NWSL Players’ Association Head Meghann Burke Calls for Abolishing Drafts and Trades Without Player Consent

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The executive director of the NWSL Players Association, Meghann Burke, has made a bold call for the abandonment of drafts and trades without player consent, highlighting a growing sentiment within the league that these traditional American sports practices clash with the global soccer landscape. 

The NWSL, which prides itself on being a prominent force in women’s soccer, has faced criticism from players and coaches alike regarding the lack of agency afforded to players in these transactions.

Burke’s stance reflects a broader dissatisfaction within the league, as evidenced by instances such as the December expansion draft and Cece Kizer’s unexpected trade, where players felt blindsided and powerless in decisions affecting their careers and personal lives.

Challenges to Traditional Sports Practices in the NWSL

Nws-l-players'-association-head-meghann-burke-calls-for-abolishing-drafts-and-trades-without-player-consent
The executive director of the NWSL Players Association, Meghann Burke, has made a bold call for the abandonment of drafts and trades without player consent, highlighting a growing sentiment within the league that these traditional American sports practices clash with the global soccer landscape.

Speaking to CBS Sports, Burke emphasized the need for structural changes in the next collective bargaining agreement to ensure that players have a voice in trades and are not traded without their consent. 

She stressed the importance of teams communicating with players before making such decisions, ensuring that players are willing and able to contribute positively to their new clubs.

Acknowledging the complexities of balancing American sports norms with global soccer standards, NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman expressed the league’s commitment to transparency and communication with players. 

While acknowledging the prevalence of trades without consent in American sports, Berman highlighted the unique position of soccer globally, where such practices are less common.

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Reforming Drafts and Trades for Modern Soccer

Burke also pointed out the discrepancy between trades and drafts and the concept of free agency, which has been in place in the NWSL for two years. 

As the league faces increasing competition from other domestic and international leagues, Burke believes that the traditional draft system is outdated and no longer serves its intended purpose of bolstering the league’s competitiveness.

In light of the evolving landscape of women’s soccer, characterized by increasing competition and global prominence, Burke emphasized the need for the NWSL to adapt and modernize its practices to remain competitive. 

The union leader’s call for eliminating drafts and trades without player consent underscores a broader conversation within the league about aligning its operations with the realities of the global soccer market.

Read Next: Andonovski Reflects on World Cup Exit, Eyes New Challenge with NWSL Return

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