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Draft details set by NWSL, player combine coming in January

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The Washington Spirit will make our first four draft picks in history on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, when the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft takes place as part of the NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis.  The start time is still to be determined.  The draft is open to all players who completed their collegiate eligibility in 2012.

The draft will consist of four rounds and the order will be determined by a blind draw as 2013 will be the first ever year of competition. Once the order is set, 32 players will be selected utilizing the “snake” format, meaning that the teams will select 1-8 in the first round, 8-1 in the second round, 1-8 in the third round and 8-1 in the fourth round. Teams will have a specific amount of time to make their picks in each round.

The draft is not open to the public or media, but fans will be able to follow the proceedings on Twitter @NWSL and through the league’s Facebook page.  The league will also be launching a website where additional information will be available.  Washington Spirit representatives will be available to answer questions for the media following the draft at a specific time and location to be determined and announced by the league.

“The forming of rosters is always an exciting part for teams and fans and an important step for our new league,” said NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey in a press release. “There are some extremely talented young players coming out of college this year and we are thrilled that there will be an environment for them to continue to grow as players and showcase themselves for international call-ups in the future.”

The draft will focus on players who have recently ended their college careers and who declare themselves to be eligible. (Interested players must register using a league-provided draft entry form, which should be known by their college coach).

Players who have been out of college for a year or more, are former professional players, or are currently playing overseas and are out of contract, are considered free agents and may be signed directly by the teams in the near future. Likewise, the process of determining player allocations from the U.S., Canadian and Mexican national teams will be finalized at a future date yet to be determined.

Following the draft, Spirit head coach Mike Jorden will also hold a player combine on January 26 and 27 as part of the process of finalizing the roster. Players may be signed directly from the combine, with others possibly earning an invitation to the team’s preseason training camp to battle it out for one or more remaining roster spots. Interested players should complete the form here and upload their résumé. Players deemed to qualify will be invited on a per-case basis from that point.

The combine is expected to take place at the Maryland SoccerPlex, the same world class facility where the Spirit will train and play all season. The facility has three outdoor synthetic turf fields and 19 full-size grass fields, plus two indoor fields, locker rooms, and meeting space. Final combine plans will be included in the personal player invitations.