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USWNT domestic league allocated players for 2020

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Whither Lynn Williams?

Mexico v United States: Semifinals - 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

NWSL has released the list of allocated players for the 2020 season. These are the players whose salaries are paid by their federations. There’s not a ton of changes for the United States, with 23 players on this year’s list. Allocation is usually a little glimpse into who US Soccer wants to keep happy and in the domestic league so that they’re more available for national team play, but there also seem to be some holdovers here from 2019. Here’s the breakdown for US players only by team:

Chicago Red Stars: Morgan Brian, Tierna Davidson, Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, Casey Short

Houston Dash: none

North Carolina Courage: Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Samantha Mewis

Orlando Pride: Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger, Alex Morgan, Emily Sonnett

Portland Thorns FC: Adrianna Franch, Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan

Reign FC: Allie Long, Megan Rapinoe

Sky Blue FC: Carli Lloyd, Mallory Pugh

Utah Royals FC: Kelley O’Hara, Christen Press, Becky Sauerbrunn

Washington Spirit: Rose Lavelle (USA)

The two new allocated players this year are Tierna Davidson and Ali Krieger, which certainly adds weight to their recent inclusion in Vlatko Andonovski’s rosters. For Krieger in particular, this may be a signal that she’ll be part of the Olympic roster, given that she was temporarily on the outs with the team until she was recalled for the World Cup. Leaving the list

It’s a little puzzling not to see Andi Sullivan and Lynn Williams here, and likewise that Allie Long is still allocated, given she doesn’t seem to be part of Andonovski’s future plans for the midfield. Casey Short is also someone who has been pushed to the fringes of the NT who is still allocated, although she is certainly one of the first names to come up any time fullback depth is discussed.

So what does that mean about allocation? Well that it’s always been a somewhat unfair process that only has last year’s performances to work with, instead of being an accurate look into the future. It’s also something that creates a divide between federation and league players, where there is a subset of the best players in the league who are much more beholden to country over club. And it has, until now, been a necessary complication while the league found its footing. There is a growing sense that the time to phase out this system is either now or very soon, especially given the league’s recent salary expansions. In the meantime, we can only speculate over who was left off or kept on and why.