NWSL sets schedule release date amid complaints from players
The NWSL season begins March 25.
The 2022 NWSL summer trade window closed on Wednesday, ushering in a roster freeze for the rest of the season and the start of the NWSL’s first free agency period.
As the league and NWSL Players Association clash over the full list of eligible free agents, Just Women’s Sports breaks down each team’s trades, waives and signings from the summer transfer window, dividing them into winning and losing categories in no particular order.
🔑 📆— NWSLPA (@nwsl_players) August 24, 2022
The trade window closes at the end of the day and several other key dates are rapidly approaching.
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The Dash easily top this list. In the last week, they strengthened their backline with the addition of 2021 Defender of the Year Caprice Dydasco, signed Jamaican national team forward Tiernny Wiltshire and acquired Valérie Gauvin from the North Carolina Courage. The forward has scored 17 goals in 37 appearances for the French national team and should help boost a Houston attack that Ebony Salmon has been lighting up since she joined the team via a trade on July 1. After playing sparingly for Racing Louisville this season, Salmon has scored eight goals in eight games with Houston. Despite star forward Rachel Daly leaving for Aston Villa in August, with so many new stars, it’s safe to say the Dash will be fine without her.
Kansas City Current
Cece Kizer has been a game-changer for the Current during their 11-game unbeaten streak. Since joining Kansas City at the end of May, Kizer has scored five goals, making up almost a quarter of the Current’s season total. French national team player and former Lyon midfielder Claire Lavogez has also provided a boost, scoring one goal in the three games she’s played since signing with the team on July 20. Kansas City will have to adjust to life without midfielder Victoria Pickett after trading her to Gotham FC this week, but they have a whopping $200,000 in allocation money and Gotham’s second-highest first-round 2023 draft pick or natural first-round pick to use to their advantage.
Angel City FC
Two words: Sydney Leroux. Acquiring the former U.S. women’s national team forward for a first-round 2024 draft pick and $75,000 allocation money was a big save for Angel City after losing Christen Press to a season-ending injury in June. They also just signed 2022 draft pick Claire Emslie and gained an international spot from OL Reign in exchange for $40,000 in allocation money. Goalkeeper Maia Pérez went on loan to Grand Paris Seine Ouest 92 Issy in France, where she’ll gain valuable experience as a starter while Angel City continues to play current starting keeper DiDi Haračić. Wins all around.
Portland Thorns FC
The first-place Portland Thorns have found their rhythm with the players they have, so there was no need for any major roster shake-ups. They did acquire defender Tegan McGrady from San Diego in exchange for Madison Pogarch in late July. McGrady brings experience after winning the NWSL championship with the Washington Spirit last season.
San Diego Wave FC
After picking up Pogarch from Portland, the Wave signed U.S. youth national team star Jaedyn Shaw, who had previously trained with the Spirit. The 17-year-old wasted no time showcasing her talent, scoring the game-winning goal in her NWSL debut, the only game she’s played with the Wave so far this season.
Like the Dash, the Reign have gone all-in on blockbuster signings this season, acquiring former NWSL MVP Kim Little, Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Huitema and star forward Tobin Heath. The team has yet to turn the additions into results as well as Houston has, but Heath’s impact should increase as she gets more minutes. Huitema has been finding her rhythm, scoring the game-winner in the Reign’s 2-1 Women’s Cup championship victory. On the downside, Little’s contract was only for the summer and the Reign traded Ally Watt, an important player off the bench, to Orlando. But OL Reign’s overall depth should keep them in contention as the playoffs approach.
Jordyn Huitema makes it 2-1! What a finish from the striker. 💥— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) August 21, 2022
The ball from Jimena López though. 🥶 pic.twitter.com/VFLS8rL5ok
NJ/NY Gotham FC
Gotham would have been a winner on this list after acquiring Taylor Smith and Victoria Pickett, especially given how dominant Smith has been with her two goals and one assist this season, but Caprice Dydasco is a big loss. The team has conceded a league-worst 32 goals this season, and without one of their most consistent players on the backline, they’ll continue to have their work cut out for them.
The Pride had a rollercoaster of a summer. While Sydney Leroux, Amy Turner and Angharad James were big, unexpected losses, Orlando also acquired some serious talent. Ally Watt from OL Reign and Haley Hanson from the Dash bring leadership and winning experience that will be important for the young squad. The Pride will hardly miss the second-round pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft and $75,000 in allocation money they gave the Dash in exchange for Hanson because they already have a wealth of draft picks. Thais Reiss and Haley Bugeja are two other young additions with loads of talent.
Chicago Red Stars
The Red Stars are getting left behind. They dominated the first half of the year to stay near the top of the standings, but as other teams started making moves to boost their rosters, Chicago remained stagnant. Sarah Luebbert returning to the Red Stars from a one-year loan with Club América in Liga MX Femenil has been the biggest change.
North Carolina Courage
From an outside perspective, it appears that head coach Sean Nahas didn’t realize the amount of talent his team had coming into the season. Taylor Smith and Jorian Baucom were waived after hardly getting any playing time with the Courage, but since leaving North Carolina, Smith has scored two goals for Gotham. The Courage also traded Valérie Gauvin, one of the top players in France, to Houston before she got a minute of playing time.
Racing Louisville FC
Louisville lost a big talent when they traded Ebony Salmon to Houston in exchange for $150,000 in allocation money in 2022, with an additional $25,000 in 2023. While head coach Kim Björkegren kept Salmon on the bench, she’s scored eight goals and moved into fourth on the list of scoring leaders since leaving Louisville. The team also traded star forward Cece Kizer and defender Addisyn Merrick to Kansas City and sent Tobin Heath’s rights to OL Reign. On the bright side for Louisville, defender Satara Murray has been a consistent starter after they signed her to a two-year deal.
The defending NWSL champions are near the bottom of the league standings and dealing with internal turmoil after head coach Kris Ward was fired following an incident at practice. While they haven’t been far off from winning games since appearing in the Challenge Cup final in May, the Spirit clearly need a spark and they didn’t make any moves before the trade deadline.
Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.
The NWSL season begins March 25.
The NWSL historically has not enforced strict FIFA windows.
Press has been rehabbing an ACL injury since June.
She could return for the team's April camp.
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