- 18-20 Player Roster
- Teams may have no more than 20 active (registered) Players under contract on their Roster at any one time, subject to Injury Replacement exceptions.
- For Players whose rights a Team holds from the previous Season, the decision must be made by March 9, 2015. Any Player not signed at that point will become available to be claimed as a Discovery Player. The Player would then be available to all Teams through the Discovery Process.
- Once preseason begins, Teams must make a decision on Non-Contracted Players, whose rights they hold, within 10 days once the Player reports (Example: college drafted Players)
A domestic Player is either a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident (Green Card holder) or the holder of certain other special status (e.g., has been granted refugee or asylum status). There is no limit as to the number of domestic Players on a Team’s Roster within general Roster limits.
Each Team has four (4) international Roster spots for the 2015 season, which will revert back to three (3) international Roster spots at the conclusion of the 2015 season. These international Roster spots may be traded with the only condition being time (spots can be traded for one year, two years or forever). With trades, there is no limit on the number of international Roster spots a Team may have. Any Player who does not qualify as a domestic Player in the U.S. shall be considered an international Player. Any international Player must occupy an international Roster spot on a Team’s Roster (with the exception of Canadian or Mexican Allocated Players).
The term “Allocated Player” refers to a Player who is designated by her federation (FMF, CSA and U.S.) to play in the League.
An amateur Player is any person other than a professional Player. An amateur Player may not receive or retain any remuneration for playing except expenses directly related to a game or games which have actually been incurred by the Player.
Each Team’s Amateur List will initially be allowed 10 amateur Players
The Players listed on the Amateur List may remain there through the end of the 2015 Season.
If another Team puts in a claim to sign a Player on another Team’s amateur list to a SPA the club will have 48 hours to make a decision.
SOURCES OF PLAYERS
Teams may add Players to their Roster through one of the following mechanisms:
Season-ending Injury Replacement
In order for a Team to add a Player to its Roster, it must use one of the above mechanisms. Once it has been determined that a Player may be added pursuant to one of the above mechanisms, it must then be determined if the Player’s addition would be within the relevant Roster limits and guidelines.
Each NWSL Team shall be allotted Allocated Players by the League. Allocated Players are determined by individual federations (Canada, Mexico and United States).
Allocated Players’ salaries are generally paid to the League by the respective federations and do not count against the Salary Cap. Allocated Player housing will be provided by the Team for non-U.S. Allocated Players and counts against the Team Housing Cap.
For Teams that receive fewer than the full complement of Allocated Players, salary relief may be provided at the discretion of the League.
In the event a Team has more than the full complement of Allocated Players, that Team will provide back to the League a set salary amount to be distributed to the Teams that do not have their full complement of Allocated Players.
Any additional Salary Cap relief may be provided at the discretion of the League.
These are Players drafted by Teams in the annual NWSL College Draft.
All Players who have exhausted their college eligibility or who will graduate in the 2014-15 year are eligible for the College Draft. Players must be registered by Jan. 16, 2015 to be part of the College Draft. If a Player is eligible and does not register, that Player will not be able to be on the Roster of a NWSL Team until Oct. 1, 2015 – at which point that Player will become eligible as a Discovery Player.
The draft order is based upon the Teams’ on-field performance during the previous year. If Teams are tied, the Tie Breaking Procedures set forth in Exhibit 6 shall be utilized.
A Player who is on the College Draft List and is undrafted may be added to a Team’s Roster via a Discovery claim on a first-come, first-serve basis. If more than one Team selects the same Player on the same day, priority will be determined in accordance with the League’s Discovery Order.
College Protected List
If a college Player is drafted by a Team in the College Draft, the League will attempt to sign the College Player to a contract in a salary range predetermined by the League Office.
Any college Player who has refused to sign an NWSL contract or who has refused to report to the Team to be evaluated does not need to be placed on waivers and may remain college protected.
A Player on the College Protected List is not a Roster Player and may not play for the Team, since she has not signed a Player contract.
A college Player would come off a Team’s College Protected list by the start of the preseason (March 9, 2015) if she is not contracted by that Team. Any Player not signed at that point will become available to be claimed as a Discovery Player. The Player would then be available to all Teams through the Discovery process.
Players may be acquired in trades with League approval. See Standard Trade Agreement Form.
All Player trades are subject to League approval and to Salary Cap as well as Roster size and composition constraints. Player trades cannot be made for finite periods (i.e., Players may not be “loaned” by one Team to another or temporarily swapped by Teams).
Trades may not be conditioned upon a Player passing a physical examination or unwound because she failed to do so – it is a case of “buyer beware.” Teams are advised to undertake any inquiries regarding a Player’s medical condition before executing a Trade Agreement. It is also a case of “buyer beware” with regard to a Player failing to report to her new Team.
Bona fide consideration (either an exchange of Players, future draft choices) is required in each trade of a Player. No financial consideration is permitted. Teams are able to trade future draft picks and International spots as well as Players. Teams may not structure trades such that a Player may not play against her previous Team.
The League should be consulted early in any trade discussions so that Player salaries and other Player Agreement provisions can be confirmed, Team Salary Cap impacts can be determined, any draft positions to be traded can be confirmed, and any other matters, including the Players’ physical condition, can be discussed.
Teams must respond fully to all inquiries in anticipation of a trade regarding Player injuries, illnesses, or other matters, and provide copies of medical records as requested. It is anticipated that Team trainers and physicians will communicate directly on these matters. A Team’s failure to respond fully and accurately may result in sanctions imposed by the League as set forth under “Binding Agreement and Approval”. There is, however, no prohibition against Teams trading an injured Player.
Binding Agreement and Approval
A trade is binding on the Teams from the time the Trade Agreement is executed by both Teams and submitted to the League office, but is not final until approval has been received in writing from the League office. Once the League has given approval, the trade is final except where, in the opinion of the League, egregious conduct has occurred on the part of a Team involved in a trade that was not known at the time the trade was approved.
The League shall disapprove any trade of a Player if the consideration is not clearly established and accurately disclosed on the Trade Agreement submitted to the League.
Trades of Signed Discovery Players
Teams may trade signed Discovery Players that were on their discovery lists, but may not trade Discovery Player “rights” or “spots.” If a Team trades one of its signed Discovery Players, the Player will continue to count against the original Team’s Discovery List for the remainder of the season.
Trades of Allocated Players
Trades involving Allocated Players may take place regardless of the nationality of the Allocated Players. Teams may trade an Allocated Player for any other Player or College Draft Pick or International Roster Spot.
Trades for International Spots
Teams may trade International spots, provided that the only condition can be the length of time the spot is traded (e.g., a spot can be traded for 1 year, 2 years or forever).
Trades for College Draft Picks
Teams trading College Draft picks may not place conditions on those draft picks.
Teams are only permitted to trade selections for the next College Draft. The sole exception to this is that Teams will be permitted to trade selections from the next two College Drafts during the period of time from the conclusion of a Season through the end of the subsequent draft.
No trade may take place between the Roster Freeze and the NWSL Championship.
Standard Trade Agreement Forms
All trades should be submitted to the League office on an official Standard Trade Agreement Form.
A Discovery Player is a domestic or international Player who is currently not under contract with the League. A Team may claim her rights by adding her to their Discovery List.
The term “Discovery Player” may refer to both Players on the Discovery List and those Players under contract with the League who have been acquired through Discovery Process.
A Discovery Player request must be made to the League on an official Discovery Player Request Form during the “Discovery Period.” If approved by the League, the Player will be informed and will be added to the Team’s Discovery List.
Teams may submit discovery forms and sign Players during the following Discovery Periods for the 2015 season:
- Seven (7) in the period of September 3-March 9
- An additional four (4) in the period of March 10-April 10
- No more than three (3) unsigned international Players may be on a Team’s discovery list in the period September3-April 10.
- An unlimited number of Players may be signed, but only two (2) unsigned discovery Players may be on a Team’s discovery list from April 11-the Roster freeze date.
- No more than two (2) unsigned international Players may be on a Team’s discovery list in the period of April 10-the Roster freeze date.
Once submitted the Discovery Player continues to occupy a discovery spot. An exception to this would be applied if another Team submits a discovery request for the same Player and after 14 days the Player is not signed with the original Team she will be removed from the first Team and placed on the second Team’s list who submitted the request. The Player will then occupy a spot on the 2nd Team’s discovery list.
- A Player is put on a Team’s discovery list once they are in talks/negotiations (on behalf of the League) to sign the Player.
- It is incumbent upon all Teams to notify their Discovery Players that they are on their Teams’ Discovery List in order to assure that no tampering will take place.
- If another Team submits a discovery request for the same Player, the Team who holds the discovery rights will need to provide a Player Agreement within 14 days for the Player or release her rights.
- If the Player is released or the offer is deemed to not be bona fide, the discovery rights for the Player will then be awarded to the second requesting Team.
- If the Team makes a bona fide offer to the Player and she does not accept, the Player will not be eligible to be placed on another discovery list during that Season.
- Players will remain on a Team’s discovery list until the end of the Season at which time she will be removed.
A list of Discovery Players will be available for Teams to review in order to facilitate the process. This list is for internal use only and not be publicized in any way.
Teams may not discover Players in the pool for the full U.S. Women’s National Team. The Player pool for the USWNT is as determined by U.S. Soccer (usually posted on their website) at the time the Player is being signed by the League.
Teams may not discover a Player who played at a four-year collegiate institution during the college Season immediately prior to the date of discovery. If a Player has completed her college eligibility in the Season immediately prior to the date of her discovery and was not on the College Draft list, she shall not be permitted to play in the League for the current Season.
The discovery period for Discovery Players is as set forth in the Competition Calendar. After the Roster Freeze Date the Discovery List is wiped clean as only goalkeeper replacement signings will be made for the remainder of that Season.
Multiple Claims for the Same Player
If a Team makes a valid Discovery Player request and no other Team makes a Discovery Player request for the same Player on the same day (whether or not it’s a business day) during the Discovery Period, the Player shall be assigned to the requesting Team. In the event a Discovery Player is requested by more than one Team during the Discovery Period, the League shall award the Player to the Team per the Discovery Order.
The Discovery Order is determined via reverse order of the standings from the previous Season until Teams have played at least three (3) League games. If the discovery takes place prior to all Teams playing in at least three (3) League games priority shall be granted based upon the prior year's performance according to their point totals through the end of the Regular Season.
In the offseason, once a Team involved in a tie wins the tie breaker, it is moved to the bottom of the Discovery Order.
New expansion Teams shall be in the middle of the Discovery Order. If only one of the claiming Teams participated in the prior League Season, priority shall be granted to the Team that so participated. If neither Team played in the previous Season, priority will be granted to the Team that received the lowest 1st Round College Draft pick. If the Teams are equal in points, the League shall award the Player using the Tie Breaking Procedures for determining playoff participation and seeding (see Exhibit 6).
Salary Cap of Discovery Players
A Discovery Player’s Salary Cap number will include the Player’s salary (and bonuses, camps, etc.). The resulting Salary Cap number for the Player must not exceed the maximum Salary Cap charge or cause the Team to exceed its Team Salary Cap.
Loans and Transfers of Players by NWSL
Transfer of Players by NWSL
A Team may transfer or loan the services of any Player on a Team Roster to a Team outside of NWSL, subject to League approval for any such action that would remove a Player from her NWSL Team.
Player Transfers or Loans
All contract and transfer negotiations shall be approved by the League, consistent with the current rules.
Loans of Players by NWSL
Players may be loaned by NWSL to overseas clubs during the off-Season.
Loans of Players by NWSL must comply with the following:
- The Loan Agreement will be filled out by the Team and sent to the League Office for approval, along with contact information.
- NWSL will send a Loan Agreement to the Team to which the Player is being loaned. See Loan Agreement NWSL Form (Exhibit 14).
- Loans may not include any player out-of-contract during the NWSL season.
- An exit physical must be conducted prior to the loan being approved.
- NWSL Medical Health benefits will be available only while the Player is in the U.S.
- NWSL Workers Compensation does not apply while the Player is on loan with another League.
- NWSL will write into the loan agreement the Team that is taking the Player on loan will be responsible for injury and guaranteed their health.
- Per FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players: Article 10, paragraph 3 “the club that has accepted a Player on a loan basis is not entitled to transfer her to a third club without the written authorization of the club (NWSL) that released the Player on loan and the Player concerned.”
Loans for certain Players may occur after the conclusion of a Team’s Season and before the NWSL Championship. In this case, there may be a reduction of such Players’ salaries for salary budget purposes. Such loans are made in the sole discretion of the League.
Players Loaned to NWSL
All terms of any arrangements contemplated between an NWSL Team or any related party and a Player to be loaned to NWSL shall be fully disclosed to the NWSL League office. Any loan must be extendable to a second (2nd) year which will allow for the option year to be exercised. The loan agreement will include a proviso to this effect. The League office shall make a determination, in its sole discretion, as to the terms upon which it may accept such Player on loan.
Loans of Players to NWSL must comply with the following:
- The Loan Agreement will be filled out by the Team requesting the loan and sent to the League Office for approval, along with contact information. The League Office will send the Loan Agreement to the Team from which the Player is being loaned.
- NWSL will send a Loan Agreement to the Team the Player is coming from. See Loan Agreement Into NWSL.
- A Loan Fee will not be part of the Loan Agreement.
- The Loan Period for the Player shall be from the start date through the conclusion of the League Season.
- The Loan Period for the Player shall be over two (2) consecutive League seasons, as follows: for the 2015 League season from start date through September 30, 2015; and for the entirety of the 2016 League season.
- The NWSL Team will submit a Player Agreement form to the League.
- The loaned Player will sign the Standard Player Agreement.
- The loaned Player must have an entrance and exit physical with the NWSL Team.
- The loan must fall within the Registration Windows.
- Medical Heath benefits will be provided for the term of the loan.
- Workers Compensation benefits will be provided for the term of the loan.
- International Players must provide a P-1 Visa.
- International Players must have a Social Security Number.
LOANS TO WPSL
Teams may loan contracted Players to a WPSL Team. The loan period shall be from the initial date of the agreement through the end of the NWSL season, when the Player is not providing services to her NWSL Team. Teams will need to submit a loan agreement for an amateur Team which will be signed off by the National Women’s Soccer League prior to any participation by a Player. (Exhibit 19)
Players may be added to a Team’s Roster from the Waiver wire, through a Waiver Draft or “On- going Waivers.” See Waiver Request Form.
Current NWSL Players Waived
Teams may waive Players based on performance at any time prior to the Roster Freeze date during the NWSL Season. Teams may not waive Players between the Roster Freeze and the NWSL Championship.
A Team wishing to waive a Player must first obtain a favorable medical examination of the Player – an “exit physical” (Exhibit 10), and then submit its waiver request to the League.
Once a Player on a P-1 visa has been waived and is not picked up by another Team in the League, the League is obligated to notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the termination of the employment relationship. After that date, if another Team intends to offer the player a contract, it would need to file a new petition.
Provided the League approves the Player being placed on waivers pursuant to the above, it will distribute a waiver notice to all Teams. A Team claiming the Player must notify the League of the measures it will take to remain Roster compliant, if any such moves are necessary. Notice must be received by the League from a Team claiming a waived Player within the “Waiver Claiming Period.”
The “Waiver Claiming Period” shall commence on the day (the “Waiver Period Commencement Date”) the League gives notice to Teams and shall expire at 5:00 p.m. EST on the first day after the Waiver Period Commencement Date (the claiming period is 24 hours).
If a Team claims a Player and no other Team claims the same Player during the Waiver Claiming Period (having regard to the time of League deadlines, set forth in the Competition Calendar attached to this document), the Player shall be assigned to the claiming Team.
The waiver order is determined via reverse order of the standings from the previous Season until Teams have played at least three (3) League games. If the waiver takes place prior to all Teams playing in at least three (3) League games priority shall be granted based upon the prior year's performance according to their point totals through the end of the Regular Season.
In the offseason, once a Team claims a Player from waivers, it is moved to the bottom of the Waiver Order claiming order.
New expansion Teams shall be in the middle of the waiver order. If there is more than one expansion Team in a given year, they shall be listed in reverse priority order of the College Draft order.
All waiver forms should be submitted to the League Office.
If a National Team Player is being called up for National Team duty, a Team may bring in a U.S. Amateur Player to count toward the 20-Player Roster. The Team is not to provide any compensation to the Amateur Player, but may cover necessary expenses as approved by the League.
An Amateur Call-up Form will be submitted and Amateur Players will sign an Amateur Player Agreement. They must be registered Amateur Players with U.S. Soccer.
For each National Team Call-up, each Team will need to submit its Amateur Call-Up Form no less than five (5) days prior to the Amateur Player’s participation with the Team.
In the case where a Team has less than two available goalkeepers, a Team will be able to add a goalkeeper to its Roster until its goalkeeper is back to full participation with the Team. This must be done within the Salary Cap.
Transfer Windows/Registration Period
U.S. Soccer will not register Player loans or transfers that take place outside of our two annual transfer windows. The Primary and Secondary Windows are set forth in the Competition Calendar.
International Transfers and Loans
With respect to international loans or transfers of Players, the Players must be registered with U.S. Soccer within the registration windows. A number of requirements must be fulfilled prior to registering a Player pursuant to a loan or transfer. These include:
- Negotiation and agreement with the Player’s club for her loan or transfer;
- Negotiation and agreement with the Player as to her personal employment terms with NWSL;
- Confirmation from the respective football associations that the Player can be transferred in accordance with FIFA guidelines;
- Confirmation that the respective football association will release the international clearance (as it may take place outside their transfer window);
- The Player receiving a work permit;
- The Player passing a physical;
- Receipt of the Player’s International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
With respect to Players not under contract to any club, they may be able to be registered outside the transfer windows, provided the Player was out of contract during NWSL’s immediately previous registration window. This should be contrasted with Players that have secured a release from an existing contract or whose contracts have expired outside an NWSL registration window.
College Drafted Players
With respect to U.S. Players selected in the College Draft, they may be signed and registered outside the Transfer Window provided their clearance has not been transferred outside the U.S.
With respect to International Players selected in the College Draft, they may be subject to the Transfer Windows above and may have potential work permit issues.
In the event a Player suffers an injury that will prohibit the Player from participating for at least 45 days, a Player may be added to a Team’s Roster as a “Disabled List” replacement as set forth below. Any Player placed on the Disabled List will have to remain unavailable for a minimum of 45 days once documentation has been provided to the League.
Disabled List replacement Players must be signed prior to the Roster Freeze Date. Any Player coming off the Disabled List following the Roster Freeze Date may be added to the Roster, but Teams must comply with the relevant Roster limits.
Where the League determines that a Player has sustained an injury that will prohibit the Player from participating for at least 45 days during the League Season, it may provide the Team Roster relief, provided the full amount of the injured Player’s salary is charged to the Team’s Salary Cap in the relevant Season. Therefore, the Team is given Roster relief, but not Cap relief.
In the event where a Team has two (2) or more Players on its Disabled List, Salary Cap relief may be considered by the League.
Teams that carry or can create extra Salary Cap room will therefore be able to temporarily replace Players who are on the Disabled List. The budget number for the replacement Player will be calculated in the same manner as any other Roster Player.
Also, if the Player suffering the injury is an international Player, the Team may replace such Player with an international Player.
Season-ending Injury Replacement
Where the League determines based on certification from a Team’s medical staff that a Player has received an injury that is beyond reasonable doubt Season ending, it may provide the Team Roster relief, provided the full amount of the injured Player’s salary (or any settlement amount paid to that Player) is still charged to the Team’s Salary Cap in the relevant Season. In the event of such a determination, the injured Player shall not be eligible to play for the Team again during the Season in question. Therefore, the Team is given Roster relief, but not Salary Cap relief. Also, if the Player suffering the Season-ending injury is an international Player, the Team may replace such Player with an international Player.
Unexpected Recovery from Season-ending Injuries
In the event a Player, who had suffered a Season-ending injury and had been replaced on the Roster by another Player, unexpectedly rehabilitates and recovers prior to the end of the Season, she will nonetheless be barred from playing for the Team through the end of the Season.
It is up to each Team to structure its Roster to ensure that it has the best make-up to field a Team throughout the year. Teams are required to carry two (2) goalkeepers.
In the case of an injured goalkeeper, or where a Team has less than two available goalkeepers, a Team will be able to add a goalkeeper to its Roster until its goalkeeper is back to full participation with the Team. Also, if the goalkeeper is an international Player, the Team may replace such goalkeeper with an international Player.
This must be done within the Salary Cap.
No changes (including waiving Players) may be made to a Team's Roster from the “Roster Freeze Date” until after the NWSL Championship. Teams may add a short-term replacement after the Roster Freeze Date in cases of Goalkeeper Replacement (see above) and a Player coming off of the Disabled List. The Roster Freeze Date is set forth in the Competition Calendar.
No tryouts may be conducted by a Team unless they are done pursuant to this Section. A Player tryout shall include any practice, participation, or training: (a) with any Players not under contract to NWSL; or (b) under the direct or indirect supervision of an NWSL Coach, Trainer, or other member of a Team's management. No Team may conduct a tryout with a Player unless she has executed a Waiver of Liability Agreement and received an entrance physical.
Names of all non-contracted Players that are practicing with Teams throughout the season should be submitted to the League in order to have a record should any workers comp or insurance issues arise.
Contracted NWSL Players are not allowed to participate in offseason tryouts as this would be considered a violation of the offseason training rule.
Teams may not try out a Player on the Roster of another Team or a College Player who has been drafted by another Team without League approval. No Team may try out a Player under contract to a Team outside NWSL without the written approval of the League Office.
Teams may commence preseason training on March 9, 2015, but Players may report for off-field activities beginning March 6, 2015. A training session shall include any practice, participation, or training: (a) with any Players under contract to NWSL; or (b) under the direct or indirect supervision of an NWSL Coach, Trainer, or other member of a Team's management.
Any Player that is in preseason training camp with an NWSL Team cannot be discovered by another NWSL Team until she is released by that Team.
Beginning March 9, Teams must submit a preseason list of up to 32 Players. This list is to include only those Players who are currently participants in the camp. The list should be resubmitted any time there is a change in participants. By March 16, Teams may have a preseason list of no more than 25 Players, again to be resubmitted as changes occur. Forms will be provided to submit your list of Players to the League office. April 6 is the deadline for each Team’s 18-20 Player Roster to be submitted to the League.
A Player must be on an official NWSL preseason Roster to participate in scrimmages or exhibition games. Therefore, Non-contracted Players may participate in any scrimmages or exhibition games. If such a Player participates in a scrimmage or exhibition game without being added to the official preseason Roster, the Team will be subject to sanctions, including but not limited to fines.
The League will approve an unlimited number of tryout Players for a calendar year provided that the Team has not incurred more than US $5,000 in expenses in aggregate in such year in connection with such tryouts. Teams shall provide the League office with projected expenses in connection with the tryout and shall confirm actual expenses incurred after the tryout.
Scrimmages and Exhibitions
Teams may hold scrimmages and exhibitions during the regular season (April 6- Sept. 27) with prior notice and approval from the League office (See section 2.8 of Operations Manual). A scrimmage/exhibition Roster must be submitted at least 48 hours in advance to the League for approval.
In addition to Amateur Player Call-ups, Teams will be allowed to use Non-contracted Players in scrimmages and exhibitions in order to replace any missing Women’s National Team Players on their 18-20 Player Roster during WNT call-ups. It must be a one-for-one swap without exceeding the maximum of 20 Players on a Team Roster. Any Non-contracted Player must sign a Release and Liability Waiver in advance and be at least 18 years and older to be eligible.
A Player must be on the approved scrimmage and exhibition Roster in order to participate in scrimmages or exhibition games.
Teams may not commence training between September 1, 2014 and the Pre-Season Start Date (March 9, 2015). A training session shall include any practice, participation, or training: (a) with any Players under contract to NWSL; or (b) under the direct or indirect supervision of an NWSL Coach, Trainer, or other member of a Team's management.