There is still much uncertainty around the new National Women’s Soccer League but details about the teams are slowly trickling in. The Pacific Northwest may be the busiest with the Portland and Seattle franchises naming coaches and beautiful logos. Merritt Paulson also says that the Portland Thorns are selling season tickets at a brisk pace. Now we finally know a little about how the rosters will be filled.
A four round draft will take place on January 18, 2013 in Indianapolis. The eight teams will be drafting in an order to be determined by a blind draw. In an attempt to even the draft, the teams will draft in a snake format meaning the team that drafts eighth in the first round will draft first in the second round. Only players that completed their college eligibility in 2012 can be drafted with all other players considered free agents. The NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey chimed in on the draft.
The forming of rosters is always an exciting part for teams and fans and an important step for our new league. There are some extremely talented young players coming out of college this year and we are thrilled that there will be an environment for them to continue to grow as players and showcase themselves for international call-ups in the future.
The allocation process is taking shape as well in regards to the roster spots allocated by U.S., Mexico, and Canada soccer. The matching of players with their teams is to be completed by a third party. The teams that are chosen can go a long way to determine interest in the league and the fan base of each team. Of course the players will still have to buy into the league. Many want to know where Alex Morgan or Sidney Leroux will play. Each team is expected to operate with a $200,000 salary cap aside from the allocated players. These free agents will be submitting teams they are interested in playing for in the near future. There is said to be high interest in Portland and Seattle.
Those two franchises have moment based on the news being released, the coaches, and the culture of soccer in the Pacific Northwest. The Portland Thorns got a lot of positive feedback for the look of their logo and its connection to the Rose City. They then hired two-time Gold Medalist Cindy Parlow as the coach. Not to be outdone, the Seattle Reign hired Laura Harvey out of Arsenal L.F.C. after three league titles.
There is optimism with other teams in the league despite those teams not receiving as much publicity. Sky Blue FC that will play in Piscataway New Jersey are glad to be a part of the league. CEO Thomas Hofstetter can feel the excitement. Lisa Cole and Kristine Lilly lead a Boston Breakers team with a lot of history.
Still there are a lot of sketchy details that should be resolved in the next three weeks. Many were calling the league out on missteps from the beginning, but the NWSL is slowly gaining momentum.