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Frequently Asked Questions: NWSL Roster Procedures


The eight founding clubs of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) will fill out their rosters through numerous mechanisms leading into the inaugural season. Aside from the Western New York Flash, which was allocated two American players, each of the teams was allocated seven national team players (three Americans, two Canadians and two Mexicans). Each of the teams then drafted four college players during the inaugural NWSL College Draft on Jan. 18.

How will the teams fill out the rest of their rosters?

Following the NWSL College Draft, teams were able to sign four additional players beginning Jan. 18 and ending on Jan. 31. There will also be a Supplemental Draft and a period to sign Discovery Players.

Why were the Chicago Red Stars, Seattle Reign, Washington Spirit and Western New York Flash able to sign five additional players?

Those clubs were allowed one extra signing during the additional player signing period (Jan. 18-31) due to unforeseen absences or late season arrivals of allocated players. The specific reasons: Chicago Red Stars (a season-ending injury to an allocated player), Seattle Reign (a pregnancy of an allocated player), Washington Spirit (a possibility of allocated players being unavailable for the start of the season), and Western New York Flash (only received two allocated U.S. WNT players).

What is the Supplemental Draft and what is the reason for having it?

Following the period in which each team can sign four players (and in the case of the Flash, Red Stars and Reign, five players), each of the teams will submit a list of up to 8-10 players that will be put into the Supplemental Draft. The purpose of the Supplemental Draft is to provide a fair balance across the eight teams in obtaining available players.

Who is eligible for the Supplemental Draft?

Any player, domestic or foreign, who has graduated from college or is done with her college eligibility, was not selected in the NWSL College Draft, and whose rights have not been acquired through the previous roster mechanisms is eligible for the Supplemental Draft. Players who were eligible for, but not selected, in the College Draft may be named as Discovery Players after the Supplemental Draft has been completed (see below).

When will the Supplemental Draft take place?
Feb. 7 via a conference call. The draft will be tweeted live @NWSL.

How many rounds will there be in the Supplemental Draft?
There will be six rounds in the Supplemental Draft. The order of the draft will be determined soon.

Can teams pass on selecting a player during a round in the Supplemental Draft?
Yes, teams may pass on selecting a player during a round in the Supplemental Draft.

How will teams fill out the remainders of their rosters?
After the Supplemental Draft, teams may initially sign up to four Discovery Players, and after that period, teams may invite any remaining unsigned players to attend their preseason tryouts or preseason training camps.

What is a Discovery Player?
A Discovery Player is considered a player who was not drafted in the College or Supplemental Draft, or a player who was “discovered” either domestically or internationally, who is not presently on an NWSL roster and whose rights are not owned by an NWSL team. Teams can also list a player who is currently on a roster for a European or other foreign club, knowing that they would likely not have access to the player until the completion of that foreign club’s league season.

How do teams claim Discovery Players?
The rights to Discovery Players will be allocated to a team on a “date of submission priority” basis. If two teams submit the same player, the team that submitted the player first will have the opportunity to sign her rights.

What is the process to sign a Discovery Player?
Once a team has submitted a Discovery Player, the decision to sign that player will need to be made in a timely manner determined by the League. Should a team decide to not sign the submitted player in a timely manner, that player can sign with another club.

How can players who are not signed by a team get onto a roster during the season?
Players who have never been signed or taken in any of the League’s player acquisition mechanisms can be signed as Discovery Players.

Will there be opportunities after the four Discovery Players for teams to add any other players?
After the initial four Discovery Players are selected and once teams have gone into camp, additional Discovery Players may be permitted.

Is there a limit on how many players may attend training camps?
Each team may begin training camps with no more than 32 players on its preseason roster.

When do training camps begin?
March 11, 2013.

Can teams have fewer than 20 players on their rosters?
Teams can have no fewer than 18 players on their rosters and no more than 20 at any given time during the season.

What happens to players who were not signed before the Supplemental Draft, not taken in the Supplemental Draft or not signed as Discovery Players?
Players who remain unsigned after all of the mechanisms may still be invited to attend training camps to compete for a place on the 18 to 20-player rosters.

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