The National Women’s Soccer League is making big changes to player compensation and acquisition rules, along with increasing its salary cap for 2020.
The maximum salary will be $50,000, increased from $46,200 in 2019. The minimum salary will rise from $16,538 to $20,000. The overall salary cap will be $650,000, a 19.33 percent increase from last year’s $421,500 cap.
“The league’s owners are committed to investing in our world-class players,” NWSL president Amanda Duffy said in a statement released Friday.
Additionally, the NWSL will introduce allocation money next season, allowing teams to pay players more than the maximum salary and exceed the salary cap. Each team will be able to purchase up to $300,000 of allocation money from the league. That money can be used on current or future players who meet one of the following criteria: players awarded a year-end accolade from the league in 2018 or 2019; domestic players who have completed five years in the league; international players with at least three caps for their national teams in the last two years; former allocated national team players from the United States and Canada. Allocation money can not be used on current Canadian and American allocated players.
The NWSL has also removed limits on the number of guaranteed contracts, and any contracts for international players or including allocation money must be guaranteed. There will be no cap on the amount of funds teams can use to provide housing and transportation for players on senior and supplemental rosters, and teams are required to provide housing for players.
Players can also sign contracts that last as long as three years, plus an option year.
In addition, teams will also now be able to pay transfer fees to acquire players from other leagues. The fees will be paid in allocation money.
Teams can also sell players’ rights and choose to keep a portion of the transfer fee, though teams are still not allowed to sell U.S. allocated players.
Finally, the NWSL will introduce discovery lists. Teams will be allowed three players on the list during the course of the season and seven during the offseason. Players will automatically be removed from the list after a year on it. The league will also allow teams to compete for discovery claims over a given period. Should one team claim discovery on a player less than 30 days after another team did, the first team will have to submit a player agreement form no later than two weeks after being notified of the competing claim.
“This is an important step in the growth of the league, from which every NWSL player, current and future, will benefit,” Duffy said. “And these changes will further enhance the league’s global leadership in the women’s game.”