option of including up to five international player slots on their rosters in 2022, up from four in 2021. The change was requested by the league and approved by U.S. Soccer’s board of directors.