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Quote Sheet: NWSL Allocation


NWSL Player Allocation Quote Sheet
Jan. 11, 2013


U.S. Soccer President SUNIL GULATI
Opening remarks:
“It's been a pretty terrific week for U.S. Women's soccer, starting on Monday in Zurich, where Abby Wambach won FIFA Women's Player of the Year and Pia Sundhage won Coach of the Year. It was a great start. And today, from our perspective, it's a great end to the week as we allocate 55 players, all of our gold medalists, 13 of Canada's bronze medalists and 16 members of the Mexican national team. It's really an exciting time. We've worked very hard with our two associations, Canada and Mexico, in this matter over the last several weeks and with our Women's National Team. They've been extraordinarily positive in trying to move this along. We're not done with all the t's and i's in our agreement with them, but they understand how important it is to keep the ball moving forward. We're very pleased we can make this announcement with 55 players. It's not been an easy process to go through this allocation, but we've taken a big step forward.”

On the allocation process, including Abby Wambach heading to the Western New York Flash in Rochester:
“The first criteria was the preference of the players, and Abby is very fond of her hometown. I don't need to say much more than that. She loves where she grew up, loves playing there and is very much looking forward to going back there. The very strong preference from the team and the player, in this case, made that one easy.”

On players who were allocated to FC Sky Blue:
“There were a number of players who had an interest in Sky Blue and vice versa. It came down to mixing and matching all the issues we talked about. The players they got were based on that. Obviously they have a hometown player in Christie [Rampone]. New Jersey was a popular place and lots of players had interest there.

On Western New York Flash’s two U.S. WNT Players and possible future allocations:
“It’s possible we will allocate an additional player down the road. We've got a new National Team coach (Tom Sermanni) and rather than allocate an additional American player today, and I'm not saying we would do that; the notion has always been “up to 24 players” from the U.S. side would be allocated. Today it’s only 23, but my guess is nobody in Rochester is too upset about having only two National Team players when it's Carli [Lloyd] and Abby.”

On the addition of international players to NWSL:
“It would be great to have many of the top world players, and I’m sure we will get some of them, but I don’t think you’re going to see the same number initially that was the case in the past. Partly because we’ve already got a number of international players from Canada and Mexico and partly because of economics. We already have a lot of international players and we think it’s a very good starting point.”

On the league’s status of free agency:
“There are no free agents or discovery players or anything like that who have been signed. We’ll talk about that more next week prior to the college draft. We'll do this in three pieces. These are the first seven. The college draft is one and the distribution of other non-allocated players and college players will happen in the next several weeks. We’ll announce the rules for that. No other players have been signed at this stage.”

On NWSL international rules:
“We’ll announce and clarify the international rules, which will be tied to the number of allocations people have. Again, you’ve got Canadian and Mexican players and other international players who have either played in leagues or lived in the U.S. and have green cards. There are a few complications there and legal issues, and we’ll make that clear next week. The motivation for this league to be a great place for our players to play, and we’ve added the Canadian and Mexican players to that. We want to make sure it’s a great place for players to develop while also making sure the quality is high enough on the field. That’s where the balance comes in.”

On accommodating player preferences during the allocation:
“In normal situations with a player entering a league for the first time they enter through a draft system and preferences are not weighted at all, whether it’s the NBA or NFL draft. From that perspective we’ve been able to accommodate the preferences of all players from all three countries in a very big way. We think that’s great and healthy. We’ve also been able to look at what the teams wanted in the placement of individual players.”

On the NWSL’s upcoming timetable:
“There is a lot of information here and a number of pieces still outstanding. Having gone through this 17 years ago [with MLS], there were a lot of moving parts then, and there are now. We’ll have information of it and a steady flow of it over the next few weeks. We’ve got coaches that have been hired, general managers being put in place and everything will fall into place. We’re certainly operating in real time, but today is an important part. So many of the best players in North America have committed to the league and so many medalists from the Olympics. We think that’s a great start and we certainly understand there’s a lot more information that teams, players and fans will like.”

NWSL Executive Director CHERYL BAILEY:
Opening remarks and the allocation:
“It’s an honor for me and a privilege for me to be the director of this new league. I was with our National Team for five years, so I’m excited to be back with the players and be a part of the new endeavor going forward. The allocation began with us collecting the names of players from all three federations. Once we received those we had a very broad group of technical experts provide input. We also had the players list the destinations they preferred and the teams had an opportunity to provide their preferences, as well. We had a panel of experts give us different information to help us make the best decision to match up players and teams to make a strong league. Moving forward we’ll have the college draft, as well as free agency, to make up what we believe will be eight strong teams playing in the National Women’s Soccer League.

On the requests from players and teams and the allocation process:
“It was a very challenging endeavor to be able to put together all of everybody’s requests. But that’s what the job entails. It’s exciting to take a look at the preferences for players and teams while balancing strengths and positions. It’s something that’s extremely important to make sure we have diversity and strength for teams to build a nucleus to work around. It is a give and take that shifted throughout the process.”

On factoring player marketability during the allocation process:
“That was provided to us with preferences from the teams and players. You do want to make sure the markets have players they are somewhat familiar with and excited about. Each of those considerations certainly was in there. It wasn’t the predominant consideration, but of course it was something we factored in.”

On the formation of the 2013 NWSL schedule, rules and rosters:
“In terms of the schedule, rules and regulations, we do have a lot of information that has just come in and we’re working around the MLS schedule. We hope to see the draft of [the NWSL schedule] in a couple of weeks. In terms of rules and regulations, there have already been some that are predetermined and we’ll fill in around those. In the following weeks there will be a lot of additional information coming out. At the present time we have a 20-player roster, so that gives you some idea of what will be filled in around these players.”

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