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NWSL KC: What we’re watching

With less than a month to go until preseason, here's what we’re watching.

Portugal Women v Scotland Women - UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Qualifier Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Kansas City sees the return of the NWSL after the team based in Utah ceased operations and transferred ownership on December 7 to the Chris and Angie Long ownership group that includes Brittany Matthews and Jen Gulvik. Timeline-wise, NWSL KC has had about a month to fully launch this team. We’ve seen a roster announcement, a trade, and signings, including an international signing. Beyond these news, here’s what we’re watching.

Official Team Name

The club still needs an identity. Since its announcement, the club has been known as NWSL KC, with the @KCWoSo Twitter handle. There’s obviously been logistical and legal reasons for the wait on an official name. Since Saturday, there’s been a promo, perhaps hint, that on January 12 the club may no longer go by its generic name.

The Return of Corsie

Rachel Corsie is returning to the US after being on a loan with Birmingham City in England. Last week, there was a chance the English club would extend her loan or sign her permanently, but Corsie updated her status in a recent column with the Evening Express. Her return this month will be a positive for KC, adding veteran experience to a young backline.

The Draft

The NWSL Draft is this Wednesday. Due to the pandemic and how it has impacted NCAA seasons, there’s been changes from years past.

First, the league and the NCAA agreed upon a waiver this past December that allows draftees with remaining eligibility to choose if they will report to their NWSL club before or after the spring collegiate season. Players will have to submit their decisions by Friday, January 22nd.

Second, the league has expanded the eligible athlete pool for the upcoming draft, maximizing opportunities for clubs and players alike ahead of an altered 2021 season. The move grants automatic draft eligibility and removes the requirement for registration for all Division I players considered “seniors” by the league in this draft. This definition includes all players that have exhausted three years of eligibility prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester.

Finally, the rights of any players selected on Wednesday will be assigned to the drafting team’s College Protected List until the start of the 2022 preseason. These rights are treated like the rights of professional players not currently in the league – they are an asset that can be kept, waived, or traded up for this period of time. If a player isn’t signed before the 2022 preseason, the club who has their rights will waive them.

KC has three picks in the second round (15th, 16th and 17th) and the 36th and 38th picks in the fourth round.