San Diego Wave secure USWNT’s Kristie Mewis, immediately trade rights to NJ/NY Gotham

The United States women’s national team player, Kristi Moyes, was the highest-profile player traded during Thursday’s Women’s National Football League expansion draft, picked by San Diego Wave FC before immediately agreeing to a deal with NJ/NY Gotham for her rights. .

Mewis was left unprotected by the Houston Dash for the expansion draft, which also saw forward Alex Morgan move from Orlando Pride to Wave FC.

San Diego has replaced Mewis with NJ/NY Gotham for $200,000 in allotment money, money that teams can spend above the league’s salary cap and will provide San Diego flexibility as it continues to build its debut roster.

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Mewis is a nine-year veteran of the NWSL, and has played as a defender and striker throughout her career.

In 2020, she enjoyed a career rebound, winning the NWSL Challenge Cup with Dash and finding her way back to the USWNT five years after being out of the fold.

Earlier this month, Moyes was seen at a Tottenham Hotspur training session, fueling speculation that she may be the latest USWNT player to leave the NBA for England. The door for Mewis to make the change was opened when the NFL and the USWNT Players Association reached a new agreement that ended the requirement for USWNT players to compete in the NWSL.

But Gotham has expressed confidence that Moyes will join the club next season.

“Christie is exactly the type of player we are looking for in Gotham,” Gotham general manager Yael Averbush West said in a statement. β€œShe has struggled so hard to come back from some early ordeals in her career and has transformed herself into a formidable player. She will fit in perfectly thanks to her dedication, passion and determination.”

Wave FC and Angel City both used the threat of picking players in the draft to negotiate other deals, including Alex Morgan’s exit from Orlando City.

San Diego refused to take a player from Orlando in the draft, which was part of a deal to acquire Morgan for $275,000 in allotment money β€” the largest single transaction in NWSL history since the allotment money was floated before the 2020 season.

Morgan and San Diego revealed their landmark move ahead of Thursday’s draft, but the deal didn’t go into effect until just after the draft when the NWSL roster freeze was lifted.

Other players selected by San Diego are Kristen McNab, a defender who has been with OL Reign since 2017, and defender Kaleigh Riehl, who made her NWSL debut last year with Racing Louisville.

“We were balanced in what we wanted and we were very strategic,” said Jill Ellis, general manager of Wave FC. “Some of those players that we got tonight, week and week in the league have proven their ability. We have players with a lot of experience to come.”

City’s top pick in the draft was Danny Weatherholt, a six-year NWSL veteran and last OL Reign midfielder.

The new Los Angeles-based club also selected striker Claire Emsley of Orlando, Jasmine Spencer of Houston and defender Paige Nielsen of Washington Spirit.

“It’s really important to have a complete squad and have players who can play in a lot of different positions,” Angel City coach Freya Komp said. “We’ve talked before about our ability to have some tactical flexibility, so we’ve looked at that with the players.”

Other star players who were eligible to be selected during the expansion draft included USWNT winger Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), USWNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns) and Canadian top scorer Kristen Sinclair (Thorns), but none were selected for the expansion draft.

Immediately after enlisting, Thorns received $50,000 in allotment money from Wave FC in exchange for the rights to defender Kristen Westphal and striker Amira Ali.

More moves on the way. The NWSL College Draft is set for Saturday, and teams are vying for positions in the lead up to it.

Following Thursday’s expansion draft, Angel City acquired the #6 college draft from Dash for $125,000 in allotment and #26 selection money.

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