The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that the Boston Breakers will cease operations, effective immediately. The 2018 NWSL season will now feature a nine-team, single-table alignment with a 24-game schedule that will see each club play three games against every opponent in the league.
"The Boston Breakers are one of the longest running and most historic clubs in women's soccer, so we certainly understand that fans of the NWSL and the sport will be disappointed to learn of the club's decision to cease operations," said NWSL Managing Director Amanda Duffy. "In the best interest for the long-term viability of the NWSL, we will operate with nine clubs in 2018 to ensure a stronger league where all parties involved are aligned and committed to the core mission of continued growth and development as we move into our sixth season."
Breakers fans who have placed deposits on their 2018 season tickets will be contacted, and provided full refunds.
"We do not doubt the fan support or interest in women's soccer in Boston or New England, and the measure taken by the Breakers organization does not reflect the passion we have seen from our fans," Duffy added. "We sincerely thank you for your years of commitment, and we look forward to one day returning to the city of Boston."
In conjunction with this announcement, NWSL will conduct a Dispersal Draft of the Boston roster at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 30. All Breakers players will be placed into a Dispersal Draft pool - including players selected in the 2018 College Draft. The weighted draw for the Dispersal Draft Order will be determined the morning of Monday, Jan. 29.
Players may opt-out of the draft by noon ET on Monday, Jan. 29 to pursue opportunities outside of the NWSL and would not become discovery eligible to return to the league until after the end of the 2018 season. Teams will be allowed to trade their picks in the draft following the weighted draw until 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 30 following which a final Dispersal Draft order will be released.
For the 2018 season, NWSL roster size will remain unchanged, with a minimum of 18 players and a maximum of 20 players required for each club.
Contracted players (including allocated players) and 2018 College Draft picks selected via the Dispersal Draft will not count against the club's official 18-20 player roster for the 2018 season, and teams may add up to a total of four (4) players. They will not count against the club's salary cap for the 2018 season, and housing and auto expenses will not count against the Permitted Team Assistance Cap. Teams will be responsible for all additional salary and Permitted Team Assistance expenses for contracted players and 2018 draftees selected in the Dispersal Draft.
Players on Boston's Discovery list and retired players whose rights are selected and go on to sign a standard player agreement will count against the club's official 18-20 player roster for the 2018 season. These players will also count against the club's salary cap for the 2018 season, nd all expenses will count against the Permitted Team Assistance Cap.
Any team requiring an international roster spot for a contracted player and 2018 draftee selected will receive an additional international spot, which will stay with the player if traded during the current season.
Any player participating the Dispersal Draft who is not selected will immediately become discovery eligible.
For more information on the Dispersal Draft, check out 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft.