For the first time in it’s history, the NWSL will have a free agency period under its Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NWSL Players Association. The free agency period began on August 26th, 2022 at 12:01 am and allows players to begin negotiations for their 2023 player agreements with new teams if they wish to do so.
Eligible players are all those who have at least six years or service within the NWSL who also have an expiring contract in 2022.
The league and the NWSLPA had disagreed about the interpretation of free agency eligibility within its new CBA, particularly with regard to players who had pending one-year options still on their contracts with their current clubs. The independent arbitrator was engaged to resolve this matter and and the arbitrator ruled in favour of the NWSLPA.
This means that any player with six years of service and an expiring SPA (Standard Player Agreements) is currently eligible for free agency.
In a statement released by the league, Commissioner Jessica Berman stated that she was “proud of the manner in which the parties used the arbitration procedure” that both parties had “utilized the dispute resolution mechanism in our collective bargaining agreement which is fair and impartial.”
The NWSL PA also released their own statement after the ruling was announced:
An update from the NWSLPA on arbitration to enforce Free Agency rights: pic.twitter.com/Uh6Et2fYwB— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) October 17, 2022
Beginning in August 2023, the number of players eligible for free agency will increase, with unrestricted free agency available to all players with at least five years of service in the league, and restricted free agency available to those players with at least three years of service.
The players currently eligible for free agency can be found here.