It’s a ghoulish business, this, the parceling off of a roster from a folded team. But players need a place to play, and short of actually setting a reasonable deadline for ownership negotiations that would have given people proper time to find a job, the league has done its best to incentivize teams to draft players with relaxed rules around salary caps and roster limits for those drafted.
The Washington Spirit shuffled the initial draft order when they traded Sky Blue FC for the top pick in the dispersal draft in exchange for their #2 pick, as well as a first round pick in the 2019 college draft. That positioned them to take midfielder Rose Lavelle, who joins an exciting and talented young roster in Washington.
Here’s how the entire draft went down:
1. Washington Spirit - Rose Lavelle (F)
2. Sky Blue FC - Savannah McCaskill (F)
3. Seattle Reign - Megan Oyster (D)
4. Portland Thorns - Midge Purce (F)
5. Utah Royals - Abby Smith (GK)
6. Houston Dash - Kyah Simon (F)
7. Chicago Red Stars - Rosie White (M)
8. Seattle Reign - Elizabeth Addo (F)
9. North Carolina Courage - Julie King (D)
10. North Carolina Courage - Allysha Chapman (D)
11. Seattle Reign - Morgan Andrews (M)
12. Chicago Red Stars - Ashton Miller (M/F)
13. Houston Dash - Lotta Okvist (D/M)
14. Utah Royals - Katie Stengel (F)
15. Portland Thorns - Angela Salem (M)
16. Seattle Reign - Christen Westphal (D)
17. Washington Spirit - Elizabeth Wenger (D)
18. Sky Blue FC - Adriana Leon (F)
19. Sky Blue FC - Amanda Frisbie (D)
20. Washington Spirit - Tiffany Weimer (M)
21. Seattle Reign - Lindsay Elston (M)
22. Portland Thorns - Ifeoma Onumonu (F)
23. Utah Royals - Brooke Elby (D)
24. Houston Dash - Sammy Jo Prudhomme (GK)
25. Chicago Red Stars - Joanna Boyles (M)
26. Orlando Pride pass - forfeit remainder of picks
27. North Carolina Courage pass - forfeit remainder of picks
28. North Carolina Courage - forfeited pick
29. Orlando Pride - forfeited pick
30. Chicago Red Stars - Whitney Engen (D)
31. Houston Dash pass
32. Utah Royals - Amanda DaCosta (M)
33. Portland Thorns pass
34. Seattle Reign pass
35. Washington Spirit pass
36. Sky Blue FC pass
Players in the draft not taken by any team: Hayley Dowd, Natasha Dowie, Mollie Pathman, Louise Schillgard
It’s hard not to feel for a young player like Dowd, but unless teams really wanted a deep reserve option, it was going to be difficult for her to find space on a roster. Pathman has retired to pursue a career in the medical field and Schillgard left Boston before 2017 for “personal reasons.” As for Dowie, it’s a little puzzling no one would take her unless perhaps teams knew she wouldn’t be available for 2018, but she kept her name in the dispersal draft in order to keep her options open. Or it could be that the confluence of what teams needed and their order in the draft somehow created a perfect storm of conditions that no one could or would pick her particular style of center forward.
Remember that teams are picking up the rights to players here and not everyone drafted today may end up actually signing for the team that chose them. Teams might just want to sit on the rights for certain players to use them for future trades, or in hopes a player may come out of retirement.
If anything good comes out of this, hopefully it’s that players who served Boston faithfully may now get to showcase their talents on new teams and find the team success that eluded them with the Breakers. It’s not ideal to have to be picking up and moving with preseason beginning February 19, but at least most of the roster seems to have landed on their feet.
NWSL kicks off the regular season the weekend of March 24-25.