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Fawsl January Transfer Window: Week One Roundup


The FAWSL transfer window opened up on January 1st, and the 12 clubs have until the 28th to complete any activity before season’s end, when the summer transfer window opens.

This current window is the perfect opportunity for all the clubs, but especially the league’s leaders, to strengthen their current squads and put themselves on track for an end season run.

The transfer window has been open for about a week now, and some FAWSL clubs have been keen on dealing with their business early. Below is a roundup of all the early deals.


Villa started off the window strong by signing Mana Iwabuchi from Japanese football club INAC Kobe Leonessa. Iwabuchi has been a star for Japan since she made her international debut over a decade ago, back in 2010. She’s helped Japan win gold at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup (where she won the tournament’s MVP award), and the 2018 Asian Games. She also won silver at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and was a part of the team that finished runner up to the US at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Iwabuchi’s success for Japan has translated well into her club career —  she’s been incredibly successful, winning eight trophies with Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Belezaher, the first club she played for in Japan, from 2007-2012. After those five years, she ended up in Germany, winning promotion with Hoffenheim in 2013, and winning two Frauen-Bundesliga with Bayern Munich in 2015 and 2016.

Iwabuchi’s stint with Villa will be her first in England, and Villa’s head coach, Gemma Davies stated that “not only will [Iwabuchi] bring a wealth of experience to the squad, but she will also add a different dimension to our attacking play. She is a very technical player that thrives in tight spaces, and we cannot wait to see her continue to develop at Aston Villa.”

Having won promotion last season from the Championship, Villa currently sit in 11th place this season. This signing shows that they want to do more than stay in the FAWSL, but also want to avoid having to continuously fight a relegation battle each season.



Chelsea started off the transfer window by bringing in another goalkeeper, signing Zećira Mušović from Swedish club FC Rosengård.

This is definitely an interesting signing to say the least, as Chelsea already have two fantastic goalkeepers — their number one, Ann-Katrin Berger, and their second keeper, Carly Telford.

With two fit and healthy goalkeepers, it does make Chelsea signing Mušović seem entirely unnecessary. The likelihood of the situation is that one of Berger or Telford will leave at the end of the season and Chelsea are attempting to prepare for it early, rather than attempt to sign a keeper in the summer. The most likely departure is Telford, whose contract is up at the end of May, and will likely be looking for a club that can guarantee her the starting goalkeeper position.

Mušović has quite a bit of experience for such a young player, having won bronze with Sweden at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and six trophies with FC Rosengård.

Chelsea, who are currently in third place in the league, are considered one of the best teams in the FAWSL, and much of it is due to their depth. It is unlikely that Mušović will come in and replace Berger as Chelsea’s starting keeper, but she will be a vital piece when called upon, and she is definitely one to watch for the future for both club and country.



Back in August of 2020, the Orlando Pride loaned Scottish forward Claire Emslie to Everton until the end of the calendar year, and Everton’s business thus far in the transfer window has been to make that deal permanent, with Emslie signing an 18 month contract with the club.

Everton this season have been a revelation, coming out the gates punching well above their fighting weight. They were unbeaten their first five league matches, winning the first four, and drawing the fifth. Since then, their form has dipped a bit, and it remains to be seen how the break will impact their form in the new year.

Emslie has been a fantastic addition to the team, contributing four goals in just six starts. She’s also quite familiar with the league, having been a key factor in helping Bristol City get promoted to the FAWSL back in 2017, and winning the domestic double with Manchester City during the 2018/19 season.

Everton is one of the teams attempting to break into the ranks of the ‘Big Three’ (Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City) by finishing in the top three and earning a spot in the Champions League. Everton has a strong starting XI, but the games in which they’ve struggled have demonstrated their lack of depth, a department that the ‘Big Three’ have little issues in. Signing Emslie on a permanent contract brings Everton that much closer to being on the same level as the top competition.

The FAWSL is back this weekend, with West Ham taking on Manchester City, and Aston Villa hosting Arsenal on the 9th. The transfer window will remain open, and we’ll likely see a lot of clubs continue to do their business until the final day. Stay tuned for next week’s transfer window roundup.

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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