Bay FC will construct a large portion of its initial roster next month when the NWSL holds its expansion draft for the two teams entering the league in the 2024 season.
The draft — convened virtually — will be held Dec. 15 as Bay FC and fellow expansion team Utah Royals FC will have their pick of current NWSL players from other teams, with restrictions. Bay FC will have the first pick, and both expansion teams will be able to add up to 12 players in the draft, as outlined in the rules released Wednesday by the NWSL.
Each of the league’s existing 12 teams will be allowed to protect nine players on their existing roster from being drafted by either of the new clubs. After a team has lost a player in the draft, it will be able to protect one additional player from its roster, and no team will lose more than two unprotected players.
Unsigned free agents — restricted or not — and players under the age of 18 are not within the pool of players eligible to be drafted.
The free agency negotiation window is already open, and Bay FC can begin signing free agents along with the 13 other clubs Nov. 20.
The 12 existing teams will be required to submit their list of protected players on Dec. 12, when a transaction moratorium across the league begins ahead of the draft.
CBS Sports Network will air the draft, with coverage beginning at 4 p.m.
The NWSL has not yet announced dates for the amateur draft and the start of the season. Bay FC will have the second selection in the first and third rounds of the four-round draft, which is likely to be held in January, and the first picks in the second and fourth rounds.