The Boston Breakers have traded midfielder Kristie Mewis and defender Kassey Kallman to the Washington Spirit in exchange for defender Megan Oyster and the #3 and #9 overall draft picks in the 2017 NWSL College Draft. Boston and Washington have also traded spots in the Distribution Ranking Order, aka allocation. Boston was #1 but will now be #2, while Washington takes the #1 spot.
Oyster was a key defender for the Spirit, though her stock with head coach Jim Gabarra seemed to fall over 2016. Still, when she was allowed to work on the back line, she really worked, and could end up being part of a revitalized Boston defense. Oyster is currently plying her trade for the Newcastle Jets in the Australian W-League, where she just helped them beat the Melbourne Victory 4-0.
Mewis and Kallman were both solid fixtures of Boston’s lineups over the past couple of years, but after being a bright spot in 2015, Kallman had an up-and-down 2016 and Mewis didn’t quite seem to click in the midfield under either Tom Durkin or Matt Beard. Now Beard sees an opportunity to really restructure the roster to his specifications, he’s making some shake-up moves.
Of course Beard has brought on new players Emilie Haavi, Amanda DaCosta, and Rosie White, while also releasing longtime Breakers like Katie Schoepfer, so this is just more of the same, but it certainly feels like more of an impact when two very recognizable names for Boston go at once.
There’s also this matter:
Breakers now own 7 of the top 16 picks in the 2017 #NWSL draft— Dan Lauletta (@TheDanLauletta) November 17, 2016
Beard will almost certainly use some of those picks as leverage for more trades before January. Those top seven picks include the #1 draft pick, a valuable item to keep tucked away in his pocket while he uses picks 3, 9, 11, 12, 15, and 16 for whatever else he has in mind.
“We have a plan in place for how we use the draft picks to help strengthen the squad which is the important next step,” said President of Soccer Operations and Development Lee Billiard, which seems to be a solid hint that draft picks for players is in the team’s future.
Allocation order changing is also mildly interesting from the Boston side. From the Spirit side it looks like they may be angling to make sure any big national team names who get allocated for 2017 go to Washington first (whither Mal Pugh?). For Boston, Beard may care less about that and more about using his international network to recruit players he trusts, as well as picking through the best that NWSL has to offer. (It should be noted that the Spirit are currently having something of a fire sale, offloading players like Ali Krieger and Oyster after a tumultuous season that generated some bad blood between players and ownership despite the team’s championship run, so trades from the Spirit aren’t necessarily an accurate indicator of other players Beard could acquire.) And in any case staying #2 on the allocation list isn’t bad at all.
The overall early winner here looks to be Boston, but if Gabarra can get a better performance out of Mewis and Kallman bounces back to have a solid year, this could actually be a trade that works out for both teams. Perhaps that’s an unwarranted level of optimism considering this is Boston and Washington we’re discussing, but haven’t we all suffered enough in 2016 anyway?