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Winners and losers of the 2022 NWSL summer transfer window

Houston Dash forward Ebony Salmon has scored eight goals since July 16. (Maria Lysaker/USA TODAY Sports)

The 2022 NWSL summer trade window closed on Wednesday, ushering in a roster freeze for the rest of the season and the start of the NWSL’s first free agency period.

As the league and NWSL Players Association clash over the full list of eligible free agents, Just Women’s Sports breaks down each team’s trades, waives and signings from the summer transfer window, dividing them into winning and losing categories in no particular order.


Houston Dash

The Dash easily top this list. In the last week, they strengthened their backline with the addition of 2021 Defender of the Year Caprice Dydasco, signed Jamaican national team forward Tiernny Wiltshire and acquired Valérie Gauvin from the North Carolina Courage. The forward has scored 17 goals in 37 appearances for the French national team and should help boost a Houston attack that Ebony Salmon has been lighting up since she joined the team via a trade on July 1. After playing sparingly for Racing Louisville this season, Salmon has scored eight goals in eight games with Houston. Despite star forward Rachel Daly leaving for Aston Villa in August, with so many new stars, it’s safe to say the Dash will be fine without her.

Kansas City Current

Cece Kizer has been a game-changer for the Current during their 11-game unbeaten streak. Since joining Kansas City at the end of May, Kizer has scored five goals, making up almost a quarter of the Current’s season total. French national team player and former Lyon midfielder Claire Lavogez has also provided a boost, scoring one goal in the three games she’s played since signing with the team on July 20. Kansas City will have to adjust to life without midfielder Victoria Pickett after trading her to Gotham FC this week, but they have a whopping $200,000 in allocation money and Gotham’s second-highest first-round 2023 draft pick or natural first-round pick to use to their advantage.

Angel City FC

Two words: Sydney Leroux. Acquiring the former U.S. women’s national team forward for a first-round 2024 draft pick and $75,000 allocation money was a big save for Angel City after losing Christen Press to a season-ending injury in June. They also just signed 2022 draft pick Claire Emslie and gained an international spot from OL Reign in exchange for $40,000 in allocation money. Goalkeeper Maia Pérez went on loan to Grand Paris Seine Ouest 92 Issy in France, where she’ll gain valuable experience as a starter while Angel City continues to play current starting keeper DiDi Haračić. Wins all around.

Portland Thorns FC

The first-place Portland Thorns have found their rhythm with the players they have, so there was no need for any major roster shake-ups. They did acquire defender Tegan McGrady from San Diego in exchange for Madison Pogarch in late July. McGrady brings experience after winning the NWSL championship with the Washington Spirit last season.

San Diego Wave FC

After picking up Pogarch from Portland, the Wave signed U.S. youth national team star Jaedyn Shaw, who had previously trained with the Spirit. The 17-year-old wasted no time showcasing her talent, scoring the game-winning goal in her NWSL debut, the only game she’s played with the Wave so far this season.

OL Reign

Like the Dash, the Reign have gone all-in on blockbuster signings this season, acquiring former NWSL MVP Kim Little, Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Huitema and star forward Tobin Heath. The team has yet to turn the additions into results as well as Houston has, but Heath’s impact should increase as she gets more minutes. Huitema has been finding her rhythm, scoring the game-winner in the Reign’s 2-1 Women’s Cup championship victory. On the downside, Little’s contract was only for the summer and the Reign traded Ally Watt, an important player off the bench, to Orlando. But OL Reign’s overall depth should keep them in contention as the playoffs approach.


NJ/NY Gotham FC

Gotham would have been a winner on this list after acquiring Taylor Smith and Victoria Pickett, especially given how dominant Smith has been with her two goals and one assist this season, but Caprice Dydasco is a big loss. The team has conceded a league-worst 32 goals this season, and without one of their most consistent players on the backline, they’ll continue to have their work cut out for them.

Orlando Pride

The Pride had a rollercoaster of a summer. While Sydney Leroux, Amy Turner and Angharad James were big, unexpected losses, Orlando also acquired some serious talent. Ally Watt from OL Reign and Haley Hanson from the Dash bring leadership and winning experience that will be important for the young squad. The Pride will hardly miss the second-round pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft and $75,000 in allocation money they gave the Dash in exchange for Hanson because they already have a wealth of draft picks. Thais Reiss and Haley Bugeja are two other young additions with loads of talent.


Chicago Red Stars

The Red Stars are getting left behind. They dominated the first half of the year to stay near the top of the standings, but as other teams started making moves to boost their rosters, Chicago remained stagnant. Sarah Luebbert returning to the Red Stars from a one-year loan with Club América in Liga MX Femenil has been the biggest change.

North Carolina Courage

From an outside perspective, it appears that head coach Sean Nahas didn’t realize the amount of talent his team had coming into the season. Taylor Smith and Jorian Baucom were waived after hardly getting any playing time with the Courage, but since leaving North Carolina, Smith has scored two goals for Gotham. The Courage also traded Valérie Gauvin, one of the top players in France, to Houston before she got a minute of playing time.

Racing Louisville FC

Louisville lost a big talent when they traded Ebony Salmon to Houston in exchange for $150,000 in allocation money in 2022, with an additional $25,000 in 2023. While head coach Kim Björkegren kept Salmon on the bench, she’s scored eight goals and moved into fourth on the list of scoring leaders since leaving Louisville. The team also traded star forward Cece Kizer and defender Addisyn Merrick to Kansas City and sent Tobin Heath’s rights to OL Reign. On the bright side for Louisville, defender Satara Murray has been a consistent starter after they signed her to a two-year deal.

Washington Spirit

The defending NWSL champions are near the bottom of the league standings and dealing with internal turmoil after head coach Kris Ward was fired following an incident at practice. While they haven’t been far off from winning games since appearing in the Challenge Cup final in May, the Spirit clearly need a spark and they didn’t make any moves before the trade deadline.

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

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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