With their recent press releases (January 31 and today) the National Women’s Soccer League has laid out the process surrounding the drafting of additional players, and well as the Discovery Player process:
- The draft will consist of six rounds
- Each team will submit a list of 8-10 names of players, thereby creating a pool of up to 80 players from which selections can be made
- The selection order has been finalized, with Washington getting the top pick (essentially, they get their choice of any unallocated player out there by merely adding that name to their list)
- Teams will then be permitted to claim up to four additional undrafted, unallocated players as Discovery Players on a first-come, first-served basis
I love the idea of teams submitting the names for the draft pool, in the interests of transparency. There is also an added sense of intrigue in the decisions made by teams on which players’ names to be submitted, as well as around the process itself:
Will the same names appear on multiple team lists, or will the pool max out at 80 unique names?
Once all names are submitted, will Washington– with the first pick – select one of the players they added, or reach out to choose a player that was submitted by another team instead?
How many other teams might choose to deviate from their submissions?
If you are a team with interest in a player from a lower-profile program (or overseas, perhaps), will you intentionally leave that name off the list in the hopes that she is not added by anyone else, and can thereby be picked up in Discovery?
Since there is no doubt teams have been in contact with players, could Team X and a player reach a handshake agreement where said player may decline the overtures from another team looking to add her to their draft list to allow her to sign in Discovery with Team A? Certainly, if a team is told that a player does not want to play for them (for any number of reasons), the team will not waste a supplemental name submission – much less a draft pick – on that player.
One issue not addressed in the league release which I called out previously is how much control the teams have over the draft rights to those selected. If Kansas City chooses Player X – and she declines the invite or, as in the cases of Amy Rodriguez and Amy LePeilbet, is unable to play medically (for admittedly very different reasons) – does the team own her rights until next season? Can those rights be dealt for players or ‘future considerations’ if the opportunity presents itself?
Not quite cloak and dagger stuff, to be sure, but at least a little bit of intrigue to add to the ongoing roster creation process as the NWSL moves closer to its first ever opening day.