We now know the 22 allocated women’s national team players for the 2019 NWSL season thanks to Equalizer Soccer dropping the list early.
Quick background for the unfamiliar: USSF helps subsidize salary costs for NWSL by paying the salaries of allocated USWNT players. This helps keep roster costs down in the league and gives the WNT players incentives to stay in the US league instead of seeking bigger paychecks abroad.
Sky Blue FC
Joining the allocated list are McCall Zerboni, Adrianna Franch, and Morgan Brian.
Also notable: the Houston Dash are currently the only team in the league right now without an allocated player. In seasons past, trade rules used to only allow allocated-for-allocated trades as a way to prevent one team from stacking their roster with WNT players, but the rule was phased out. Having a certain number of WNT players now does affect a team’s salary cap - for example if a team stacked their roster with 6 WNT players, with a limit of 22 they would theoretically be able to spread their cap over fewer players, but league rules prevent this.
The allocation list is a glimpse into who Jill Ellis and USSF considers closer to the core of their roster and could point to who is making the final World Cup roster - and who isn’t. Morgan Brian is an interesting point here, as she was allocated in 2017, dropped for 2018 as she was with Lyon at that point, and now comes back for 2019 despite not being rostered for SheBelieves. That would suggest Ellis still considers her a viable element of her World Cup preparation and left her out of SB perhaps to give her a rest, or to examine some other facet of her midfield (as unlikely as that seems).
There’s likewise the inclusion of Franch over Campbell, with Franch now the solid #3 on the team (or perhaps even competing now with Harris over #2) and the 24-year-old Campbell continuing her development.
Excluded from the list despite her clear importance to Ellis’ central defender depth is Tierna Davidson. It’s not necessarily a snub, as contract negotiations between the federation and the team may have more complications than we’re aware of, but considering Davidson is very close to a lock for the WWC roster, it’s worth a raised eyebrow.
Who do you think should have been allocated? Is there someone on the list that shouldn’t be?