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Washington Spirit waive Laura del Rio, Estefania Banini still might return

The team’s leading scorer still might return next year, and most of the league runners-up are coming back

Washington Spirit forward Laura del Río was named to the NWSL re-entry wire today after her contract with the Spirit expired and the Spirit opted to not offer the Spanish midfielder a new contract. The team’s leading scorer, Estefania Banini, was offered a new contract but per Spirit spokesperson the midfielder neither signed the contract nor declined it and Banini might return after her season in Spain finishes in May.

The NWSL re-entry wire, formerly known as the waiver wire, is a method for other NWSL clubs to claim a player's rights. If a club doesn't pick up a player's option or the player's contract expires, the club must place the player on the re-entry wire. The standard NWSL contract is a year plus a team option for a second season; Banini's contract expired after the 2016 season. The Spirit also announced the club picked up the option on nine players: Kelsey Wys, Joanna Lohman, Line Sigvardsen Jensen, Cali Farquharson, Katie Stengel, Cheyna Williams, Alyssa Kleiner, Megan Oyster, and Estelle Johnson.

Five players accepted a new contract: Whitney Church, Caprice Dydasco, Francisca Ordega, Tori Huster, and Christine Nairn.

The Re-Entry Wire opened at 1pm this afternoon and will close at 1pm on Thursday. If multiple teams request a player's rights then the team with the lowest season finish is awarded the player's rights. Once a player is claimed via tiebreaker, that club drops to the bottom of the list. Only three players have been picked up via re-entry wire by the Spirit in league history. The Spirit claimed Nikki Marshall in 2013 then picked up the rights to Joanna Lohman and Lydia Williams the following year. Only Lohman ended up on the pitch for the Spirit.

Here is the 2016 NWSL Re-Entry Wire list:

Here is the tiebreaker order:

Boston Breakers

Orlando Pride

Houston Dash

Sky Blue FC

FC Kansas City

Seattle Reign FC

Western New York Flash

Chicago Red Stars

Washington Spirit

Portland Thorns FC