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Gotham acquire Lynn Williams in trade with Current for No. 2 pick

Kansas City sent Lynn Williams to Gotham FC in January after just one season. (Daniel Bartel/USA TODAY Sports)

The 2023 NWSL Draft began with a splash Thursday night.

Lynn Williams is heading to Gotham FC after the New York/New Jersey club acquired the U.S. women’s national team forward in a trade with the Kansas City Current. In exchange for Williams, the Current received the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s draft, which they used to select Duke forward Michelle Cooper.

Williams joins her second NWSL club in a year after being traded to Kansas City last January. The 29-year-old played in just one game for the 2022 NWSL finalists — their Challenge Cup opener against Racing Louisville — before she suffered a season-ending hamstring injury that required surgery.

Finally healthy to start 2023, Williams was named to the USWNT roster last week for two January friendlies against New Zealand. This marks her first appearance for the U.S. since February 2022.

Williams will add an immediate spark to Gotham’s offense, which ranked last in the league with 16 goals in 2022. The team finished the season in last place at 4-17-1.

Before joining the Current, Williams played for the North Carolina Courage from 2017-21. She scored 48 goals and added 20 assists while helping the club win two NWSL championships and two NWSL Shields. Despite missing the 2022 regular season, the 2016 NWSL MVP ranks third in all-time goals (57) and assists (26) in the league.

With Cooper, the Current add a talented forward to an already potent attack that now includes midfielder Debinha, Kansas City’s marquee free-agent signing. Cooper led Duke with 19 goals and 11 assists in 2022 on her way to winning the MAC Hermann Trophy, which recognizes the best player in college soccer. The USWNT U-20 captain also won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball during the Concacaf qualifying tournament in the spring.

The Current, fresh off winning 10 games and making a run at the 2022 championship in their second season as a franchise, stocked up on talent in free agency and added one of the top prospects in the draft. Even with Williams off the roster and star midfielder Sam Mewis still sidelined with a knee injury, Kansas City enters 2023 as a top championship contender.