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NWSL kits for 2022: Ranking the styles from worst to best

Apr 17, 2022; Seattle, WA, USA; Angel City FC defender Ali Riley (5) passes the ball against OL Reign at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

As the NWSL season nears its halfway point, we all have one question on our minds: Which team has the freshest fit? Just Women’s Sports breaks it down with our 2022 kit rankings.

Every club but one has introduced at least one new kit this season. Those new unis join the league’s already robust roster of on-field looks, including those of NJ/NY Gotham FC, who stood pat for 2022 with the home and away kits they introduced at the start of last season.

Orlando Pride launched the Luna kit into orbit, while Racing Louisville released a newly-minted away kit of their own.

Expansion team Angel City FC started strong with a double dose of football fashion, and you can get to know the club and its captain Ali Riley on the new season of Riley’s Off the Ball podcast, which premieres Tuesday.

Where did each team land? Check out the full rankings:

12. Washington Spirit

The reigning NWSL champions, the Washington Spirit unveiled their 10th anniversary kit ahead of the season, but the look left a lot to be desired.

While the classic blue jersey looks lovely on the pitch, the commemorative kit lacks the creativity other clubs have incorporated into their designs. The star above the crest, which designates Washington’s champion status, deserves to feature on a splashier uniform.

11. San Diego Wave FC

The Wave’s inaugural kit is relatively straightforward: a solid blue top with a thumbprint design on the sleeves. Pink numbers provide a pop of color on the otherwise subdued jersey.

The expansion club’s vibrant sunset crest shows potential, but the uniform falls short of the vivid wave graphic.

10. Portland Thorns FC

The Thorns employed a minimal look for their 2022 home kits, which feature a horizontal thorn design running across the jersey. While black as the primary color brings drama, the design combined with the sponsor placement feels disjointed.

The club committed to the minimalist look for their away kits as well, just as early aughts maximalism is coming back into style. The all-white uniform, while crisp, is a bit too bare. The subtle details — an embossed Thorns FC wordmark down the sides, red and black piping on the sleeves — are admirable but are hard to make out from a distance.

9. North Carolina Courage

A subtle gradient highlights the Courage’s colors on the tops of the club’s 2022 kits. While the execution of the red-to-blue fade is impressive, the shading is not the most cutting-edge choice.

8. Orlando Pride

Orlando’s primary jersey, released last season, features an arresting purple and black celestial design.

The Pride’s Luna kit continues the space motif but doesn’t reach the same heights. The graphic element — a depiction of the moon’s surface — is compelling, and the commitment to the Ad Astra theme is commendable, but the primarily white jersey combined with the grey numbers leaves the back of the kit hard to read on the pitch.

7. Kansas City Current

Kansas City’s new Electric away kit isn’t as charged as the name would have you believe. While the teal accents on the primarily white jersey are an inspired choice, the top needs more color than the side paneling offers. The club also opted to pair the top with white shorts and teal socks when the uniform would benefit from red or teal shorts to really stand out.

The club’s red primary kits are emblazoned with teal piping for an eye-catching look. The red shorts, though, feature not teal but white piping down the sides, a baffling and mismatched choice.

6. NJ/NY Gotham FC

Gotham FC kept their designs from 2021, with a solid black look bisected by a light blue diagonal sash for their home matches. The pattern is unlike any other in the NWSL as the club elevates a classic soccer uniform configuration.

Gotham FC’s away kits employ the same motif on white jerseys, with the blue accent popping on the minimalist look.

Bonus points for the Statue of Liberty crest!

5. Houston Dash

The Dash get an A for creativity, opting for a daring interpretation of Houston’s flag for their City of Fútbol alternate kit. Stars adorn the front of the jersey, embellished with a wavefront pattern that evokes a retro feel. Perhaps the kits are a bit too busy, but they make a splash.

Houston opted to keep a classic orange kit for home matches, a look that has become undeniably associated with the Dash.

4. Chicago Red Stars

The Red Stars honor their city, the birthplace of the skyscraper, with their new kits. Adorned with a geometric blue pattern, the mostly-white jersey is inspired by the city’s skyline.

The four red stars on the jersey’s shoulders bring together the harmonious uniform, balancing out the contained front graphic.

3. OL Reign

OL Reign’s 2022 Honor kit is a classic look with an intentional twist.

White with a blue and red vertical stripe, the kit features the names of Reign players who have represented the team since its debut in 2013. The sponsor logo and player names are meticulously placed, ensuring aesthetic balance, while the tribute adds a palpable weight to the uniform.

2. Racing Louisville FC

Racing Louisville’s Mint kit is a breath of fresh air, providing the league with a welcome burst of color. While the kit could do with even more mint, the fleur de lis printed top is complemented well by the solid mint shorts. The club’s purple accents tie the pastel uniform together.

Louisville opted to keep their striking 2021 home kit, a black jersey emblazoned with purple flowers.

1. Angel City FC

Sol rosa palm trees: Does any more need to be said? The large pink and black print across the away kit is a daring choice for an NWSL club, and it pays off.

In the same vein as the Mint jersey, the top could be elevated with even more color — but that could come in due time for the new club. The solid pink shorts are a welcome addition to the playful away uniform, pulling together the exuberant kit.

The club’s home jersey, while more understated, features an art deco pattern that solidifies ACFC as the fashion leaders of the league.

Barcelona to Face Lyon in Champions League Rematch This Weekend

UEFA Women's Champions League Final"Barcelona FC - Olympique Lyonnais"
Saturday's game will be the third UWCL final meeting for Barcelona and Lyon, having previously gone up against each other in 2019 and 2022. (ANP via Getty Images)

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off in Bilbao on Saturday, with a couple of familiar foes set to face off for the trophy.

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin, making its 11th final appearance since 2010, will go head to head with a Barcelona side making its fourth final appearance in a row.

This will be the third time these two teams meet in the UWCL title game, having previously appeared in the 2019 and 2022 finals. Lyon won both of those prior games against Barcelona, alongside a total of eight Champions League trophies. That’s double that of any other club, with Eintracht Frankfurt coming in a distant second with four. 

Should Barcelona win, this would be the team's third title — breaking a tie for the third in the UWCL total titles race. 

But as these teams return to the UWCL final, it also marks the end of an era for both clubs. The game will be the last for both club managers, as Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez and Lyon’s Sonia Bompastor depart for new jobs after the season's end.

Giráldez is set to leave for the NWSL's Washington Spirit, while Bompastor will take over for incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes at Chelsea. Both coaches have earned one UWCL trophy during their tenures, while Bompastor also brought two Champions League trophies to Lyon as a player. She was the first coach to win a UWCL trophy as both a coach and player.

This season, Barcelona is looking for its first quadruple, having won a fifth Liga F title alongside the Copa de La Reina, and the Spanish Supercopa. 

"We hope he can go out with the four trophies because we know how competitive and ambitious he is," Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro told ESPN. "It has been a winning era with him in charge and for him to go out with all four trophies would be historic and incredible."

But Lyon's Damaris Egurrola is excited about her team's chances of overcoming Barcelona once again — and to do it in front of family and friends.

"Lyon have something special," she told Forbes ahead of the weekend's final. "We have a great team and we have the players with enough talent to win any match."

The game will be a homecoming for Egurrola, who began her professional career with Athletic Bilbao.

"I’ve been thinking of this day and night," she said. "I’ve been dreaming of playing this match. Having the opportunity to play in San Mames is amazing. This is where it all started for me."

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off Saturday, May 25th at 12 PM ET and is free to stream on DAZN.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek Headlines a Stacked 2024 French Open

Iga Swiatek serves against Coco Gauff during the group stage of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico
Iga Swiatek serves against Coco Gauff during the group stage of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico. (Robert Prange/Getty Images)

The 2024 French Open starts on Sunday, with a match schedule that promises to wrap the short clay court season up in style.

Looking for her fourth title at the major is three-time Roland Garros champion and World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, considered the favorite to win the whole Slam. Three of her four major titles have come at the French tournament. 

Swiatek's career record at the French Open is a dominating 28-2, and she's currently on a 16-game winning streak fueled by victories at tune-up tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

But that doesn't mean she won't face some serious challengers along the way. Get to know some of the Polish tennis champ's strongest competitors.

Aryna Sabalenka

Sabalenka is ranked No. 2 in the world and faced Swiatek in the finals at both Madrid and Rome. She lost in three sets in Madrid, which included a close third-set tiebreak, before losing in straight sets at the Italian Open. 

She enters the French Open having won the Australian Open in January, successfully defending her title in the first Slam of the season. At last year’s French Open, Sabalenka reached the semifinals — a career best — before being ousted by Karolina Muchová in three sets.

Season record: 25-7

Coco Gauff

Currently sitting at No. 3 in the world, the highest-ranked American on the schedule is none other than Coco Gauff. Gauff won her first major at the US Open last year, and reached the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open. She faced Swiatek in the semifinals of the Italian Open last week, losing in straight sets. 

But her first major final came at the French Open in 2022, before being ousted by Swiatek in the quarterfinals at last year’s French Open. The two are on a crash course for a meeting before the finals, as Gauff anchors the other quadrant on Swiatek’s side of the draw, should they both advance deep into the competition.

Season record: 25-8

Chicago Sky Upset New York to End Liberty’s Unbeaten Streak

chicago sky's angel reese on the court against new york liberty
Angel Reese registered a near double-double against a strong Liberty side. (Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Liberty’s unbeaten streak came to an end on Thursday as Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky got the upset win over New York with a final score of 90-81. 

Angel Reese stood out with a near double-double, registering 13 points and nine rebounds. She’s currently the only rookie this season to exceed 10 points in her first three games, and the first player in Sky history to begin their career with three consecutive double-digit scoring games, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The outcome may not have come as a surprise to Liberty stars Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones, who sung Reese’s praises ahead of the game.

"She’s a workhorse," Stewart told The Post. "She doesn’t stop. She’s tough, she’s strong, she’s tough to box out and good at cleaning up for her team offensively and defensively."

"I feel like she’s an energizer bunny," Jones added. "She doesn’t stop moving, she doesn’t stop crashing the boards. Just someone that is gonna be relentless in her approach to getting to the glass and playing tough."

It was the first time Chicago has met New York this season. The game was especially meaningful for new Chicago head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, who led the Liberty for seven years as a player and joined the team's Ring of Honor in 2011.

"This place means a lot to me... I played in that jersey, I adored that jersey, I adored every player that I had an opportunity to play with. The love that I received even today was overwhelming," Weatherspoon reflected after the game.

Following the win, Sky guard Dana Evans had some kind words for her coach.

"I mean, it's just special. She's special," Evans said. "She just breeds confidence in each and every one of us. We love her. We just wanted to go so hard and play hard for her, and I feel like this one was really for her. We really wanted this for her more than anything."

Thursday's victory brings Chicago's record to 2-1, a somewhat unlikely feat given that their offseason featured starter Kahleah Copper getting traded to Phoenix. The Connecticut Sun are now the only undefeated team left in the league this season, and will formidable foes for the Sky as they take their winning streak on the road to Chicago this weekend.

New USWNT Coach Emma Hayes Embracing the Challenge

United States Women's Head Coach Emma Hayes
The ex-Chelsea skipper has officially arrived in the US — now it's time to get down to business. (USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Emma Hayes has officially begun her tenure as USWNT manager ahead of the team’s June friendlies.

Hayes made the rounds on Thursday, appearing on the Today Show and speaking with select media about her goals and underlying principles with the team. It’s a quick turnaround for the decorated coach, who just won the WSL with Chelsea last weekend.

One thing that she won’t do, however, is shy away from the high expectations that come with managing the US. The squad is looking to reinstate its winning reputation at the Paris Olympics this summer following a disappointing World Cup in 2023. 

"I know the challenge ahead of me. There is no denying there is a gap between the US and the rest of the world," she told ESPN. "We have to acknowledge that winning at the highest level isn't what it was 10 years ago. It's a completely different landscape. And my focus is going to be on getting the performances required to play at a high level against the very best nations in the world."

While Hayes was formally hired six months ago to lead the USWNT, her deal stipulated that she remain with Chelsea through the conclusion of their season. In her stead, Twila Kilgore has led the team, with the coach "drip feeding subliminal messages" to the roster on Hayes’s behalf.

"It's a bit ass-upwards," Hayes joked to reporters. "I know about the staff, and the team, and the structure behind it. We got all of that. Now it's time, I need to be with the team."

With Olympics now just two months away, Hayes dropped hints this week regarding her thought process behind building the roster, saying there’s still time for players to make their case.

"You can't go to an Olympics with a completely inexperienced squad. We need our experienced players, but getting that composition right, that's my job between now and June 16th," she said on the Today Show.

"What I can say from my time [in the US] is, I've always loved the attitude towards performance and the expectation to give everything you've got," she later affirmed to reporters.

And as for winning gold?

"I'm never gonna tell anyone to not dream about winning," she added. "But… we have to go step by step, and focus on all the little processes that need to happen so we can perform at our best level.

"I will give it absolutely everything I've got to make sure I uphold the traditions of this team."

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