NWSL’s first period of free agency opens with controversy
The National Women’s Soccer League opened its first period of free agency on Friday amid a dispute over player qualification.
Players whose contracts are expiring and at least six years of service and are eligible for free agency under the collective agreement for the first time. The NWSL has released a list of 26 free agents, including national team players Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn.
Teams are allowed to negotiate with available players but cannot officially sign them until November 15.
But the NWSL Players’ Association says the roster should include players with an option year on their current contracts, adding 22 more players.
The league says those players aren’t free agents until teams exercise their options, while the NWSLPA says any player who has six years of service with a standard player agreement should qualify.
« Extremely disappointing »
The dispute will be settled in arbitration in September.
“During my first four months as commissioner, we have worked closely with the NWSLPA to resolve disagreements where possible and have had many instances where we have found solutions. However, we have always known that this would not always be the result, especially in the first instance – never of a collective bargaining agreement between the parties, and that is why labor agreements usually have neutral arbitrators to settle disputes over interpretation We look forward to the resolution of this open matter in a respectful manner,” said NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman.