This season was one of the most competitive in the NWSL’s history. With the 2023 World Cup pulling players away from their clubs, despite scheduling changes to mitigate absences, the season featured ebbs and flows. Teams battled every week to gain an edge, and the final standings and playoff spots came down to the final day of matches on Sunday.

Consequently, it was an interesting year for individual performances. The San Diego Wave, the NWSL Shield winners, played gritty team football rather than being carried by one particular player. The Portland Thorns looked like the best team in the league at times, but they struggled with consistent form. And some of the best players of all couldn’t get their teams into the playoffs.

With many factors in play, here is my shortlist for 2023 NWSL MVP.

Kerolin, F, North Carolina Courage

Kerolin ticks a number of boxes that you want when you’re looking for an MVP candidate. She was a consistent goal scorer, finishing second in the Golden Boot race with 10 goals and three assists on the season. Her accumulative xG of 8.16, as compiled by American Soccer Analysis, was good enough for third in the league, and she delivered quality finishing in big moments.

She also has the argument of intangibles. The Courage lost a number of stars in the offseason, and it was unclear if they could pull together their new group in time to contend for the 2023 playoffs. North Carolina went on to surprise everyone, playing more methodically but staying equally as threatening in the attack, led by Kerolin’s steady performance.

In terms of how she compares to her peers in the league, and what she brings to a club that defied the odds to finish the season in third, Kerolin has to be considered an MVP frontrunner.

(Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)

Sam Coffey, M, Portland Thorns

The Thorns had an up-and-down year of player availability, due to the World Cup and lingering injury issues. As a result, Portland’s success came in spurts, with different players adding to a collective whole. Sophia Smith was statistically the most impressive player in the league before international duty and a knee injury kept her sidelined for much of the final third of the season. Morgan Weaver then picked up the slack, making key goal contributions down the stretch to earn Portland a top-two finish for the second year in a row.

But in terms of consistency, Sam Coffey is the Thorns’ best MVP candidate. Coffey handled a USWNT World Cup snub with grace, anchoring the Portland midfield as a disruptor on defense and a distributive engine in the attack. She finished the season with eight assists, three more than the next closest player, while adjusting to an ever-changing lineup of players around her. She played alongside multiple attacking midfielders, never wavering in her ability to connect and facilitate the league’s most effective attack.

Although the Thorns fell just short of the Shield again in 2023, they played some of the most cohesive soccer throughout the season largely thanks to Coffey.

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

Adriana, F, Orlando Pride

Voting philosophies for MVP can take on different lines of thinking. Should the award reflect the best player on the best team? Should it reward the top statistical performer in the NWSL? Or should it showcase a player whose team would struggle the most without them?

If we’re arguing for the last point, Adriana needs to be in the conversation. Her contributions flew under the radar at times, despite her scoring six goals and notching four assists throughout the regular season. The Brazilian attacker had the stats to back up her performances, sitting third in American Soccer Analysis’ goals added metric in large part due to her magical abilities on the ball.

In addition to her striking talents, Adriana is an excellent dribbler of the ball, bringing a dynamism to the Orlando attack that almost carried the team into the playoffs for the first time since 2017. While they fell short this time, the Pride look like a team prepped for the future, with Adriana’s breakout success a key part of that foundation.

(Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports)

Jaedyn Shaw, F/M, San Diego Wave

The Wave never relied on one single player on their way to finishing at the top of the NWSL table. Abby Dahlkemper’s midseason return shook up their staunch defense, and the team went through a rough patch before rounding into form late in the year. Jaedyn Shaw stood out among the rest for taking her added responsibilities in the attack and the midfield in stride. And if MVP should reward consistency, growth, and team reliance, the teenager deserves a look.

Shaw has scored the most goals as a teenager in NWSL history, breaking the record previously held by Trinity Rodman. The 18-year-old added key elements to her game in 2023: She adjusted to becoming more of a playmaker and facilitator as much as a goal scorer, and she showcased dribbling and passing abilities that will only improve over time. Shaw scored six goals and notched three assists in the regular season, often keeping the Wave in games as they found their form.

In her second professional season, there’s an argument that Shaw is not only the best young player in the league, but also one of the best players regardless of age. As a key part of the Wave’s Shield run, she has a serious case for MVP.

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.

Sophia Smith is the frontrunner for NWSL MVP, despite having missed almost 25% of the season due to the World Cup and a knee injury.

The 23-year-old forward missed more than 40 days with an MCL sprain before making her return last Saturday, but in that time she maintained her place atop some of the NWSL’s most important statistical categories. Smith still leads the league in goals (11), goals per 90 (0.87), goals and assists (16), shots on target (38) and shots on target per 90 (3.02).

Her goals and assists average per 90 (1.27) nearly doubles that of second-place Kerolin, who sits at 0.74 for the North Carolina Courage. She also leads in non-penalty goal categories, shot-creating actions per 90, goal-creating actions and goal-creating actions per 90.

Simply put: Smith has been, statistically, one of the best players in the league once again, after becoming the youngest MVP in league history last season. And to top it all off, Smith is nominated for the Ballon d’Or.

Other MVP candidates, including Orlando’s Adriana, North Carolina’s Kerolin and Washington’s Ashley Hatch, have put together solid seasons. But no team has an answer for Smith.

In five matches without Smith, Portland lost four matches and won just one. In 16 matches with Smith, the Thorns went 9-2-5 (W-L-D). So Smith’s presence on the pitch certainly provides a boost, both for the Thorns in their quest for back-to-back NWSL championships and for Smith in her quest for back-to-back MVP awards.

We’re nearing the halfway point of the 2023 NWSL season after a topsy-turvy month of May. The league saw a number of imbalanced scorelines, but no single player took a definitive lead in the Golden Boot race — or in the Player of the Month race, which had a number of worthy contenders.

With defenses across the NWSL still working on their cohesion, most of the top performers in May were those generating attacking chances, with quite a few coming from teams still on the upswing in the league table.

However, our regular season Player of the Month for May is likely a name well known to many.

Crystal Dunn, M, Portland Thorns

The 30-year-old had one of the best scoring months of her career in the Portland midfield in May, scoring three goals and registering an assist. She finished the month in a tie for first place in the 2023 Golden Boot race with five on the season.

A high-efficiency scorer, Dunn converted on 100% of her shots on goal this month in performances against the North Carolina Courage and the Chicago Red Stars. Her brace against the Courage kept the Thorns in a match that ultimately ended 3-3, picking up a crucial point to land Portland tied for second place in the NWSL standings at the end of the month with 16 points.

Dunn also has been active in ways more nuanced than her scoring and assisting output. She sits in second for field players in American Soccer Analysis’ goals added (g+) estimation for the month of May on the strength of her receiving and shooting abilities. She also sits in the top 10 for individual xG created this month despite only registering eight total shots. And while the Portland defense has had its struggles this month, the attack has kept cooking, sitting on a goal differential of +12.

Honorable mentions

Savannah DeMelo, M, Racing Louisville

DeMelo was in a dead heat with Dunn for May’s top honor, proving essential for Louisville in all competitions despite only scoring one goal and notching one assist in regular season play. The 25-year-old has been one of the best attacking generators in the league this month, leading the NWSL in xG + xA (goal and assist chance creation).

Kailen Sheridan, GK, San Diego Wave

Sheridan is known as one of the NWSL’s most elite shot-stoppers, but in May she was one of the league’s greatest passing threats as well. She also led the league’s goalkeepers in g+, conceding only four goals on 24 shots faced, which leaves San Diego tied for second place in the league standings.

Adriana, F, Orlando Pride

The Pride saw their best stretch of play in May, going undefeated in three regular season games before a very unlikely loss to the Chicago Red Stars to end the month. Orlando has passed around scoring honors and become stingy in defense, but Adriana’s contributions on and off the ball have stuck out as both a dribbler and a defensive disruptor from the attack.

Since joining the NWSL in 2017, the Orlando Pride have had a tenuous foothold on the NWSL standings. Despite initially fielding a splashy lineup featuring players like Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris and Marta, Orlando could never quite get the results to match the potential of its assembled roster.

A high coaching turnover rate affected consistency, and the team slid toward the bottom of the table, finishing last in 2019. In the years since, Orlando has had stretches of positive results but has still struggled to compete by the end of a punishing NWSL season.

Recently, Orlando’s philosophy toward roster-building has shown a marked change from the top-heavy investment of the team’s early years. Under new head coach Seb Hines, the Pride have compiled a young core of developing players through the draft and free agency, allowing the club to put roots down before beginning to grow into a playoff contender. The question in 2023 is whether the team can contend this year, or if they’re stuck building for the next version of the future.

2022 review: Getting stuck in

Despite renewed expectations, Orlando’s 2022 season started with middling results, as the occasional attacking fireworks couldn’t quite make up for their struggles on defense. The Pride would gut out a win one weekend, and then give up four or five goals to their next opponent.

The inconsistencies weren’t relegated to on-field performances. Head coach Amanda Cromwell was suspended in June (and later expelled from the league) amid an investigation for possible retaliation, and Hines was given interim control of the team midway through the 2022 season.

Despite adversity, the Pride also proved themselves resilient in the second half of the season. Orlando pulled together a five-game unbeaten streak in June after Cromwell’s suspension, becoming a stuck-in group that was very difficult for opponents to break down. While the Pride didn’t always play the prettiest soccer, they did stop the bleeding that plagued them at the beginning of the season.

But working primarily without the ball has its costs, and at the end of the season, fatigue set in and the club struggled to implement tactics that went further than stopping the opposition. A few multi-goal losses to opponents at the top of the table, like OL Reign and Portland, firmly ended Orlando’s dream of a playoff surge and relegated the club to a 10th-place finish in the 2022 standings.

Last year, Orlando became more of a proof of concept than a fully realized soccer team, defined more by how they could frustrate other teams than the strengths they brought to a match themselves.

Second-round pick Messiah Bright could end up being the steal of the 2023 NWSL Draft. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Offseason moves: Building a new future

After a season of ups and downs, Hines began to further compile the young group the Pride believe can carry the team for years to come. Orlando was reportedly in the running for top free agent Debinha, but even after losing out to the Kansas City Current, the Pride front office continued to look for ways to solidify their core.

Orlando targeted talent in the draft, bringing in Emily Madril (No. 3) to partner with Megan Montefusco in the central defense and picking up underrated playmaking talent in the later rounds. Midfielder Summer Yates (No. 39) can create havoc in an NWSL midfield, and forward Messiah Bright (No. 21) could be the steal of the draft after Orlando grabbed her late in the second round. In free agency, the Pride signed Brazil forward Adriana to add extra firepower to the attack.

The Pride will also benefit from the return of legendary Brazilian playmaker Marta, who missed almost all of the 2022 season with an ACL tear. Marta brings both quality to the attack and veteran experience that will help Orlando’s young group learn the standards of the professional league. She will help make up for the loss of forward Darian Jenkins, who announced her retirement in January.

Seb Hines begins his first season as Orlando's permanent head coach. (Courtesy of the Orlando Pride)

2023 outlook: Don’t overthink it

Perhaps for the first time, Orlando appears to be building a real foundation for the future, but their success this year will depend on how the coaching staff adapts to the team’s skill set. The midfield is still unbalanced, with more attacking midfielders than players who excel at off-the-ball defensive positioning. Mikayla Cluff is ready for greater midfield responsibilities, but she’s a forward-pushing midfielder, as is rookie Yates. The Pride can’t spend too much time trying to possess through the middle of the pitch if they want to find immediate success.

The good news for Orlando is that they don’t necessarily have to aspire to possession-based soccer when it makes more sense to play direct. With a number of quality options along the frontline, the Pride can play through their forwards while providing a level of defensive coverage they might not have had before.

Orlando’s ceiling will depend on the team’s ability to move the ball quickly and to absorb pressure. Madril and Montefusco will have to build chemistry quickly, with the hope that players like Ally Watt and Julia Doyle will be able to pounce on quick-trigger opportunities on the other end.

Ultimately, the Pride could be written off as a work in progress for the future. But many great clubs in the NWSL’s history have found ways to turn positive play into results by not overcomplicating the task at hand, and a little confidence for a team in transition could go a very long way.

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.

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.

March 13 — Carson Pickett commits to Racing Louisville

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.

March 6 — Midge Purce re-signs with Gotham FC

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.”

Jan. 19 — Pride add another Brazil WNT star in Adriana

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.

Jan. 16 — Spirit bring back Sam Staab amid flurry of moves

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.

Jan. 13 — Gotham re-signs captain McCall Zerboni

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.

Jan. 12 — Trades shake up 2023 NWSL draft

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.

Jan. 11 — Megan Rapinoe back for 11th season with OL Reign

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.

Jan. 10 — Jaelin Howell signs contract extension with Louisville

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.

Jan. 9 — NWSL MVP finalist Debinha joins Current

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.

Jan. 3 — Casey Murphy re-signs with Courage

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.

Dec. 23 — Ary Borges inks three-year deal with Racing Louisville

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.

Dec. 22 — Victoria Pickett signs extension with Gotham

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.

Dec. 21 — Marta inks two-year deal with Pride

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.

Dec. 19 — Hailie Mace re-signs with Current

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.

Dec. 19 — Amber Brooks stays with Spirit

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.

Dec. 12 — Tatumn Milazzo signs extension with Chicago

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).

Dec. 8 — Washington brings back co-captain Tori Huster

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.

Dec. 7 — Current add two former Red Stars

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.

Dec. 1 — Kristen Edmonds becomes latest Gotham addition

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.

Dec. 1 — Morgan Gautrat, two more will not re-sign with Chicago

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.

Nov. 28 — Gotham FC brings in goalkeeper Abby Smith

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.

Nov. 18 — San Diego exercises 2023 option for Makenzy Doniak

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.

Nov. 17 — Wave re-sign Kaleigh Riehl to two-year deal

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 — Kelley O’Hara signs with Gotham FC

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.

Nov. 15 — Ally Watt re-signs with Orlando Pride

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.

Nov. 15 — Cece Kizer inks new deal with hometown Current

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.

Nov. 15 — Morgan Weaver stays with Thorns through 2024

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.

Nov. 15 — Red Stars re-sign Yuki Nagasato, Arin Wright

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.

Nov. 10 — Sam Coffey signs extension with Portland

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.

Nov. 8 — OL Reign re-signs defender Sam Hiatt

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.

Nov. 3 — Mandy Freeman commits to Gotham FC through 2024

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.

Nov. 2 — Christine Sinclair returns to Thorns for 2023

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.

Oct. 28 — Quinn re-signs with OL Reign through 2024

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.”

Oct. 26 — Haley Hanson re-signs with Orlando Pride

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.”

Oct. 25 — Ifeoma Onumonu inks three-year deal with Gotham FC

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.

Oct. 20 — Allysha Chapman, Sophie Schmidt extend contracts with Houston Dash

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.