NWSL raises salaries for 2020, introduces allocation money for world's top talent

North Carolina Courage's Heather O'Reilly (17), center, leaves the filed during the second half of the NWSL championship soccer game against the Chicago Red Stars in Cary, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
NWSL players will benefit from higher salaries and required housing assistance. (AP)

The NWSL announced changes to its compensation guidelines for 2020 on Friday that will increase players salaries, standards of living and ideally bring in more talent from around the world.

“The league’s owners are committed to investing in our world-class players,” NWSL president Amanda Duffy said in the release. “This is an important step in the growth of the league from which every NWSL player, current and future, will benefit and these changes will further enhance the league’s global leadership in the women’s game.”

Changes to salary, contracts, assistance

The NWSL will increase its salary range and improve contract conditions for the 2020 season.

The salary cap will rise to $650,000, a 19.33 percent jump from the previous season. Maximum salaries are now $50,000, up from $46,200, and minimum salaries are $20,000, up from $16,538.

Teams will no longer be limited on the number of allowed guaranteed contracts teams are allowed to give out and can not include “additional work,” such as performing at camps. Players can sign contracts up to three years in length with an option year.

Teams will be required in 2020 to provide housing for every player on the senior and supplemental roster for the entire time she is under contract. If teams choose to provide vehicles to players, it must be made available for the entire season. Under previous stipulations, teams had a cap on assistance money they were allowed to use.

NWSL adds allocation money a la MLS

The NWSL will introduce allocation money next season, which allows teams to pay certain players more than the maximum $50,000. Teams can purchase up to $300,000 in allocation money from the league. All allocated contracts must be guaranteed.

The NWSL is only allowing the money to be used on players who aren’t from Canada or the United States and they must follow at least one of the outlined criteria:

  • NWSL Best XI or Second XI for either of the two most recent seasons (2019, 2018)

  • International players who have more than three caps for their national team in the prior 24 months

  • NWSL MVP, Golden Boot, Rookie of the Year or Defender of the Year winner for one of the two most recent seasons (2019, 2018)

  • Domestic players who have completed at least five seasons in the NWSL

  • Players who were formerly designated as allocated players by the U.S. or Canada (unless if the player refused the option to be allocated)

  • Players previously on a contract that included allocation money

The move is for added flexibility and bringing in talent outside of North America. The NWSL is also trying to achieve this by allowing teams to pay transfer fees and acquire talent from other leagues. The money will count against the allocation fund.

League attempts to ride World Cup wave

The NWSL continues to grow and is seeking a bump from the 2019 World Cup and next year’s Olympics. It has already seen interest surge with higher attendance after the women won their second consecutive World Cup trophy in July. Clubs have set individual attendance records and certain games have been moved to larger venues due to the demand.

There is international talent in the league, such as Australia’s Samantha Kerr. Kerr won her third consecutive Golden Boot this season with a record 18 goals along with five assists in 21 games. But it’s difficult under the previous rules for international stars to consider coming to the U.S., as Deyna Castellanos proclaimed on Twitter the day before the NWSL announcement.

Castellanos, a member of the Venezuelan national team, is currently leading the Florida State Seminoles to a No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament. After finishing one of the best careers in Florida Sate history this autumn, her fans would surely follow her to the professional league.

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