CHICAGO – With the National Women’s Soccer League adding a new team for the 2021 season, other clubs are bracing for possible departures from their roster.
Racing Louisville FC will have the chance to select players from the other teams to fill out that first roster. While the official rules of the draft have yet to be released, Meg Linehan of The Athletic reported that each team can protect up to 11 players from being selected.
That could be problematic for teams like the Chicago Red Stars, who are are trying to retool their team after a runner-up finish in the 2019 NWSL season and a fragmented 2020 campaign.
To make sure they can do so, the Red Stars made a major deal to make sure they can keep most of their team around for the future.
To get expansion draft protection, the Red Stars gave up plenty: Forward Savannah McCaskill, midfielder Yuki Nagasato, the 5th pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, along with an international slot for 2021 and 2022.
The deal sends away two key pieces of the franchise in order to keep the majority of the roster in tact towards a full season which the league hopes to start next spring.
Nagasato has been with the Red Stars since 2017 and played in 52 games with the club since. In 2019, she lead the NWSL in assists with eight as she was named to the league’s Second XI team.
McCaskill has been with the team since 2019 and made 28 appearances in that time with a pair of goals. She was a consistent performer during the 2020 Challenge Cup and fall series for the Red Stars this year as a number of players dealt with injuries, especially during the month in Utah.