The NWSL expansion draft for Bay FC and the Utah Royals is set to take place at 7 p.m. ET Friday on CBS Sports Network.
How long the draft will take, though, is anyone’s guess, as many teams opted to trade for draft protection rather than subject themselves to the guessing game. The Equalizer’s Taylor Vincent broke down every team’s status into a Venn diagram, showcasing who has protection from whom – and who doesn’t have protection at all.
8pm EST #NWSL Expansion Draft Update (Hopefully the last for my anxiety's sake)*Houston joins the party https://t.co/NFdMqRfvzl pic.twitter.com/0sCBKg4uvL— Taylor Vincent (@tayvincent6) December 13, 2023
8pm EST #NWSL Expansion Draft Update (Hopefully the last for my anxiety's sake)*Houston joins the party https://t.co/NFdMqRfvzl pic.twitter.com/0sCBKg4uvL
Neither the Chicago Red Stars nor OL Reign have protection from either expansion team entering the draft. But then again, they might have had less reason to seek it.
The Red Stars’ best player, Mallory Swanson, is a free agent and has not re-signed with the team, making her ineligible for the expansion draft. (But it’s highly likely she will re-sign with the club, given that her husband Dansby Swanson signed a seven-year contract with the Chicago Cubs last December.)
OL Reign, meanwhile, has players such as Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett exploring free agency and also ineligible for the draft.
In total, seven teams acquired total protection from Bay FC and the Utah Royals:
Racing Louisville acquired protection from Bay FC but not Utah. Meanwhile, the North Carolina Courage and San Diego Wave FC have protection from the Royals but not from Bay FC.
All offseason transactions in the league for the 2023-24 season can be found here.