Well, the first-ever NWSL trade occurred over the weekend, and it's a bit of a head-scratcher. The Chicago Red Stars shipped midfielder Keelin Winters to Thorns FC rivals to the north, the Seattle Reign, in exchange for a first round draft pick and a "future consideration." The general consensus is that "future consideration" means USWNT allocated player Amy Rodriguez.
At first this deal seems to make sense. Seattle's originally star-studded lineup has been decimated by bad luck and bad timing (Rodriguez is out for the season, due to pregnancy; allocated goalkeeper Hope Solo is out at least until the first few weeks of the season with a wrist injury; and allocated midfielder Megan Rapinoe won't be back from her Olympique Lyonnais commitment until June), and Winters is known as an incredibly talented player who can contribute defensively as well as distribute and score.The 5' 8" 24-year-old midfielder played for the University of Portland from 2007 to 2010, incidentally, and won numerous accolades during her college career, including being named the West Coast Conference's player of the year in 2010. No doubt Winters, who captained the US U-20 squad in 2008 and remains part of the national team pool, will help the Reign.
But did Seattle give away the future in order to steady what has been a rather lurching ship? The Reign didn't really need a midfielder, especially considering other more pressing needs: an flaccid attack lacking in firepower (even with A-Rod), and a leaky, inexperienced defense. Had the Reign remained patient and held onto that first-round pick, the team likely could have had their pick of the draft class of 2014, which looks to be full of future national-teamers, to help shore up either line.
It remains to be seen, of course, but at this point it's hard to not see this trade as a panicky move on the part of Seattle. Which, of course, is good news for the Thorns.