NWSL Reallocation: Reign add Romero, Cox subsidized

Jared Wickerham

The Reign swap Mexican defenders and fullback Stephanie Cox becomes a US-subsidized player, but the threat of Houston stealing a player still looms.

The much-anticipated Great NWSL Reallocation of 2014 was announced this morning, and it left the Reign mostly unscathed. In fact, it was probably a net gain for the team (at least for now). As expected, the team kept their existing three USWNT players — Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, and Sydney Leroux. In addition, Stephanie Cox — who was a national team regular until she took a year off to have a child, and is a good bet to be on the World Cup roster in 2015 — became a US-subsidized player, which means the team doesn't have to pay her salary.

The team will stay with one Canadian — defender Carmelina Moscato — after Kaylyn Kyle was traded and Emily Zurrer left the league for Europe. They will also have one Mexican, but it won't be defender Jenny Ruiz — who is no longer a subsidized player and whom the team won't be signing to their own contract. Instead they were allocated defender Ari Romero, who just finished her collegiate career with Nebraska as the Big Ten Defender of the Year.

Elsewhere, the biggest news was American forward Christen Press being allocated to Chicago. The Red Stars also had to swap first round picks with Houston as some kind of weird compensation for getting her.

The Dash were allocated defender Whitney Engen as their only US player. The league has said that the remainder of their US players will come via the expansion draft, which raises some serious questions, particularly for the Reign. If the expansion protected lists are freely created, I don't think there's any question that there would be no US allocated players available, since the US players are as a group the most talented and marketable players in the league. So for the league to be confident that there will be US players available, there will likely have to be some rule that forces them into the pool. My guess would be a rule that says no more than 3 US allocated players can be protected. That would hit Seattle and FC Kansas City, both of which have 4 US players (and the 2 available would convenient get Houston to the target of 3). And it would mean a pretty unpleasant loss of a player that the team is heavily invested in.

The full details of the allocation are available on the league site here.

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