All Scores

Lauren Barnes earns second straight nod in JWS’ NWSL Best XI for July

(Stephen Brashear/USA TODAY Sports)

A wrap on July means it’s time for Just Women’s Sports’ monthly NWSL Best XI.

While many teams were missing players in July due to international competitions, others were given the opportunity to shine. Eight clubs are represented in this 4-3-3 lineup, with the Kansas City Current, Chicago Red Stars and Portland Thorns sending two players each. The Orlando Pride earn their first Best XI nod of the year, and Lauren Barnes makes the list for a second consecutive month.


Ebony Salmon, Houston Dash

After not getting much playing time with Racing Louisville, Ebony Salmon was traded to the Houston Dash at the end of June. On July 16, she recorded the NWSL’s second hat trick of the year with her new team in a 4-1 win over the Red Stars. The 21-year-old received Player of the Week honors for her efforts before scoring her fourth goal of the season in a 4-2 win over NJ/NY Gotham FC on Sunday.

Savannah DeMelo, Racing Louisville FC

Scoring two goals and recording nine shots in the month of July, Savannah DeMelo has been one of Louisville’s most dependable players. The rookie played 90 minutes in all four games this month, mastering the art of drawing fouls and creating scoring opportunities. She now leads the league with a total of 37 chances created.

Yuki Nagasato, Chicago Red Stars

Yuki Nagasato displayed her impressive technical skills and versatility throughout July, playing both in the midfield and on the attack for a total of 347 minutes. She unleashed a number of lethal shots, and on July 2 added an assist off a header in Chicago’s 3-0 shutout win over Gotham FC.


Hina Sugita, Portland Thorns FC

Hina Sugita played every minute in July and scored two of her four goals on the season, including the game winner in a 2-1 victory over Racing Louisville. With an 80.3 passing percentage, she helped the Thorns extend their unbeaten streak to nine games while seven players were away on international duty.

Yazmeen Ryan, Portland Thorns FC’

Yazmeen Ryan rose to the top of the assists board with her fourth helper in a 5-0 shutout of Gotham on July 16. She also added a goal in a 1-1 draw with Angel City FC on July 1. Defensively, she has a tackle success rate of 73.7 percent this season.

Vanessa DiBernardo, Chicago Red Stars

Playing every minute since June 12, Vanessa DiBernardo has had a big impact on Chicago’s attack, most notably notching a goal against Gotham at the beginning of July to help the Red Stars to a 3-0 win. She went on to add an assist and record nine shots throughout the month.


Kylie Strom, Orlando Pride

On a team that’s lost a lot of stars this season, including Sydney Leroux and Marta, Kylie Strom has risen to the occasion. Playing 349 minutes in July, she started the month off strong with a goal in a 2-2 draw with Racing Louisville. A week later, Strom forced an own goal game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Houston. Her efforts helped the Pride close out the month of July with an unbeaten record.

Kristen Edmonds, Kansas City Current

Kristen Edmonds has been an exceptional passer of late, recording an 89 percent success rate through three games in July. She’s also excelled at clearances (25) and recoveries (36), helping a backline that conceded just one goal while she was on the field.

Lauren Barnes, OL Reign

Lauren “Lu” Barnes does it all, from defending to sending crosses into the box to delivering dangerous shots from the top of the 18. In July, she had 27 recoveries and a 73 percent passing success rate. Her leadership has also been invaluable to her teammates, including Sam Hiatt, who recently expressed gratitude for Barnes’ vocal presence on the backline.

Kristen McNabb, San Diego Wave FC

Kristen McNabb scored her first goal of the season against Angel City on July 9. She also recorded the most shots she’s had in a month this season with seven. Playing every possible minute in July as both a midfielder and a defender, McNabb signed a two-year contract extension later in the month with an option for an extra year with San Diego.


AD Franch, Kansas City Current

There was no stopping AD Franch, who was named NWSL Player of the Week on July 13 and saved a penalty kick against the Spirit to preserve a 1-0 win, her second shutout of the season. The following week she recorded a second consecutive clean sheet and her third of the season in a 1-0 win over OL Reign. So far this season, she’s saving 74 percent of the shots she faces.

Jessa Braun is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering the NWSL and USWNT. Follow her on Twitter @jessabraun.

Alyssa Naeher’s goalkeeper jersey sells out in less than three hours

uwnt goalie alyssa naeher wears jersey on the field with club team chicago red stars
USWNT star keeper Alyssa Naeher's new replica NWSL jersey was an instant success. (Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

For the first time in the NWSL's 12-year history, fans can now buy their own goalkeeper jerseys. And while replica goalkeeper jerseys representing all 14 NWSL teams hit the market on Wednesday, some didn't stick around for long. 

Fans across women's soccer have long vocalized their discontent over the position's lack of availability on social media, often comparing the shortcoming to the widespread availability of men’s goalkeeper jerseys. And as the NWSL has grown, so has demand — and not just from those in the stands. 

"To have goalkeeper kits available for fans in the women’s game as they have been for so long in the men’s game is not only a long-awaited move in the right direction, it’s just good business," said Washington Spirit goalie Aubrey Kingsbury in an team press release. "I can’t wait to see fans representing me, Barnie [Barnhart], and Lyza in the stands at Audi!"

Business does, in fact, appear to be booming. Alyssa Naeher’s Chicago Red Stars kit sold out less than three hours after the league's announcement. Jerseys for other keepers like DiDi Haračić, Abby Smith, Michelle Betos, Katelyn Rowland, and Bella Bixby aren’t currently available via the Official NWSL Shop, though blank goalkeeper jerseys can be customized through some individual team sites. Jerseys start at $110 each.

"This should be the benchmark," said Spirit Chief Operations Officer Theresa McDonnell. "The expectation is that all players’ jerseys are available to fans. Keepers are inspiring leaders and mentors with their own unique fan base who want to represent them... I can’t wait to see them all over the city."

Simone Biles talks Tokyo Olympics fallout in new interview

gymnast simone biles on a balance beam
Biles' candid interview shed light on the gymnast's internal struggle. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Decorated gymnast Simone Biles took to the popular Call Her Daddy podcast this week to open up about her experience at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, revealing she thought she was going to be "banned from America" for her performance.

After Biles botched her vault routine due to a bout of the "twisties," she withdrew from the team final as well as the all-around final in order to focus on her mental health. She later reentered the competition to win bronze in the individual balance beam final.

In her interview with podcast host Alex Cooper, Biles admitted to feeling like she let the entire country down by failing her vault attempt.

"As soon as I landed I was like 'Oh, America hates me. The world is going to hate me. I can only see what they’re saying on Twitter right now,'" she recalled thinking. "I was like, ‘Holy s---, what are they gonna say about me?'"

"I thought I was going to be banned from America," she continued. "That’s what they tell you: Don’t come back if not gold. Gold or bust. Don’t come back."

Widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time, Biles has hinted at a desire to join her third Olympic team in Paris, though her participation won't be confirmed until after the gymnastics trials in late June. She holds over 30 medals from the Olympic Games and World Artistic Gymnastics Championships combined, and if qualified, would be a sure favorite heading into this summer’s games.

Caitlin Clark reportedly nearing $20 million+ Nike deal

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever poses for a portrait at Gainbridge Fieldhouse during her introductory press conference
WNBA-bound Caitlin Clark is said to be closing in on a monumental NIke deal. (Photo by Matt Kryger/NBAE via Getty Images)

Caitlin Clark is reportedly close to cementing a hefty endorsement deal with Nike.

The Athletic was the first to break the news Wednesday evening, commenting that the deal would be worth "eight figures" and include her own signature shoe. On Thursday afternoon, the publication tweeted that the deal would top $20 million, according to lead NBA Insider Shams Charania. Both Under Armour and Adidas are said to have also made sizable offers to the college phenom and expected future WNBA star.

The new agreement comes after Clark's previous Nike partnership ended with the conclusion of the college basketball season. She was one of five NCAA athletes to sign an NIL deal with the brand back in October, 2022. 

Considering Clark's overwhelming popularity and Nike's deep pockets, the signing's purported value doesn't exactly come as a shock. New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu’s deal with the brand is reportedly worth $24 million, while NBA rookie and No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama’s deal is rumored to weigh in at $100 million. And in 2003, LeBron James famously earned $90 million off his own Nike deal. 

Clark’s star power continues to skyrocket, with the NCAA championship averaging 18.9 million viewers and the 2024 WNBA Draft more than doubling its previous viewership record. Following the draft, Fanatics stated that Clark's Indiana Fever jersey — which sold out within an hour — was the top seller for any draft night pick in the company’s history, with droves of unlucky fans now being forced to wait until August to get their hands on some official No. 22 gear.

In Wednesday's Indiana Fever introductory press conference, the unfailingly cool, calm, and collected Clark said that turning pro hasn’t made a huge impact on how she’s conducting her deals.

"If I’m being completely honest, I feel like it doesn’t change a ton from how I lived my life over the course of the last year," she said. "Sponsorships stay the same. The people around me, agents and whatnot, have been able to help me and guide me through the course of the last year. I don’t know if I would be in this moment if it wasn’t for a lot of them."

Star slugger Jocelyn Alo joins Athletes Unlimited AUX league

softball star jocelyn alo rounds the bases at an oklahoma sooners game
Former Oklahoma star Jocelyn Alo has signed with Athletes Unlimited. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Former Oklahoma slugger Jocelyn Alo has signed on with Athletes Unlimited and will compete in the AU Pro Softball AUX this June.

The NCAA record holder in career home runs (122), total bases (761), and slugging percentage (.987), Alo was originally drafted by the league in 2022 but opted instead to join the newly debuted Women’s Professional Fastpitch

Alo currently plays for independent pro softball team Oklahoma City Spark, with team owner Tina Floyd reportedly on board with her recent AUX signing. AUX games are scheduled for June 10-25, while the Spark's season will kick off June 19th. Alo will play for both. 

Among those joining Alo on the AUX roster are former James Madison ace pitcher Odicci Alexander and former Wichita State standout middle infielder Sydney McKinney.

According to Alo, the decision to play in the Athletes Unlimited league was fueled by her desire to propel women's sports forward as well as provide more exposure to a sport that's given her "so many opportunities."

"Not only to challenge myself more, but just for the growth of the game," Alo said, explaining her reasoning to The Oklahoman. "I genuinely believe that professional softball can be a career for girls."

Joining AUX is also one more step in her plan toward representing Team USA at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

"I’m constantly thinking about how can I do these little things right in these four years to prepare me for the biggest stage of softball," she told The Oklahoman. "I definitely want to play in the Olympics, for sure."

Alo further expressed enthusiasm in the hope that the rise of other women’s sports, like women’s basketball and the NWSL, will push softball’s professional viability even higher.

"We’re seeing the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) get their stuff going, I see the WNBA starting to get hot," she continued. "I feel like the softball community is like, 'All right, it’s our turn and it’s our turn to just demand more.'"

Start your morning off right with Just Women’s Sports’ free, 5x-a-week newsletter.