Any Division I soccer player that has completed three years of college is now eligible for this year's draft, the league announced this week.
In previous drafts, players had to register in advance in order to be eligible to be picked in an upcoming draft.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have consistently made the adjustments necessary to ensure that the best women soccer players in the world have the opportunity to play in the best women’s soccer league in the world, “ NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement. “By modifying our draft eligibility requirements, and removing barriers during these unprecedented times, we’ll ensure our clubs have a more expansive opportunity to identify the best collegiate athletes for their teams and enable those athletes to join the NWSL when it makes sense for them.”
Players interested in entering the draft as underclassmen (primarily juniors and below) must still apply in order to be eligible.
The Draft is scheduled for Wednesday, January 13, and will be streamed on Twitch.
Part of the reason for the decision, as reported by the Equalizer, was the lack of players that had actually signed up to be eligible
I've heard that, as of earlier today (one week from the draft), there were only a couple dozen players declared for the NWSL College Draft. There are 40 selections to be made in the draft.— Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) January 6, 2021
Hence: the rule change.
No word on early departures
As of publication, no underclassmen have officially announced their intention to declare for the draft.
USA U-20 star Trinity Rodman -- top women's recruit in the country last year and daughter of former NBA star Dennis Rodman -- is seriously considering turning pro before ever playing for Washington State this spring, three sources tell me. NWSL draft is Jan. 13.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) January 5, 2021
The Washington Post's Steve Goff reported that Washington State Trinty Rodman is considering to leave school before playing a game for the Cougars. Sources have confirmed that to TopDrawerSoccer.
There's uncertainty over when a player must enter the draft with DI seniors no longer having to apply to be eligible; the previous announced deadline was 8 p.m. on January 11.