Lost among the acquisitions of Nadia Nadim and Emily Sonnett in the NWSL College Draft was the announcement of a new player acquisition process for Canadian and United States' internationals not current attached to an NWSL club.
The league's Press Release states that "An Unattached Subsidized Individual (USI) is an Individual whom a Federation has designated as a potential Subsidized Player (formerly referred to as an "Allocated Player"), but whose rights are not currently controlled by an NWSL club. In addition, a Subsidized Player whose rights have been relinquished by their current Team will also be designated as a USI."
This process was announced just as the NWSL Draft was beginning on Friday, just prior to the Draft, the Thorns announced they had acquired Nadia Nadim and the #3 overall pick from Sky Blue FC for the #2 overall pick, which the Thorns prompted traded to the Boston Breakers for their #1 position in the Allocation Ranking. The Thorns have been linked to high school phenom Mallory Pugh, the top rated prospect in the Class of 2016, who has verbally committed to UCLA, and is currently in USWNT Training Camp, along with potential Thorns teammates Adrianna Franch, Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Meghan Klingenberg, and top selection Emily Sonnett.
Similar to the Allocation Process used in Major League Soccer, the ranking is determined in reverse order of finish from the previous season, with the exception of the previous season's champion, which is placed in the lowest position. Once a team has used their selection, they will drop to the bottom of the rankings.
NWSL Press Release:
NWSL ANNOUNCES NEW PLAYER ALLOCATION PROCESS FOR 2016 SEASONCHICAGO (Jan. 15, 2016) - The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) has announced a new Player Allocation Process for the 2016 season, which will provide an equitable mechanism for distributing the rights to new Unattached Subsidized Individuals to teams in the league.An Unattached Subsidized Individual (USI) is an Individual whom a Federation has designated as a potential Subsidized Player (formerly referred to as an "Allocated Player"), but whose rights are not currently controlled by an NWSL club. In addition, a Subsidized Player whose rights have been relinquished by their current Team will also be designated as a USI.Teams will be provided the opportunity to select Allocation-Eligible USIs on a rolling basis, in accordance with the following processes:USIs will be made available for selection by Teams after the NWSL is notified by a Federation that a USI is available for allocation.The USI will be awarded to the Team that selects them, except in the event that more than one Team requests the USI, in which case the Team with the highest Allocation Ranking will be awarded the USI.The Allocation Ranking Order will be determined by the reverse order of finish of the prior NWSL season, taking playoff performance into account. The final ranking spot(s) will be provided to the Expansion Team(s).Allocation Ranking Order:1. Boston Breakers2. Sky Blue FC3. Western New York Flash4. Portland Thorns5. Houston Dash6. Washington Spirit7. Chicago Red Stars8. Seattle Reign FC9. FC Kansas City10. Orlando PrideOnce a Team uses its Allocation Ranking to select a USI, it will drop to the bottom of the Allocation Ranking Order. Teams may trade their Allocation Ranking, provided part of the compensation received in return is the other Team's Allocation Ranking. At all times each Team is assigned one Allocation Ranking.The Allocation Ranking Order will reset following the current year's Championship match. Until the conclusion of the current season, each Team's Allocation Ranking can only be adjusted by acquiring a USI via the Allocation Process or through a trade with another Team.The complete text of the Allocation Process will be made available on the NWSL website prior to the start of the season.The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is a 10-team Division-I women's professional soccer league featuring national team players from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, FC Kansas City, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit and Western New York Flash.Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and the United States Soccer Federation. For more information about the NWSL, log on to the league's official website at NWSLsoccer.com.