The awesome NWSL allocation list: Same as it ever was

Hope Solo is indeed on the list to play in the National Women’s Soccer League, likely ending (at least for now) any speculation that she may choose another path. So is Heather Mitts, all indications of retirement to the contrary.

That’s really the only news out of the U.S. section of the NWSL allocation list, which looks almost exactly like the list of players who played for the U.S. national team in 2012.

From that 2012 stats page, subtract one: Stephanie Cox, who’s pregnant. Add Ashlyn Harris and Keelin Winters, who are also in the official U.S. Soccer site’s player pool.

That player pool only has 29 players. Twenty-three will be allocated. Cox is pregnant. Jeff Kassouf reports that Meghan Klingenberg is staying in Sweden for now. Yael Averbuch also is staying there. Whitney Engen is in England. That leaves the two Class of 2012 players who’ll surely be high on the draft board next week — Kristie Mewis and Christine Nairn, who has already graduated from Penn State.

Not officially listed in the player pool but certainly under national team consideration is Christen Press. She’s … staying in Sweden.

So if there are no surprises, it’s only because the player pool is so small. And it includes everyone who played for the USWNT in 2011 and 2012 except Lindsay Tarpley and Brittany Taylor. Even if you go back to 2010, you only add six names: Sarah Huffman, Casey Nogueira, Meghan Schnur, Cat Whitehill, the retired Kate Markgraf and the really retired Kristine Lilly.

And that small player pool is the reason the USWNT needs a domestic league. You don’t want to be two injuries away from calling in people who aren’t playing at an elite level.


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Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

6 thoughts on “The awesome NWSL allocation list: Same as it ever was”

  1. Well, I was worried that some USWNT would decline to participate in NWSL: Solo has expressed her skepticism, Sauerbrunn had reportedly committed to a W-League team in Colorado; Rapinoe is in France, etc. The good news is that all of those players are on the list.

  2. Does being on the list equal a commitment to play in the league? Younger players like Winters might be taking some risk to reject an allocation destination, but Solo, Rampone, Boxx and others could more or less tell U.S. Soccer to pound sand if they don’t get the destination or package they want.

  3. Great post, Beau. Finally, now that Pia is gone, the curtain is removed, and a soccer journalist reveals just how shallow that USWNT player pool has become. And when one looks closer, it is even more frightening. For example, here are names of players who have spent time in USWNT camps in recent years, followed by the number of caps they have earned: Harris, 0; Engen, 2; Press, 0; Mewis, 0; Nairn, 2; Franch, 0; Farrelly, 0; Winters, 0; Bock, 0; Edwards, 0; Naeher, 0; Henninger, 0; Wells, 0; Klingenberg, 2; Henderson, 0. (The U-23’s leading goal-scorer in recent years, Sarah Hagen, has never even made it to a USWNT camp, let alone earn a single minute of playing time). Indeed, from the side that won the 2008 Under-20 World Cup, only two players — Morgan and Leroux — are now integrated into the full USWNT.

    Thus, there is a whole second squad of US players who have virtually no top-level international experience, whatsoever. Meanwhile, Heather Mitts, Amy LePeilbet, Amy Rodriguez, Rachel Buehler, and several others who are questionable for the 2015 World Cup, are fully funded by USSF in 2013. And Press will spend the next 9 months hoping Marta passes the ball a bit, so that she can score enough goals to keep herself on Sermanni’s radar.

    If this allocation is any indication how Sermanni will manage the full team, I suspect we’re looking at a very, very slow transition, with lots of favoritism toward veterans, while other nations get younger and much better (Germany, Japan, etc.)

  4. From a marketing perspective, my guess is that they’re banking on the majority of spectators going to pay to watch recognizable names from the past and get autographs and hope that the crowd stays long-term on the basis of the play of the upcoming talent. While that may not be what the diehard fan is after from day one, it is a reasonable scheme seeing as the major (vocalized) complaint from past leagues/owners was related to profit-loss margins specifically pointed at salaries.

    I think for the younger players the draw is still that there is a league in North America that pays them to play and where the USSF has a commitment to, which reduces some of the uncertainty of risk/reward that goes with low pay along with a place where they can be directly watched.

  5. I skimmed the NWSLnews review of the chat but with health insurance, workers comp and the away games transportation costs being stated the way they are it will be intriguing to see if actual expenses in a year or two from now are that much different from how WPS ran– a lot still seems to hinge on how many come through the gate over time.

    Have you been able to get any bark or bite from Andy Crossley?

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