The NWSL’s first free agency period is underway.
The league established free agency with its new collective bargaining agreement, ratified in February. Despite a rocky start, which included a disagreement between the NWSL and its players association about exactly which players were eligible, the market has heated up ahead of the season opener on March 25.
The 29-year-old left back signed a three-year deal with Racing Louisville that runs through the 2025 season, the club announced Monday.
Pickett was traded to Louisville from the North Carolina Courage in January. The deal sent Pickett and Abby Erceg to Racing, while Emily Fox went to the Courage.
“I am beyond excited to be staying in Louisville for three more years,” Pickett said in the news release. “This was the easiest decision for me for so many reasons. Not only are the facilities top-class, but you are also treated like a true professional in every aspect.”
The fourth overall pick in the 2016 NWSL draft, the defender led the league in assists last season with six. She also made her first appearance for the U.S. women’s national team last June, becoming the first player with a limb difference to play for the USWNT.
So happy to have @Cars_Pickett16 running with us! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/wO2PijgI8G— Racing Louisville FC (@RacingLouFC) March 13, 2023
So happy to have @Cars_Pickett16 running with us! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/wO2PijgI8G
The U.S. women’s national team forward signed a two-year contract to stay with Gotham FC, the club announced Monday. The deal runs through the 2024 season and includes a third-year option for 2025.
“I’m excited to be a part of the vision to build Gotham into one of the greatest clubs in the world,” Purce said.
The 27-year-old joined Gotham in 2020 via a trade with the Portland Thorns. In 2021, she led the team in scoring with nine goals, finishing second in the Golden Boot race. She also was a finalist for NWSL MVP and was named to the league’s Best XI.
Last season, Purce had three goals and three assists.
“This new contract for Midge is another step towards shaping Gotham FC for the present and the future,” Gotham coach Juan Carlos Amorós said. “Midge is an outstanding player with the ability to make the difference in the final third. Her long-term commitment to the club shows that she believes in the project we are building. Midge is a player I am excited to work with and to help continue maximize her full potential.”
The 26-year-old midfielder will join her Brazil teammate Marta in Orlando after signing a three-year deal with the Pride.
Since 2018, Adriana has played in the top Brazilian league with Corinthians, but she will make the leap to the NWSL in the 2023 NWSL season.
“Adriana is an exciting, dynamic and entertaining player with an eye for the goal. She possesses great technical ability and an incredible work rate, and we’re extremely happy to have her as part of the Pride,” Pride coach Seb Hines said.
Known as “the Wizard,” Adriana scored 72 goals in her 143 appearances for Corinthians, and she leaves as the second-leading scorer in club history. She also helped the team to four Brazilian Championship titles.
The Pride also re-signed defender Celia Jiménez Delgado to a two-year deal, and they brought back midfielder Jordyn Listro on a one-year deal.
Washington re-signed the defender to a three-year contract, which will keep her with the club through the 2025 season. Staab played every minute of every regular-season match for the Spirit in 2022.
The Spirit also signed defender Anna Heilferty, midfielder Jordan Baggett and forward Tara McKeown to multi-year deals.
The 36-year-old midfielder signed a one-year deal to remain with Gotham FC, though the deal did not come without controversy.
Gotham FC also re-signed midfielder Delanie Sheehan to a two-year deal.
Angel City FC orchestrated a blockbuster four-team trade to select Alyssa Thompson with the No. 1 overall pick before the draft even started, and proceedings only got wilder from there.
Gotham FC received USWNT forward Lynn Williams from the Kansas City Current in exchange for the No. 2 overall pick, which the Current used to select Duke forward Michelle Cooper. And the Washington Spirit made many trades, one of which sent USWNT defender Emily Sonnett to OL Reign.
Catch up on all the picks and all the trades from draft night.
The 37-year-old forward re-signed with OL Reign on a one-year deal, the club announced. The signing came exactly 10 years after she first was allocated to the team ahead of the NWSL’s inaugural season in 2013.
Rapinoe is one of 10 players who have appeared in every one of the NWSL’s first 10 seasons. Just five of those players have appeared for the same team every season, and that number includes Rapinoe as well as her teammates Lauren Barnes and Jess Fishlock.
The Seattle club also re-signed Barnes, bringing the defender back on a two-year deal. And midfielder Nikki Stanton will be back as well, as she agreed to a one-year contract.
After a rookie campaign in which Howell started all 22 of her team’s matches, the 23-year-old midfielder signed a contract extension, adding another year to her original deal and keeping her with Racing Louisville through 2025.
“Racing has treated me super well, and they’ve always invested in me,” Howell told Just Women’s Sports. “I see a lot of great things in the future of the club.”
Racing Louisville also extended the contract of goalkeeper Katie Lund through the 2025 season.
The 2022 NWSL MVP finalist spent her first six seasons in the league with the North Carolina Courage, and she entered the offseason as one of the most sought-after free agents.
Kansas City signed her through the 2024 season, with an option for a third year.
“As a professional athlete, I always want to get better and to be on a competitive team that fights for titles, with excellent professionals,” Debinha said in a statement. “I’m sure it will help me in that goal and Kansas City showed that last season.”
The Current also re-signed defender Alex Loera, securing her through the 2025 season.
The goalkeeper signed a three-year deal to stay with North Carolina, the club announced.
A member of the USWNT since 2021, Murphy joined the Courage that same year. She made 18 starts in 2022, recording six clean sheets and making 58 saves. Her new contract would keep her with the club through 2025.
“I’m thrilled to hit the field again with all the returning players and can’t wait to meet the new talent coming to the Courage this season,” Murphy said in a statement. “I know our commitment to setting the standard and being the best team in the league will bring out the best in all of us…
“This off-season has been by best yet and I am so pumped to help the Courage win a championship in 2023.”
The Courage also re-signed midfielder Brianna Pinto to a three-year deal.
Racing Louisville announced that it had signed the Brazilian international to a three-year deal. As a result, she will be with the club through the 2025 season.
“I am thrilled about this new challenge,” Borges said in a statement. “It will be an honor to represent Racing Louisville FC and play in the NWSL, one of the top leagues in the world. I am ready and very much looking forward to taking on this new opportunity. Go Racing!”
Through three years with Palmeiras, the midfielder scored 37 goals in 87 appearances. She also had 18 goals through 32 appearances en route to helping the club to the 2022 Campeonato Paulista, the 2022 Copa Libertadores and the regular-season shield in the Brasileiro Serie A.
She was also named the Campeonato Paulista’s midfielder of the year.
The Gotham FC midfielder signed a three-year contract extension to stay with the club, with a mutual option for a fourth year.
The club acquired Pickett in a trade with the Kansas City Current in August in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick and $200,000 in allocation money. The 26-year-old Canadian was selected 15th overall by the Current in the 2021 draft and was named a Rookie of the Year finalist that season after scoring a goal and adding an assist in over 1,500 minutes across 19 games. She started four of the six games she appeared in with Gotham in 2022.
“The vision and goals of the club align with what I expect out of myself and out of a professional environment, so it was a no-brainer to re-sign with Gotham,” Pickett said in a statement.
The Brazilian star will remain in Orlando after signing a two-year deal that runs through the 2024 season. The 36-year-old forward has played with the Pride since 2017.
Her 2022 season ended before it began, as she tore her ACL during the preseason Challenge Cup tournament.
“I’m very excited for the future we are building for the Pride and can’t wait to return to the field next year, play alongside my teammates, and fight for a championship for our fans,” Marta said in a statement.
A city fit for a Queen 🐐 pic.twitter.com/hYwNcu9aFK— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) December 21, 2022
A city fit for a Queen 🐐 pic.twitter.com/hYwNcu9aFK
The USWNT defender signed a new three-year contract with the club, which will keep her in Kansas City through the 2025 season.
Mace came to the Current via trade from the North Carolina Courage during the 2021 season. She has five goals and 22 shots on goal in her 31 appearances for Kansas City, and she helped lead the team to the NWSL championship match in 2022.
“After this last season in Kansas City, it was a no-brainer to want to sign on for three more,” Mace said.
The Current also re-signed defender Kate Del Fava to a deal that will keep her in Kansas City through the 2024 season.
The 31-year-old defender re-signed with Washington on a one-year deal.
In her first season with the team, she made 16 appearances — and made waves when she flipped two birds after she took issue with a call from an official.
The 24-year-old defender agreed to an extension with the Red Stars through the 2024 season. The deal also includes a one-year option for the 2025 season.
“To play for my hometown, in front of my friends and family, has always been a dream,” Milazzo said. “I love this city and I’m so hopeful for the future of this organization.”
She played in every match — preseason, regular season and postseason — for the Red Stars, and she led all defenders in clearances (103) and interceptions (58).
Huster, who serves as president of the NWSLPA, signed a one-year deal with the Spirit. She has played for the club since the NWSL’s inaugural season in 2013.
A torn Achilles tendon kept her off the pitch in 2022.
“Tori is incredibly important to the Washington Spirit club and re-signing her was a top offseason priority,” Spirit president Mark Krikorian said.
Washington also re-signed defender Camryn Biegalski and midfielder Marissa Sheva and signed defender Gabrielle Carle to a two-year contract.
Morgan Gautrat and Vanessa DiBernardo, both of whom had said they would not return to Chicago, have found their landing spot: Kansas City.
Each midfielder signed a two-year deal with the Current, making them the team’s first free agent signings under the new CBA.
“Morgan and Vanessa are two of the world’s best soccer players and we couldn’t be happier they chose the Kansas City Current,” general manager Camille Levin Ashton said.
The defender from New Jersey is headed home. She signed a two-year contract with Gotham FC after spending the last two seasons with the Kansas City Current.
“I’ve worked really hard for a long time and I’ve fought for this dream with a lot of passion all over the world and this country,” the 35-year-old said. “It all started in New Jersey, and to come full circle with my family in the stands for all of our home games is something super special to me.”
Edmonds started 44 games across the last two seasons for the Current, including all three playoff matches on the team’s run to the NWSL championship match in 2022.
Free agents Morgan Gautrat, Danielle Colaprico and Rachel Hill have told the Chicago Red Stars that they do not plan to re-sign with the club.
Gautrat won the World Cup as part of the USWNT in 2015 and 2019. The 29-year-old midfielder joined the Red Stars via trade from the Houston Dash in 2017.
Colaprico has played with the club for her entire NWSL career since being selected by Chicago in the 2015 NWSL draft. Hill started her career with the Orlando Pride but was dealt to Chicago in 2020.
Gotham FC signed the former Thorns goalkeeper to a three-year contract. The move comes after Ashlyn Harris announced her retirement from soccer earlier this month, which left the club with an opening in net.
“I feel so fortunate to be amongst the first class of athletes in the NWSL to benefit from the new CBA’s free agency policy,” Smith said in a news release. “Gotham FC made their feelings known immediately and I was so impressed by their support and professionalism throughout the entire process.”
The 29-year-old has played for the Boston Breakers, the Utah Royals, the Kansas City Current and the Portland Thorns. She played in just one match as the backup goalkeeper for the NWSL title-winning Thorns in the 2022 season.
Smith joins Michelle Betos and 2022 draft pick Hensley Hancuff as the goalkeepers on Gotham FC’s roster.
Doniak and the Wave exercised a mutual option that will keep the forward in San Diego for the 2023 season.
In the 2022 season, Doniak played in 18 matches and contributed three goals and two assists for the expansion club.
The 26-year-old defender will stay with San Diego through the 2024 season after signing a new two-year contract. She started 19 of 22 regular-season games for the club this season.
“Kaleigh Riehl has been an outstanding player for us this year, stepped in in incredible circumstances and performed really well and is very, very worthy of a new contract,” coach Casey Stoney said.
Nov. 15 marked the first day that free agents were eligible to sign with new teams rather than their current teams, and Kelley O’Hara kicked off the era with a splash as she joined Gotham FC on a multi-year deal, she announced at an event hosted by the “Men in Blazers” podcast in New York City.
While the club proceeded to post about O’Hara’s announcement on its social media accounts, it had not issued a formal announcement of O’Hara’s signing as of Nov. 22.
O’Hara played with the Washington Spirit in the 2021 and 2022 seasons and won the NWSL title with the club in 2021.
The forward signed a two-year contract extension that will keep her in Orlando through the 2024 season, the team announced Tuesday. She joined the club via trade from the OL Reign in August.
The Current re-signed Kizer to a two-year deal through the 2024 season.
The 25-year-old from outside Kansas City joined the club via trade in June 2022. She started in 14 of 15 matches through the rest of the season, setting a club record with seven non-penalty goals in that span, and helped the team to a runner-up finish in hte NWSL playoffs.
“She was a big part of this club’s success after coming over in June and we look forward to her helping to lead this team in the future,” general manager Camille Levin Ashton said.
The 25-year-old forward signed a two-year contract with Portland, which includes an an option for the 2025 season.
She had seven goals in 20 appearances for the Thorns in the 2022 regular season, and she helped the team to its third NWSL title.
The Chicago club brought back Nagasato on a one-year contract with a one-year option. She played for the team from 2017-20, then spent one season with Racing Louisville in 2021 before returning to the Red Stars.
The team also re-signed Wright to a two-year contract. The defender has played for Chicago since she was drafted in 2015.
The Rookie of the Year finalist has signed a contract extension with the reigning NWSL champions through the 2025 season.
The 23-year-old midfielder, who also plays with the USWNT, made 18 starts for the Thorns in 2022. She led the league with 70 successful long passes and tied for fifth with 35 chances created.
“Her ability to lead from the back, to always be available, to manipulate the opposition and create spaces for her herself and her teammates is impressive to see from someone so new to the professional game,” Thorns coach Rhian Wilkinson said.
Two days earlier, Portland re-signed midfielder Rocky Rodriguez through the 2025 season.
Rodriguez will be entering her eighth season in the league in 2023 and her fourth with the Thorns. She recorded her first career postseason goal in the team’s NWSL semifinal win against the San Diego Wave to help propel Portland to the title.
The 24-year-old defender has signed a two-year deal with the Seattle-based club. She joined the team as the No. 33 overall pick in the 2020 NWSL draft.
Since she was drafted, she has started in all 28 of OL Reign’s regular-season games, and she has recorded 29 blocks and 117 clearances.
The 27-year-old defender signed a two-year contract extension with the New York City-area club.
She has spent her entire career with the franchise since being selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft. In that time, she has made 80 appearances and recorded 258 clearances, 56 blocks, and 109 interceptions.
“In my six seasons with this club, I have seen the growth and believe in the potential for us to be great,” Freeman said in a news release.
Sinclair is returning to the NWSL champion Portland Thorns on a one-year contract, making 2023 her 11th season in the league, all with the Thorns.
She made the announcement during the Thorns’ championship parade. She wants “to win a fourth one of those,” she said, pointing to the NWSL trophy.
The 27-year-old midfielder will stick with the Seattle club for two more seasons. They first joined OL Reign during the 2019 season.
Quinn has started in 26 of the 35 games they have played for the club in the regular season. They had 17 appearances in the 2022 season.
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to continue playing for OL Reign,” they said. “We have a really good culture and team environment here at this club, so I’m excited to keep it going.”
The defender will remain with the Pride through the 2024 season.
She joined the Pride via trade from the Houston Dash during the 2022 campaign. She made four starts and six appearances for the Pride after the trade.
“We are thrilled to be able to extend Haley’s time in Orlando,” Pride general manager Ian Fleming said in a statement. “Haley has embedded herself quickly and seamlessly into a new group of teammates and tactical system of play, and did so while exhibiting a work ethic and professional attitude that we want to be the standard at our club.”
The 28-year-old forward elected to stay with Gotham FC, signing a new three-year contract that will keep her with the the club through the 2025 season.
Onumonu was traded to the New York area franchise ahead of 2020 season, and she has appeared in 61 matches for the team since then, with 14 goals and nine assists in that span.
“It’s been a journey already with this club and I’m looking forward to many more years competing to be the best team in the NWSL,” she said in the news release announcing her signing.
Gotham FC finished in last place in the NWSL in the 2022 season, but the club already has been aggressive in its roster moves as it embarks on another rebuild.
Before joining Gotham FC, Onumonu played for the Boston Breakers, the Portland Thorns and OL Reign. The American-born player also plays for the Nigeria women’s national team.
The club also re-signed Taylor Smith to a three-year contract. Smith made 14 appearances (and 13 starts) for Gotham in 2022 after she was acquired off waivers in June.
Schmidt, a midfielder, signed a two-year extension, while Chapman, a defender, signed a one-year extension. Both contracts also include option years, per the club news release announcing the signings.
Both players also have been mainstays for the Canada women’s national team.