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Portland Thorns Announce Protected List for 2016 NWSL Expansion Draft

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Jeremiah Mitchell Braeback

After the flurry of moves this morning, the Portland Thorns have announced their list of protected players for the 2016 NWSL Expansion Draft.

With the Orlando Pride entering the league next season, the Thorns could lose either one USWNT player or two other players to the expansion draft; however, with the list now released, and Alex Morgan traded away, the Thorns do not have more USWNT players than they could protect, so losing a national teamer is not possible.

The players left exposed are Alyssa Kleiner, Clare Polkinghorne, Lianne Sanderson, Mana Shim, and Rhian Wilkinson. Shim, who has played for the Thorns since the team's founding in 2013, got the most minutes for the Thorns last year of any player left unprotected, although Clare Polkinghorne, who joined the Thorns after the World Cup, was a consistent starter in her time with the team.

Polkinghorne and Sanderson, who was acquired late in the 2015 season, are both is an international players and would require an international slot from the Pride. Wilkinson is Canadian, and Kleiner and Shim are American, and Sanderson has her green card, meaning that none of whom would require an international slot if selected.

The expansion draft will take place on November 2nd.

The Thorns' press release:

Expansion club Orlando Pride to select up to 10 players from NWSL teams

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Thorns FC today announced its list of protected and unprotected players ahead of the National Women’s Soccer League Expansion Draft on Monday, Nov. 2, at 9 a.m. (Pacific). Beginning play in 2016 as the 10th club to join the NWSL, the Orlando Pride will be able to select up to 10 players from the expansion draft list of unprotected players.

Due to Portland not qualifying for the NWSL Playoffs, the club was allowed to protect 10 players in the Expansion Draft. Playoff teams were able to protect nine players. Each team may protect up to two U.S. allocated players. Any additional U.S. allocated players on a team’s roster must be left unprotected. The Pride will be allowed to select no more than two U.S. allocated players. Orlando will only be able to select up to two players from any one club, except if they select a U.S. allocated player in which case they may not take any additional player from the club.

A complete list of Expansion Draft rules can be found at

Below is the list of Portland’s protected and unprotected players:

Michelle Betos
Dagny Brynjarsdottir
Steph Catley
Tobin Heath
Kendall Johnson
Allie Long
Emily Menges
Christine Sinclair
Jodie Taylor
Kat Williamson

Alyssa Kleiner
Clare Polkinghorne
Lianne Sanderson
Mana Shim
Rhian Wilkinson