Gotham FC received a fine from the NWSL for prematurely announcing the signing of a player, the league announced Tuesday.
While neither the club nor the NWSL have provided details, the likeliest culprit lies in the splashiest free-agent signing so far: U.S. women’s national team defender Kelley O’Hara.
The 34-year-old, who played the last two seasons for the Washington Spirit, revealed her decision to join Gotham FC at a Nov. 15 event hosted by the “Men in Blazers” podcast in New York City.
“I’ve got a little news for New York tonight,” she said, then pulled on a Gotham FC sweatshirt to cheers from the crowd.
The club proceeded to post about O’Hara’s announcement on its social media accounts.
“WELL FREE AGENCY JUST OPENED,” read one tweet, which featured the video of O’Hara donning the sweatshirt.
WELL FREE AGENCY JUST OPENED pic.twitter.com/6h50gdnzy8— NJ/NY Gotham FC (@GothamFC) November 16, 2022
WELL FREE AGENCY JUST OPENED pic.twitter.com/6h50gdnzy8
The NWSL is in the midst of its first free-agency signing period. The league established free agency with its new collective bargaining agreement, ratified in February.
Nov. 15 marked the first day free agents could sign with new teams rather than their current teams. With her announcement that night, O’Hara became the first player to join a new team in free agency.
Gotham FC have signed several players already on their roster to new deals, but the club has not announced any other outside free agent signings. In fact, the club has not yet issued a press release officially announcing O’Hara’s signing.
So when Gotham FC received a fine from the NWSL for announcing a deal “prior to the full execution of the player’s agreement,” O’Hara immediately stood out as the likeliest (and perhaps the only) suspect. The club also received the fine “for ignoring a league directive regarding the announcement,” per the NWSL.
“It was all our fault @GothamFC,” the official “Men in Blazers” account tweeted Monday.
it was all our fault @GothamFC https://t.co/qKuWGt9rMW pic.twitter.com/1sjQV2NUep— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) November 21, 2022
it was all our fault @GothamFC https://t.co/qKuWGt9rMW pic.twitter.com/1sjQV2NUep
While they’ll have to bear the punishment from the league, Gotham FC can’t be too bothered now that they have the two-time World Cup champion in their lineup.