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Gotham FC Expansion Draft Primer.

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Gary Gibson - Producer, Editor, Host

Ruby Pinto - Social Media Creative, Host

11/13/23


Gotham FC has built an incredible roster this season. Talent from top to bottom. Possibly the deepest in the league. Which makes the prospect of a double expansion year pretty scary.


When players like Allie Long and Kelley O’Hara, Ifeoma Onumonu, Ellie Jean, are finding minutes hard to come by, you know you have a deep squad. Onumonu didn't even make the championship 18. That's how deep this roster is.


Article Highlights:

  • Expansion Draft Timeline

  • Expansion Draft Rules

  • The Gotham FC Roster Status

  • Ruby's Protection Strategy

  • Gary's Thoughts and Wild Cards


Expansion Draft Timeline:

  • November 20th. Free agents can sign with new teams. If Gotham or any team signs a player before the expansion draft they will have to protect them. Rxpect Gotham or other teams not to sign any free agents until after the expansion draft.

  • December 12th. Protected lists are announced. A prohibition is put on teams signing players.

  • December 15th Expansion draft takes place. Live on CBSSN 7pm.

  • December 16th the prohibition is lifted and teams are allowed to sign or trade players again.


Expansion Draft Rules:

  • Teams can protect 9 players.

  • Teams can protect an extra player if one of the expansion teams selects a player.

  • Any players unsigned inhcluding restricted and unrestricted free agents cannot be protected as they aren’t eligible to be selected.

  • U-18 players (to which Gotham has none) can’t be selected.

  • Players with no-trade clauses (Kelley O’hara) must be protected. Which means Gotham must protect O’hara and 8 other players.

  • Teams must disclose if a player will not be available to the selecting team by January 1st due to injury, loan, illness or retirement that makes them ineligible to report to the team by January 1st.


Unrestricted Free Agents: ineligible for NWSL Expansion Draft:

  • Michelle Betos

  • Allie Long

  • Mana Shim

  • McCall Zerboni

  • Imani Dorsey

  • Sabrina Flores

  • Ali Krieger (Retirement)


Restricted free agents: Out of contract but team holds rights.

  • Taryn Torres

  • Ellie Jean


Players that are currently on roster to be selected for Expansion Draft:

  • Esther Gonzalez

  • Midge Purce

  • Katie Stengel

  • Ifeoma Onumonu

  • Yazmeen Ryan

  • Delanie Sheehan

  • Taylor Smith

  • Kristie Mewis

  • Nealey Martin

  • Maitane Lopez

  • Jenna Nighswonger

  • Bruninha

  • Kristen Edmonds

  • Mandy Freeman

  • Abby Smith

  • Mandy Haught

  • Sinead Farrelly


Ruby’s Optimal Protection List:

  • Esther Gonzalez

  • Midge Purce

  • Lynn Williams

  • Yazmeen Ryan

  • Maitane Lopez

  • Jenna Nighswonger

  • Bruninha

  • Kelley O'Hara (no trade clause)

  • Abby Smith


Left available for selection: per Ruby's protection list

  • Katie Stengel

  • Delanie Sheehan

  • Taylor Smith

  • Kristie Mewis

  • Nealey Martin

  • Kristen Edmonds

  • Mandy Haught

  • Mandy Freeman

  • Ifeoma Onumonu

  • Sinead Farrelly


Thoughts:

  • Expansion drafts are for younger players. Players above 28 aren't usually targets. Unless a GK or National teamer.

  • This free agent class is deep outside of keeper and if you are looking for older players they will surely be found. Edmonds, Stengel, Taylor Smith, Onumonu. Most likely safe.

  • Unless Mandy Haught wants to stay here, she's surely gone. The team just signed Abby Smith long term and will probably protect her. Mandy could possibly be the top pick in the expansion draft. You don't pass up a 24yo franchise keeper. Betos is the only keeper of note in free agency. A high premium will be placed on unprotected keepers. We lost both starting keepers in the last expansion draft process. Mandy is going to command attention. It's possible Gotham moves her for protection before the expansion draft. Hopefully for a lot of allocation money.

  • Defensively, Freeman has value and upside. But considering how far she is down the depth chart now. Maybe a late round flier. Unlikely.


Possible targets:

  • Martin and Sheehan are in the prime age for selection. They both have high ceilings. Keep an eye on them.

  • Stengel has value and she previously played for Utah. But I think Katie could have stayed in England if she didn't want to sign for Gotham. She's here. To be here. Unlikely target.

  • Onumonu. A California Native. World cup veteran. It's possible Bay FC brings her in.


Wild cards:

  • Protecting Mewis. Kristie could absolutely be a target. Her injury plagued second half of the season could keep teams away. I don't know who you drop from Ruby's 9.

  • Protecting Mandy Haught. There is also a possibility that Mandy has shown enough that she's the future Gotham # 1. Perhaps the team thinks that Abby's injury keeps teams away.

  • Gotham is now a destination team and there will be no shortage of free agents and even overseas talents inquiring about what is going on over here at Gotham. Gotham is a team players want to play for now.

  • They could sell off some draft picks for protection. They only have 3. But as Gotham proved this season, you only need one. The rookie of the year Nighswonger.


Curious your thoughts on Ruby's protection list. Do you protect Kristie Mewis? If so, who do leave unprotected. Let's see your lists!!

418 views10 comments

10 Comments


Kevin Larkin
Kevin Larkin
Dec 07, 2023

I think if we protect Smith, we lose Haught. I don't believe the reverse is true. So I would protect Haught.

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Victoria
Victoria
Nov 14, 2023

O’Hara isn’t waving her NTC, the contract was for two years, high chance she will be announcing her retirement year this January, she said herself she’s done being peoples pawn,


yes her age and history makes it possible for most teams to shy away from, but she’s an incredible leader on & off the field, & could contribute as late game lock down player, much like JCA used her for at the end. So in short some teams would take a chance on her, she’s that good. (contrary.to the neigh sayers)


as for the list I know we locked Abby in as the starting keeper and I love her but I would much rather see us protect Haught and take…

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Victoria
Victoria
Dec 05, 2023
Replying to

Hoping that Haught is protect & that Abby is out on the list as not able to perform by January thus hoping teams by pass her

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Do you think there's any chance O'Hara will waive her no trade clause? With her age, salary, and the minutes she played last season I think realistically she is pretty safe from being drafted. I imagine she would be pretty hesitant to give it up, but if she took the risk and made that sacrifice we could protect Martin, Sheehan or Mewis. I think we might not need to protect Kristie, she can warn everyone through her agent that if she's drafted she would just go and play in England instead. Hopefully we can work out trades that make everyone happy. I agree that Ify going to bay area is probably best for everyone, she barely played down the stretch and…

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Gary Gibson
Gary Gibson
Dec 05, 2023
Replying to

This draft class is just stacked but top heavy. Gotham will be picking late with their picks. May move up to grab the player they want.

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