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Barnes, Fishlock headline list of OL Reign players available in NWSL expansion draft

Bay FC and Utah can select up to two Reign players in the draft.

Last Updated
2 min read
Lu Barnes and Jess Fishlock converse ahead of an OL Reign game.
Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

The NWSL released Expansion Draft protection lists on Wednesday morning, and OL Reign has elected to protect the following nine players:

  • Bethany Balcer
  • Alana Cook
  • Claudia Dickey
  • Sofia Huerta
  • Jordyn Huitema (International – Canada)
  • Veronica Latsko
  • Phoebe McClernon
  • Quinn
  • Olivia Van der Jagt

That leaves the following set of players (and retired players for whom the Reign still hold league rights) available for selection during the NWSL Expansion Draft, which begins at 4 PM PT on Friday, December 15:

  • Olivia Athens
  • Lauren Barnes
  • Elyse Bennett
  • Ryanne Brown
  • Jess Fishlock
  • Samantha Hiatt
  • Shae Holmes
  • Laurel Ivory
  • Jimena López (International – Mexico)
  • Luany (International – Brazil)
  • Alyssa Malonson
  • Maia Pérez
  • Morgan Proffitt (Playing Rights)
  • Abby Wambach (Playing Rights)

The NWSL Expansion Draft rules state that players with a "no trade" clause must be protected. While clubs aren't required to share who those players are, some could be on OL Reign's protected list. In addition, unsigned unrestricted and restricted free agents are not eligible to be selected in the expansion process, which means Rose Lavelle, Emily Sonnett, Nikki Stanton, and Tziarra King can't be selected.

The Reign can lose up to two players in the Expansion Draft. That could look like one player going to each club, or one of Bay FC or the Utah Royals selecting two Reign players. The Reign will be able to protect one additional player after the first expansion team selects someone from its roster.

The Reign and Chicago Red Stars are the only two teams that didn't make trades for full or partial protection in the Expansion Draft. They join the San Diego Wave, Racing Louisville, and North Carolina Courage in having players available for selection. While the Wave and Courage both made deals with Utah for protection, they can still lose up to two players apiece to Bay FC. And Louisville only has a deal with Bay FC, so they could lose two players to Utah.

Just ahead of the transfer deadline, several NWSL teams made deals with Utah and Bay FC to get full protection. Reporter Taylor Vincent rounded everything up in one tweet:

OL Reign GM Lesle Gallimore confirmed at an end-of-season press conference that the club was looking into both options: trading for Expansion Draft protection or being prepared to lose players.

"We are looking at expansion draft protection. Clearly, it would be good to have it – one, just so we can continue to focus on what else we want to do during the trade window. Those discussions are ongoing and we obviously have plans for having protection and not having protection. I think that those things are just all – we’re in the middle of all of it."

The Reign clearly weren't able to find a deal that worked for them and both expansion clubs. As they have done in previous years, however, the club talked to each player before to understand their potential interest in heading to Utah or Bay FC, and the protection lists reflect those conversations in addition to what Gallimore and head coach Laura Harvey think is the best Expansion Draft strategy.

The NWSL Expansion Draft kicks off at 4 PM PT on Friday, December 15, and will air on CBS Sports Network. Bay FC will have the first pick.

Here is a link to the full set of protected and unprotected players for each club that will be participating in the Expansion Draft.