Now that the 2023 NWSL season is over, the focus now turns to the 2024 NWSL Expansion Draft and the offseason moves that teams will look to make. The 2024 Expansion Draft will include Bay FC and Utah Royals FC looking to start building their rosters.
The draft will be held virtually on Friday. December 15 at 7:00 PM ET and it will air live on CBS Sports Network.
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Expansion Draft.
2024 NWSL Expansion Draft Rules
Each team compiles a list of protected players, which will be distributed throughout the league on December 12. The league will likely release it to the public a day or so after.
The last Expansion Draft was in 2022 when Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC joined the league. In that draft, teams could only select a total of nine players, and each team could only lose one player from each position group.
Expansion drafts are difficult for teams as they will likely lose at least one key player. Each team can protect nine players. This leaves any other unprotected player available for selection by the Royals or Bay FC. If a player has a “no trade” clause in their current contract, their team must protect them.
Once Bay FC or Utah Royals selects a player from a team, that team receives an additional protection spot.
Now, with free agency in the NWSL–currently unsigned players–unrestricted or restricted free agents are unavailable for the draft. So, players who aren’t currently signed will likely wait until after the Expansion Draft to either resign or sign with a new team.
Players that are under 18 are also exempt from the expansion draft.
Bay FC will have the first pick. The draft will have 12 rounds, with each team allowed to select up to 12 players.
Ahead of the draft, teams can trade out of the draft as well, which we’ve already seen some of this year. As we get closer and closer to the draft, we’ll likely see a lot of teams start to make deals in an attempt to control which players they lose.
Which Teams Have Draft Protection?
From Bay FC:
- The Orlando Pride traded their first-round pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft in exchange for expansion draft protection from Bay FC and $50,000 in Allocation Money
- Kansas City Current received protection from Bay FC and $175,000 in allocation money in exchange for midfielder Alex Loera.
- Racing Louisville FC received expansion draft protection and Bay FC’s second-round pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft in exchange for Louisville’s third-round pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft and $235,000 in allocation money.
From Utah Royals FC:
- The Orlando Pride traded midfielder Mikayla Cluff and the 26th pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft in exchange for $90,000 in allocation money and protection from the Utah Royals in the expansion draft.
- The North Carolina Courage traded Emily Gray and Frankie Tagliaferri to the Utah Royals in exchange for $30,000 in allocation money and protection from the Utah Royals in the 2024 NWSL Expansion Draft.
The San Diego Wave traded Kaleigh Riehl to the Utah Royals in exchange for $60,000 in allocation money and protection from the Utah Royals in the 2024 NWSL Expansion Draft.
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