Just two days after coming to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement with players, U.S. Soccer on Thursday released its list of 22 federation players for the 2017 NWSL season. Megan Rapinoe is the lone allocated player for Seattle Reign FC.
What does it mean for Rapinoe and Reign FC? The NWSL has relied on the support of U.S. Soccer to be sustainable financially, which has propelled the league into a historic fifth season. U.S. Soccer pays the salaries of the U.S. Women's National Team players that are designated as federation, or allocated, players.
This relieves some of the financial burden on the clubs, who still have a small team roster salary cap. U.S. allocated players don’t count against this cap, which frees them to sign other high-level talent.
For Rapinoe, it means that she can be paid above the NWSL minimum salary and receives her salary from U.S. Soccer. For the Reign, there are still a few unknowns for how the NWSL will handle salary caps this season, as the details change slightly every year.
In the past, it was assumed that teams who received a higher number of allocated players were given a smaller salary cap, since they would not be responsible for as many individual player salaries.
Canada also released its allocated list in January, listing Reign FC’s Diana Matheson as an allocated player. However, it was announced in February that Matheson will miss likely most of the season with an ACL tear.
Rapinoe, who has 117 caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team, has been a federation player all five NWSL seasons. She was most recently called into camp with the national team for the upcoming friendlies against Russia on April 6 and 9. The first match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT.and airs on FOX Sports 1. The second is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT and will broadcast on ESPN.
U.S. Soccer actually has 24 federation spots available. In naming only 22, the federation leaves the door open for two more players.
Full list: 2017 U.S. WNT Allocated NWSL Players
Boston Breakers: Rose Lavelle*
Chicago Red Stars: Julie (Johnston) Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, Christen Press and Casey Short*
North Carolina Courage: Samantha Mewis and Lynn Williams*
Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and Alex Morgan
Seattle Reign FC: Megan Rapinoe
Sky Blue FC: Kelley O’Hara
Washington Spirit: None
Key: * = New federation player in 2017