As the U.S. women’s national team prepares to close out the calendar year with one more game against China PR on Tuesday, several injured stars are eyeing their returns in 2024 ahead of the Paris Olympics.
Among them is Mallory Swanson, who tore the patellar tendon in her left knee in April during a USWNT friendly. The 25-year-old forward has not played since then, but she has been periodically sharing updates about her recovery, including posting a video of herself running on grass for the first time in September.
More recently, she shared photos of her back in cleats and practicing with the Chicago Red Stars in October.
“The smiles & boots are back on,” reads her caption.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Mallory Pugh Swanson (@malpugh)
A post shared by Mallory Pugh Swanson (@malpugh)
Swanson did not return for the NWSL season, which saw the Red Stars finish last in the league standings and with a goal differential of minus-22. Her contract has expired with the team, and she enters the offseason as a free agent.
Swanson’s husband, Dansby, signed a seven-year contract with the Chicago Cubs last December, and in March, Dansby said the Red Stars “made a promise that they would do right by [Mallory].” Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts and her investor group also purchased the Red Stars for $60 million in September. Both of those factors make it seem likely that Swanson will re-sign with Chicago this winter.
Swanson’s return with the USWNT in 2024 is also highly anticipated. Despite being sidelined since April, Swanson is set to finish the year as the team’s leading scorer after scoring seven goals in a span of two months and over five games.
No other player has come close to Swanson’s mark — Trinity Rodman and Lindsey Horan are tied for second on the team with four goals each. Rodman has added three assists to bring her goal contributions total to seven, while Sophia Smith has two goals and two assists on the year.