NWSL Expansion Draft 2022: Schedule, Live Stream and Notable Players

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2021

ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 26: Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States celebrates after scoring a goal during a game against Korea Republic at Allianz Field on October 26, 2021 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The National Women's Soccer League will hold an expansion draft on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET for the two new clubs being added to the league: Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC.

The event will be televised on the CBS Sports Network and available to stream on Paramount+, CBS Sports HQ, its corresponding Twitch and YouTube channels and on the NWSL YouTube channel.

Per an NWSL release, the two clubs "may select one player from each NWSL team, and no more than one U.S. allocated player in total from all teams."

Caitlin Murray of ESPN outlined other restrictions for the two expansion teams:

"Four NWSL teams earned full immunity in the expansion draft through a series of trades before last week's roster freeze: the Chicago Red Stars, the Kansas City Current, NJ/NY Gotham and the North Carolina Courage. Due to pre-draft trades, Angel City can't select any of OL Reign's forwards, including Megan Rapinoe, but San Diego can. The Portland Thorns and Racing Louisville are protected from Angel City while the Spirit are protected from San Diego. The Kansas City Current, which joined the NWSL this year, are exempt from the expansion draft."

The Wave have already made an enormous splash by signing United States women's national team superstar forward Alex Morgan. 

"As a Southern California native, I am excited to be making a long-term commitment to Wave FC and the city of San Diego," the 32-year-old said in a statement. "I am coming home to partner with this ambitious new club and to push the league forward for generations of soccer players to come. I cannot wait to get started and I will do everything I can to help bring a championship to this great city."

Angel City, meanwhile, has already landed Christen Press and Julie Ertz. 

But other star players still available include the USWNT's Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Kristie Mewis and and Canada international Christine Sinclair. The playing rights to Tobin Heath will also be up for grabs, though she is currently playing for Arsenal in England. 

Mewis, 30, seems an absolute lock to be one of the players selected in the expansion draft, though there has been buzz that she might join Tottenham Hotspur on loan. Regardless, she's the most talented midfielder available and still in her prime. 

Jordan DiBiasi and Marisa Viggiano would be excellent consolation prizes in the midfield behind Mewis. 

Rapinoe, on the other hand, is 36. While still obviously talented, the Wave and Angel City may choose to prioritize younger players as they build for the future. And the USWNT icon played in just 11 games for the OL Reign this past year.

Yes, she scored six goals in those games. She's still a huge threat and one of the faces of the sport. But don't be shocked if she isn't selected and remains in Seattle next season.