Sam Mewis traded to Kansas City ahead of NWSL expansion draft

Sam Mewis
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Sam Mewis is heading to the Kansas City Current.

The Current (previously known just as Kansas City NWSL) acquired Mewis from the North Carolina Courage by trading away defender Kiki Pickett and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NWSL draft.

The addition of Mewis is a huge asset for Kansas City, which just concluded its first NWSL season, finishing last in the regular season standings.

In addition to being a 2019 World Cup champion and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist, Mewis also owns three NWSL titles (two with the Courage, one with the now-defunct Western New York Flash).

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Last year, the Massachusetts native took a break from the NWSL and traveled across the Atlantic to play for Manchester City in the FA Women’s Super League, helping the club win the 2020 Women’s FA Cup. She returned to the NWSL earlier this year, but didn’t play any games for the Courage after undergoing post-Olympic knee surgery in August.

And it’s likely Mewis won’t be the last blockbuster trade the NWSL sees this week.

“It was important to proactively seek trade partners as opposed to wait and lose an allocated player for little in return,” Courage President and GM Curt Johnson said in a statement about today’s trade news.

Two new teams will debut in the NWSL next season: Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC. While both teams have announced their first signees already (Christen Press will join Angel City and Abby Dahlkemper is headed to the San Diego), the bulk of their rosters will be filled at the upcoming NWSL expansion draft on December 16.

How does the NWSL expansion draft work?

Ahead of the expansion draft, current NWSL clubs (except Kansas City, more below) can protect nine players, including one U.S. allocated player (players who have their salary paid by the U.S. Soccer Federation). Angel City and San Diego can then select one unprotected player from each team for a total of nine players (max one U.S. allocated player).

Kansas City is the only club exempt from having players selected in the upcoming expansion draft, although this exemption is apparently tradable.

Each current NWSL team can lose no more than two total unprotected players (and one U.S. allocated player). That’s good news for the Chicago Red Stars, who currently have the most U.S. allocated players of any NWSL team (5): Tierna Davidson, Julie Ertz, Casey Krueger, Alyssa Naeher, and Mallory Pugh.

The full expansion draft rules – which are confusing – can be found here.

The trade window closes on Friday, December 3, and teams then have until December 10 to submit their list of protected and unprotected players. Following the expansion draft on December 16, the trade window will reopen. The 2022 NWSL college draft will then be held on December 18.

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Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC