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Seattle Reign will get to select former Breakers during dispersal draft

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Seattle has the 3rd pick in the first round.

Seattle Reign vs. Boston Breakers: Photos Photo credit - MikeRussellFoto

One week after the NWSL Draft, the news became official: the Boston Breakers would cease operations, effective immediately. The 2018 NWSL season will now feature a nine-team league, and each club will play 24 games—facing each opponent three times in the regular season.

This heartbreaking news for Boston fans and players came seemingly out of nowhere, but occurred after a new potential owner backed out just before the draft. As Dan Lauletta reported, the league looked to secure a last-minute purchaser to at least operate the team in 2018, but a deal never surfaced.

With the league unable or unwilling to keep Boston afloat for the 2018 season, a worst-case solution was identified: host a dispersal draft to give the players in Boston the opportunity to head to another team in the league and find some stability in a heartbreaking moment.

Seattle Reign FC has the third, 16th and 21st pick in the draft.

Breakers Dispersal Draft

The Dispersal Draft will be conducted on Tuesday, January 30 at 1 p.m. PT. Players available in this draft include those drafted by Boston in the 2018 college draft, players signed to play for the Breakers this season, and players on Boston’s discovery list or retired players for whom Boston still holds rights.

The draft order was determined in a random, weighted draw. The five remaining teams that did not make the playoffs in 2017 received two envelopes each for the draw, while the four playoff teams received just one envelope each. The draft will use a snake format, so the team that selects last in the first round will have the first pick of the second round.

The final order of the Dispersal Draft was announced at 11 a.m. PT on Tuesday.

Final Draft Order

First Round

  1. Washington Spirit (via NJ)
  2. Sky Blue FC (via WAS)
  3. Seattle Reign FC
  4. Portland Thorns FC
  5. Utah Royals FC
  6. Houston Dash
  7. Chicago Red Stars
  8. Seattle Reign FC (via ORL)
  9. North Carolina Courage

Second Round

  1. North Carolina Courage
  2. Seattle Reign FC (via ORL)
  3. Chicago Red Stars
  4. Houston Dash
  5. Utah Royals FC
  6. Portland Thorns FC
  7. Seattle Reign FC
  8. Washington Spirit
  9. Sky Blue FC

Third Round

  1. Sky Blue FC
  2. Washington Spirit
  3. Seattle Reign FC
  4. Portland Thorns FC
  5. Utah Royals FC
  6. Houston Dash
  7. Chicago Red Stars
  8. Orlando Pride
  9. North Carolina Courage

Fourth Round

  1. North Carolina Courage
  2. Orlando Pride
  3. Chicago Red Stars
  4. Houston Dash
  5. Utah Royals FC
  6. Portland Thorns FC
  7. Seattle Reign FC
  8. Washington Spirit
  9. Sky Blue FC

Roster Implications

Team roster sizes will remain at a 20-player maximum. However, the league did allow a few concessions to make it easier for the nine teams still in the league to absorb some of Boston’s talent.

First, players under contract with Boston and newly selected Boston draft picks will not count against the roster limit or the salary cap for 2018, and if a player requires an international slot the selecting team will receive an extra slot for the season. Housing and auto expenses also will not count against the Permitted Team Assistance Cap.

These measures do not apply to retired players, who would require a roster spot as well as on-cap housing and auto expenses.

Teams can select up to four players during the dispersal draft, but may pass at any point.

While this is probably the best solution for the league as an emergency step, it also likely means that the teams with more financial security are the ones who will be able to fold in the most players from this draft, since the clubs will be responsible for paying salary and living assistance for any players they select, even if it is off-cap.

Current expectations are that at least one new team will enter the league in 2019, so these expanded rosters will help the league retain talent in anticipation of an expansion draft next year.

What Makes Sense for Seattle?

While Seattle has built a solid core of players this offseason, and we expect a few signings and additional moves to be announced in the coming weeks, fans should expect Reign FC to make at least one pick in tomorrow’s draft. Of the players who have declared themselves eligible in this Dispersal Draft (full list below), let’s take a look at which make the most sense for Seattle with that third pick.

Rose Lavelle is likely going first in the draft, leaving the Washington Spirit with the second pick (at least for the time being). The Spirit need some defensive cover, so a player like Allysha Chapman, Megan Oyster, Julie King (recovering from an injury), or Christen Westphal makes the most sense for them. It’s always hard to predict what the Spirit will do, however.

Seattle needs some depth on the wings and could use a creative attacking midfielder. If by some miracle Lavelle falls to third, it would be silly to pass her up. Assuming she is already gone, I would swoop in on the newly drafted Savannah McCaskill, who just earned her first U.S. senior national team cap. She can play on the wing or in the middle and is a creative player who knows how to find space. She likes to both score and create—accumulating 40 goals and 34 assists for South Carolina.

Other players who could make sense for Seattle include Morgan Andrews, who led USC to a college championship in 2016 and is a hardworking player who can fill any role in the midfield; and Margaret (Midge) Purce, a speedy winger who has youth national team experience and can also fill in at right back. Angela Salem is a solid holding midfielder who makes any team better, but filling that position is probably not the most urgent need for Seattle this season.

The Dispersal Draft takes place Tuesday, January 30 at 1 p.m. PT. Follow along here for Seattle Reign FC’s selections.

2018 Dispersal Draft - Available Players

Contracted Players

Addo, Elizabeth (INTL - GHA)
Andrews, Morgan
Chapman, Allysha (FED - CAN)
Dowd, Hayley
Dowie, Natasha (INTL - ENG)
Elby, Brooke
Frisbie, Amanda
King, Julie
Lavelle, Rose (FED - USA)
Leon, Adriana (INTL - CAN)
Okvist, Lotta (INTL- SWE)
Onomonu, Ifeoma
Oyster, Megan
Prudhomme, Sammy Jo
Purce, Margaret
Salem, Angela
Smith, Abby
Stengel, Katie
Weimer, Tiffany
Westphal, Christen
White, Rosie (INTL - NZL)

2018 College Draft Picks

Boyles, Joanna
McCaskill, Savannah
Miller, Ashton
Wenger, Elizabeth

Retired Players

DaCosta, Amanda
Elston, Lindsay
Engen, Whitney
Pathman, Mollie
Schillgard, Louise (INTL - SWE)
Simon, Kyah (INTL - AUS)