NWSL Draft and Expansion Draft will take place in December as Angel City and San Diego enter the league

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The National Women’s Soccer League has announced the dates of the upcoming 2022 Expansion Draft and 2022 NWSL Draft. Both drafts will take place in Los Angeles, California, which will feature coverage across CBS Sports platforms. The expansion draft will take place on Thursday, Dec. 16 for Angel City and San Diego. Draft Day for all NWSL teams will come a few days later on Saturday, Dec. 18. Further details will be announced at a later date.

The announcement comes just before the first round of NWSL playoffs, with quarterfinals beginning on Sunday, Nov. 7 on Paramount+ and CBS Sports Network, with semifinals on Nov. 14, and conclude with the NWSL Championship on Nov. 20 on CBS TV.

NWSL Draft details

The 2022 NWSL Draft set for Dec. 18, and player registration is now officially open. The current draft order will have take shape at the conclusion of the 2021 NWSL playoffs. If players wish to declare themselves eligible for the NWSL they must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or a foreign national, who is currently or was enrolled at a university in the United States during the 2021-22 academic year;
  2. Be an individual who has exhausted, lost, or renounced their remaining collegiate eligibility during the 2021 calendar year, including high school graduates choosing to forego;
  3. Be at least 18 years old by the conclusion of the NWSL league season following the draft;
  4. Not be under a current professional contract, nor have previously signed a contract to play soccer professionally
  5. Register for the 2022 NWSL Draft Players must register for the 2022 NWSL Draft by 8 pm ET on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021.

Expansion Draft

Angel City FC and San Diego will enter the league and begin building out their rosters as the NWSL expands into a 12-team league. It will be the first time the league has conducted an expansion draft with two teams consecutively entering the fold. Houston Dash and Orlando Pride were introduced to NWSL in 2015 and 2016, respectively. 

The rules from prior expansion drafts have changed for the this unique expansion draft with two clubs participating. The number of players a team can protect has been narrowed from 11 to nine, while only being able to protect one U.S. allocated player. 

To add more complexities, Angel City FC and Racing Louisville FC have already engaged in a trade that sent the player rights to Christen Press to her hometown Los Angeles. Louisville received a 2022 first-round draft pick, $75,000 in allocation money, and full roster protection from the expansion draft. 

Take a look at some of the expansion draft rules

  • Teams can protect nine players. Of the nine players protected, each club can only protect one U.S. allocated player.
  • Players on a team’s Discovery List are not eligible for selection. Discovery List players do not need to be designated as protected or unprotected players.
  • Teams are required to inform the league of any player, protected or unprotected, that the team believes will be unavailable to play come Jan. 1, 2022, due to injury, retirement, loan, or for any other reason. This information will be disclosed to the expansion teams.
  • Angel City FC and San Diego NWSL can select one player from each team for a total of nine selections.
  • The expansion teams can’t select more than one U.S. allocated player.
  • 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.

A full list of expansion draft rules can be found here.

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