FC Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala is joining the NWSL, signing with expansion side Bay FC through 2026 with an option for 2027. A proven winner, she brings a knack for goalscoring and the ability to connect with her playmakers that creates a more complete attack for the club.

“She brings a top-class mentality to the field combined with pace and technical ability that allows her to lead the line, while also giving those players around her the license to be creative and thrive in space,” Bay FC general manager Lucy Rushton said in a team statement.

With Bay FC already in preseason, Oshoala has wasted no time arriving in camp, and is settling in with her new club in Santa Barbara. The move presents a new leap of faith for the 29-year-old, who has never shied away from pursuing new challenges.

“I’ve stayed a long time in Europe, it’s the longest I’ve stayed anywhere,” she tells Just Women’s Sports prior to Thursday’s announcement. “I’ve played in different continents and all that, and I just feel like I would love to try elsewhere maybe one more time, one more change to see how that feels.”

Fans in the U.S. might know Oshoala from Nigeria’s scintillating run at the 2023 World Cup, or perhaps as the first African woman to win the Champions League with Barcelona in 2021. She’s had multiple record seasons with the Spanish champions, most notably tying for first in scoring in Liga F in 2021/22. But even before she found a home in Barcelona, she’s always had the mindset that change is a positive, and diversity of experience is a strength.

After getting her professional start in Nigeria as a teenager, Oshoala transferred to Liverpool in the WSL when she was just 20 years old. After a stint at Arsenal, she transferred to the Chinese club Dalian, winning the golden boot and two league championships there. 

She went into her experience in China completely blind to the footballing culture, but came out of her time there a more well-rounded player with valuable experience. “I was just willing to take the risk, and I totally loved it,” she says.

It’s with a similarly open mind that she met with Bay FC head coach Albertin Montoya, who presented to her a new experience that she felt she could get excited about. “I feel like everyone wants to be a part of something beautiful, something amazing,” she says. 

“The project that this club is trying to build is really on the high side, the challenge is also it’s more or less a risk for me … because of where I’m coming from, the style of football, the environment and everything. It’s a big change, it’s a huge change for me, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take as well.”

“If you don’t leave your comfort zone, sometimes you don’t get to achieve certain things,” she continues. “It’s very important to understand this, and at this point in my career, I won’t think I’m really scared to make big changes.”

The comfort zone (and winning culture) of Barcelona doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon, something that Oshoala admits gave her pause when she was considering her options for the future. She’s won basically every possible trophy with the club, and she leaves mid-season with Barcelona poised for even more success. She considered putting her decision off for a little while. 

“It was hard,” she says. “Walking away from that was difficult. Where can I go from that — you just don’t know where you can be that can actually be better than where you are at the moment.”

But then the questions she asked herself became more personal, outside of winning soccer games. “Sometimes you have to tell yourself, okay, apart from trophies, what do you have currently, what else is there for you?” she says. “These are the questions I asked myself, these are the questions I had deep conversations with my family.”

Oshoala brings up the Asisat Oshoala Academy, and the girls there who want to follow in her footsteps towards professional footballing careers. She hopes that her move to the NWSL shows young players in Nigeria that a number of different continents could be in their future.

“You want to think about the younger generations coming up,” she says. “You want to think about the African players who can actually get more opportunities to come into this league. You want to encourage these girls to also come here as well.”

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Asisat Oshoala is greeted at the airport by Bay FC general manager Lucy Rushton (Courtesy of Bay FC)

As for what awaits her on the field, Oshoala is still in the early stages of acclimating to Bay FC’s style of play, but even in initial meetings with coaching staff she felt she understood a clear vision. “Albertin is a very professional person, he is funny, can be funny as well,” she says with a laugh.

“He’s a person who knows what he wants, and how he wants to play,” she continues. “And I actually like that he wants to keep the ball. They want to play a different style of football compared to what the league is actually used to and all of that. I just feel like I want to be a part of something like that from the scratches, where I don’t mind the risk behind it.”

Her signing represents the promise of a larger sea change in the NWSL, where top coaching talents (like Oshoala’s Barcelona manager Jonatan Giráldez) are eager to usher in a new era of tactical nuance that retains the league’s competitiveness while sharpening technicality. Possession-style football has at times been easier to discuss than actually implement in the NWSL, but 2024 could see more clubs than ever trying to marry a more technical style with the league’s established speed of play.

Oshoala is coming in without many pre-formed opinions on the NWSL’s style. “I never had the interest to play in America, to be honest with you,” she says. “I used to say that — not because I don’t like the league or something — I usually don’t really follow like that because of the time difference. I was never so interested or invested in it, but recently my mind changed. I saw a couple of players here, you know, and then I started following them because I’ve got friends as well who play here.”

She now sees playing in front of American crowds to be an opportunity for brand-building, and she’s clear that she both wants and expects Bay FC to contend for a playoff spot in their first year. 

“I’m not going to expect the same level of performance from my teammates compared to that of where I’m coming from,” she says. “But I’m ready to kind of go for it. I’m ready to fight for them, fight for each other, go out there, have each other’s back and tell ourselves it’s our first year and we really want to reach the playoffs.”

“You want everyone to feel like we’re not going to be an easy team to play. If you’re gonna get a point off of us, you can work for it.”

Off the field, Oshoala is happy that despite moving continents, she will still be near water, where she likes to go be by herself and switch off from football. On the field, the work begins to create a cohesive unit out of a newly-put-together expansion side. 

“I feel like I’ve been there before, I’ve done that before and know how it turned out,” she says. “It’s not gonna be something easy, but it’s something that is achievable. And I’m a person who will just go for what I want. If I like it, I want to do it.”

Asisat Oshoala could be on the move to the NWSL.

A report in SPORT over the weekend linked the FC Barcelona and Nigerian forward to an immediate transfer to a to-be-named NWSL club. According to reports, the transfer fee is around €150,000 ($162,000 USD).

On Saturday, Oshoala did not play in the team’s game against Real Betis, with the club citing “personal reasons.” She was also omitted from the Barcelona roster for Wednesday’s Champions League game. Reportedly, the Nigerian star has not been training with the team.

Oshoala has made 14 appearances for Barcelona this season, starting in just three games. Through that time, she’s netted eight goals.

Her rumored move to the NWSL follows coach Jonatan Giraldez, who is set to depart Barcelona upon the conclusion of the season for the Washington Spirit.

Sophia Smith stands as the lone U.S. women’s national team player among the 30 nominees for the 2023 Ballon d’Or Féminin.

The Portland Thorns star led the NWSL and the USWNT in goals in 2022, with 18 for her club team and 11 for her country. The NWSL MVP also helped lead her team to the 2022 championship. While the 23-year-old is dealing with a post-World Cup knee injury, she again leads the NWSL Golden Boot race with 11 goals.

No other USWNT player made the long list for the prestigious award, presented by “France Football” magazine. And just one other NWSL player — Brazil and Kansas City Current forward Debinha — made the cut.

Among professional leagues, England’s Women’s Super League led the way with 12 players, followed by Spain’s Liga F with 10. Germany’s Frauen-Bundesliga followed with four, and then the NWSL and France’s Division 1 Féminine with two. Among club teams, Spain’s FC Barcelona led the way with six.

Spain (6) and England (4) were the only national teams with more than two players on the list.

Spain’s contingent included Aitana Bonmatí, who won the World Cup Golden Ball, and Olga Carmona, who scored the game-winning goal against England in the tournament final. England’s nominees included captain Millie Bright and goalkeeper Mary Earps.

One notable name not on the list: Spain’s Alexia Putellas, who won the trophy in 2021 and 2022. The 29-year-old spent most of the last year recovering from an ACL tear, though she did return for Spain at the World Cup. England’s Beth Mead, who finished in second place, did not make the list either due to her own ACL tear last November.

Asisat Oshoala made global headlines in Nigeria’s 3-2 upset win over Australia in the group stage of the World Cup on Thursday.

Oshoala came off the bench to score the decisive goal in the victory for Nigeria in the 72nd minute. She then channeled U.S. women’s national team legend Brandi Chastain’s iconic 1999 celebration by tearing off her jersey.

Who is Oshoala? Just Women’s Sports has the rundown.

Age: 28
Position: Forward
Nigeria debut: June 8, 2015
Total caps: 24

Who is Oshoala?

Oshoala is one of the most celebrated African players of all time. The 28-year-old forward for Nigeria and Barcelona was born in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria. Her parents did not approve of her playing soccer, and she had to sneak away when she played. She dropped out of high school at 15 to pursue the game.

She turned into one of her nation’s biggest stars and, with her goal on Thursday, became the first African player to score in three Women’s World Cups. She has won Africa’s Women’s Footballer of the Year a record five times.

“I want to make sure I fight for my teammates, fight for this badge. This is the best county in the world,” Oshoala said after the Australia win.

Where does she play professionally?

Oshoala joined Barcelona on loan in 2019, and then transferred to the team after the season. She has scored 95 goals for the club and helped lead the team to the 2019-20 Copa de la Reina and 2019-20 Supercopa de España Femenina championships.

Before that, Oshoala played for Chinese club Dalian Quanjian, Arsenal and Liverpool.

What does she bring to Nigeria?

Oshoala brings a wealth of experience, having played in three previous World Cups and served as captain of the 2019 team. She also led Nigeria to African Women’s Championships in 2016 and 2018.

She remains one of most Nigeria’s dangerous weapons despite starting the Australia game on the bench, a decision meant to manage her long-term leg injury, coach Randy Waldrum said. When she does play, she can provide instant offense.

“She’s such a force physically,” Waldrum said. “She can create problems — the third goal was massive. When we talked about her role — she’s like any player, she wants to be on all the time — I said, ‘I just have a feeling, come on for the last 30 minutes and make a difference.’”

What have coaches said about Oshoala?

Randy Waldrum, Nigeria coach: “When you think of African football, people think of Asisat, and she’s a big blend of a couple of great traits; she’s just a stud athlete, a big player, physically strong, fast, hyper-athletic, and she’s got a great soccer IQ.”

Jonatan Giráldez, Barcelona coach: “Attitude, desire, predisposition. Asisat was one of the most important players at the start of last year.”

Just Women’s Sports is here with your daily World Cup Digest, breaking down all of the biggest storylines from each day of action in Australia and New Zealand.

Today’s top World Cup news: Australia at risk of early World Cup exit

Sam Kerr’s status remains in doubt after Australia’s first two group-stage matches as she continues to nurse a calf injury. And with Mary Fowler and Kyah Simon also out of Thursday’s game against Nigeria, the African squad took full advantage in a 3-2 win.

While Emily van Egmond struck first to give Australia a 1-0 lead, Uchenna Kanu netted an equalizer five minutes later. From there, it was all Nigeria, with Osinachi Ohale and Asisat Oshoala also getting on the scoresheet. The end result? An impressive victory for Nigeria, and a precarious position for Australia heading into its final group-stage match.

With the win, Nigeria holds the top spot in Group B, followed by Canada. Both teams have four points, while Australia sits in third with three.

So the Matildas face a must-win match against Canada at 6 a.m. ET Monday if they want to advance to the knockout stage. The winner of that match would clinch a spot in the round of 16. If Canada loses, it would need Ireland to beat Nigeria in order to advance; if Australia loses, the Matildas are eliminated.

If Canada and Australia tie, then Canada would advance to the knockout rounds and Australia would need a Nigeria loss and a favorable tiebreaker in order to advance. Realistically, that sets up Monday’s clash as win or go home for the World Cup co-hosts.

Today’s top highlight: Lindsey Horan and Danielle van de Donk make nice

After a testy exchange during the U.S. women’s national team’s 1-1 draw with the Netherlands, Lindsey Horan and her Lyon teammate (but Netherlands foe) Danielle van de Donk made nice in the mixed media area.

The two nearly got into it during the match after van de Donk delivered a hard hit to Horan, after which the USWNT midfielder cursed her club teammate, calling her a “f—ing b—-.” Almost immediately afterward, Horan scored the game-tying goal, following Julie Ertz’s instruction to score and “shut everyone up.”

“I don’t think you ever want to get me mad because I don’t react in a good way,” Horan said. “Usually, I just go and I want something more. I want to win more. I want to score more. I want to do more for my team.”

“Between me and Lindsey, nothing happened,” van de Donk told reporters. “Someone got very angry at me!”

Even before the match, Horan expected her teammate to get chippy. But she didn’t mind it.

“You get trash talk every single day from Dan van de Donk,” she said. “And once we play them, you’ll see it. She’ll be coming for my ankles like every single play, so watch out for that. That will be fun.”

Today’s results:

  • USWNT 1, Netherlands 1
  • Nigeria 3, Australia 2
  • Portugal 2, Vietnam 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski defended his decision to use just one substitute in the 1-1 draw against the Netherlands. “I thought we had control of the game and we were knocking on the door of scoring a goal,” he said. “Our players played well. We were around the goal the whole time, and I just didn’t want to disrupt the rhythm.”
  • England manager Sarina Wiegman spoke Wednesday about her team’s “superpower” label ahead of their clash with Denmark. Denmark manager Lars Sondergaard gave that tag to England and called his own side “underdogs” ahead of the match, set for 4:30 a.m. ET Friday. When asked about the comments, Wiegman said she agreed with the label: “Yes, I agree with that, but of course he wants to put us in that position too. But we are always the team to beat.”
  • Colombia’s Linda Caicedo is reportedly “fine” after a scare during training, in which she was seen grabbing her chest and breathing deeply before lying down on the ground. The star played a key role in Colombia’s first group-stage win over South Korea, and the team next faces Germany at 5:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

The 2023 World Cup is almost here, and all 32 teams — from Argentina to Zambia — have released the 23-player rosters for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

A number of big-name players will be missing after a rash of ACL injuries hit women’s soccer, among them the USWNT’s Catarina Macario, France’s Marie-Antoinette Katoto, the Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema and England’s Beth Mead and Leah Williamson. But plenty of stars will have their chance to shine, from Australia’s Sam Kerr in her home tournament to Brazil’s Marta in her sixth and final World Cup.

Just Women’s Sports has a complete breakdown of all 32 rosters.

USWNT

Manager: Vlatko Andonovski
Key players: Naomi Girma, Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz, Crystal Dunn

The USWNT roster, announced on June 21, features some surprises and a plethora of newbies. Sophia Smith and Lynn Williams enter as the team’s two hottest forwards on a line anchored by veteran Alex Morgan. The back line will be missing Becky Sauerbrunn, leaving Naomi Girma to be the team’s defensive centerpiece in her first World Cup.

Link to full roster.

Argentina

Manager: Germán Portanova
Key players: Vanina Correa, Sophia Braun, Estefanía Banini, Paulina Gramaglia

Argentina will make its fourth World Cup appearance. The men’s team had a successful 2022, winning a World Cup title. The women’s team will be looking to advance to the knockout stage for the first time.

“It is a big inspiration, but the expectation is not the same,” striker Paulina Gramaglia told the Associated Press, comparing the objectives of Argentina’s men’s and women’s teams. “We don’t have the same foundation that they have, we are not seeking to win the trophy. We have our own goals and our context.”

Link to full roster.

Australia

Manager: Tony Gustavsson
Key players: Sam Kerr, Ellie Carpenter, Caitlin Foord, Emily Van Egmond

World Cup co-host Australia named its final 23-player roster on July 3, led by all-time leading scorer Sam Kerr. The 29-year-old forward has scored 63 goals through 120 appearances for the Matildas.

The roster features a mix of veteran and youth experience, with Clare Polkinghorne the most-capped player at 156 appearances. Clare Hunt is the only player with less than 10 caps, as Australia opted for more experience in their home World Cup.

Link to full roster.

Brazil

Manager: Pia Sundhage
Key players: Marta, Kerolin, Debinha, Andressa Alves

Superstar Marta has been included on Brazil’s World Cup roster, overcoming a left knee injury that she continues to rehab. A six-time world player of the year, she’s been to five World Cup tournaments — and scored in all five of them. She’s the first player to do so, and could make it six this time around. Marta has said this will be her last World Cup.

She’s joined by Kerolin, who has been on a tear to open up the NWSL season, as well as Debinha and Andressa Alves. There are a number of newcomers, with 11 of Brazil’s 23 players having never played in a World Cup. Star striker Cristiane, who has 11 World Cup goals, was not called up.

Link to full roster.

Canada

Manager: Bev Priestman
Key players: Christine Sinclair, Kailen Sheridan, Vanessa Gilles, Jordyn Huitema, Sophie Schmidt

Defending Olympic gold medalist Canada is led by captain and all-time leading international goal scorer Christine Sinclair. The team has had a tough start to the year, having threatened a boycott of Soccer Canada due to funding issues and pay disparity. While an interim deal was reached, the issues remain.

Canada also will be without one of its stars in Janine Beckie, who tore her ACL in March during an NWSL preseason game. But they’ve got Kailen Sheridan in net and a number of threats that place them among the contenders to win the World Cup.

Link to provisional roster. Final roster is set to be announced July 9.

China

Manager: Shui Qingxia

Key players: Wang Shuang, Shen Mengyu, Wu Chengshu, Wu Haiyan

China is let by captain Wu Haiyan into this year’s World Cup. They’ve played in every single World Cup but one, and haven’t not made it out of their group each time. They also finished runners-up in 1999 to the USWNT.

In 2019, they finished in the Round of 16, their worst-ever finish, and have had a rough go of it lately, losing 3-0 to Spain back in an April friendly.

Link to full roster.

Colombia

Manager: Nelson Abadía
Key players: Linda Caicedo, Daniela Montoya, Catalina Usme

Colombia is led by captain Daniela Montoya and leading-scorer Catalina Usme into the 2023 tournament. This will be their third World Cup appearance, which includes a Round of 16 finish in 2015.

Link to full roster.

Costa Rica

Manager: Amelia Valverde
Key players: Raquel Rodríguez, Lixy Rodríguez, Priscila Chinchilla

Costa Rica announced its provisional roster on June 7, although as head coach Amelia Valverde said, it’s not a definitive list. She is willing to call other players into camp if necessary. This will be Costa Rica’s second World Cup appearance after the squad made its first in 2015.

The roster is headlined by Raquel Rodríguez, who plays for the NWSL’s Portland Thorns. Rodríguez is Costa Rica’s leading goal scorer with 55 goals in 100 international caps.

Link to provisional roster.  The final 23-player roster is expected at the beginning of July.

Denmark

Manager: Lars Søndergaard
Key players: Signe Bruun, Sofie Junge Pedersen, Pernille Harder, Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen

Denmark is led by captain and all-time leading scorer Pernille Harder. Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen, who is third all-time, was also named to the roster. Denmark is making its first World Cup appearance in 16 years, with its last coming in 2007.

The team is without Nadia Nadim due to injury but has newcomers who could make a splash, including Josefine Hasbo and Amalie Vangsgaard.

Link to full roster.

England

Manager: Sarina Wiegman
Key players: Lucy Bronze, Rachel Daly, Mary Earps, Millie Bright, Alessia Russo

One of the World Cup favorites, England in particular has been hobbled by injury, with Mead and Williamson both set to miss the World Cup with ACL tears. Fran Kirby will also miss the World Cup due to injury. In Williamson’s place, Bright has been named captain of England’s World Cup team.

Not all hope is lost for England, as Russo, Beth England and Daly have stepped up their scoring in 2023, which could fill the holes that Williamson and Mead will leave.

Link to full roster.

France

Manager: Hervé Renard
Key players: Wendie Renard, Kadidiatou Diani, Eugénie Le Sommer

On July 4, France named its final 23-player roster. Les Bleus have faced turmoil in recent months, with women’s national team coach Corinne Diacre fired due to a “fracture” in her relationship with players.

Marquee players, including Wendie Renard, Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani, all said in February that they would not play with the national team until the team’s issues were resolved. Following the firing of Diacre and the hiring of Hervé Renard, Wendie Renard returned to the team. She and Diani are including on the provisional roster, as is top scorer Eugénie Le Sommer.

Katoto, though, will miss the World Cup with an ACL injury.

Link to full roster.

Germany

Manager: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg
Key players: Lena Oberdorf, Lina Magull, Alexandra Popp, Lea Schüller

Another World Cup favorite, Germany’s World Cup provisional roster features 20 of the 23 players that helped the team finish as runner-up at last year’s Euros tournament.  Giulia Gwinn and Linda Dallmann were not named to the roster due to injuries, while Almuth Schult is missing due to pregnancy.

Alexandra Popp, one of the team’s best players, will feature as captain and is also one of the top international scorers.

Link to provisional roster. The final 23-player roster will be announced later in June.

Haiti

Manager: Nicolas Delépine
Key players: Roselord Borgella, Batcheba Louis, Nérilia Mondésir, Kethna Louis

Haiti announced its preliminary roster on June 15, with just one player having over 20 international appearances. This is largely a roster with youth, including a number of American college athletes and French clubs.

Link to provisional roster.

Ireland

Manager: Vera Pauw
Key players: Katie McCabe, Denise O’Sullivan, Sinead Farrelly

Sinead Farrelly is among the ranks of the Girls in Green, joining Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan on the roster.

Farrelly stepped away from the game in 2016 after experiencing sexual abuse at the hands of her coach. She made her return to the sport in 2023, playing for NJ/NY Gotham FC in the NWSL and making her first appearance for Ireland back in April.

Link to final roster.

Italy

Manager: Milena Bertolini
Key players: Cristiana Girelli, Barbara Bonansea, Elena Linari

Italy announced its 23-player squad on July 2, with a number of veteran and youth players. Two have no international appearances, while another pair have just one. But they’re joined by a number of veterans, including seven who have over 50 international appearances.

Link to full roster.

Jamaica

Manager: Lorne Donaldson
Key players: Khadija Shaw, Jody Brown, Allyson Swaby, Kiki Van Zanten

Jamaica’s World Cup squad features a number of professional and college stars. But the team has called out its national federation for its lack of support, and one of the players’ mothers has started a GoFundMe in order to get supplies and necessities for the World Cup.

Still, this is an exciting team, and one that could surprise in the group stages. Star forward Khadija “Bunny” Shaw is no stranger to scoring against some of the world’s best and has done so 56 times through 38 caps with Jamaica.

Link to full roster.

Japan

Manager: Futoshi Ikeda
Key players: Jun Endo, Maika Hamano, Yui Hasegawa, Hina Sugita

The last team to beat the USWNT at a World Cup, 2011 champion Japan announced its 23-player roster on June 13,  headlined by Yui Hasegawa.

“We will fight for the top spot with great ambition,” Japan coach Futoshi Ikeda said in Japanese. “But the level of (women’s) football in the world is improving very rapidly.”

Angel City FC forward Jun Endo made the team despite a recent knee injury. She scored in Japan’s 3-0 win against Canada in February at the SheBelieves Cup, but she saw plenty of room for growth in the losses to the USWNT and Brazil during the same tournament.

“We have to make every single game count and those mistakes can’t be happening,” she told The Athletic.

Notably, Mana Iwabuchi, who has played in three straight World Cups for Japan, was absent from the roster. Ikeda said he appreciated her “passion” but did not go into specifics on her omission.

Link to full roster.

Morocco

Manager: Reynald Pedros
Key players: Ghizlane Chebbak, Rosella Ayane, Fatima Tagnaout

Morocco named its 28-player preliminary roster on June 19. The team will make its World Cup debut this year, featuring in Group H alongside Colombia, Germany and South Korea. Led by captain and leading scorer Chizlane Chebbak, Morocco brings a mix of youth and veteran talent Down Under.

Link to provisional roster.

Netherlands

Manager: Andries Jonker
Key players: Lieke Martens, Jill Roord, Daniëlle van de Donk, Sherida Spitse, Stefanie van der Gragt

The runner-up from the 2019 World Cup, the Netherlands looks a little different this time around. Then-manager Sarina Wiegman now coaches for England, while star player and top scorer Vivianne Miedema will be out of the World Cup after tearing her ACL in December.

After a bit of turmoil over the past year, Andries Jonker has taken over as head coach and will face a tall task in a group that features the USWNT, who beat the Dutch squad in the 2019 championship match.

Link to full roster.

New Zealand

Manager: Jitka Klimková
Key players: Ali Riley, Hannah Wilkinson, Grace Jale, Annalie Longo

World Cup co-host New Zealand announced its 23-player roster, as well as three reserve players: Ava Collins, Meikayla Moore and Kate Taylor. Ali Riley leads the squad as captain, with Ria Percival — the Ferns’ most-capped player — as vice captain.

A total of 10 players will make their World Cup debut at home.

Link to full roster.

Nigeria

Manager: Randy Waldrum
Key players: Asisat Oshoala, Michelle Alozi, Onome Ebi

Nigeria brings a number of veterans but also a number of new faces with them Down Under.

Asisat Oshoala is one of the biggest stars on the squad, with 29 goals for the Super Falcons since her debut in 2013. There’s also a number of familiar faces for NWSL fans in Uchenna Kanu (Racing Louisville FC), Ifeoma Onumonu (Gotham FC) and Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash). This will be Nigeria’s first major tournament under head coach Randy Waldrum.

Link to full roster.

Norway

Manager: Hege Riise
Key players: Caroline Graham Hansen, Ada Hegerberg, Maren Mjelde

Norway’s 23-player roster is led by Ada Hegerberg and Caroline Graham Hansen. Maren Mjelde is the most-capped player on the squad, with 165 international appearances.

This will be Hegerberg’s first World Cup since 2015, as she stepped away from the national team in 2017 as a form of protest due to how the Norwegian Football Federation treated women’s soccer. As a result, she missed the 2019 World Cup. She ended her exile in March 2022, however, and will complete her comeback with her World Cup return.

Link to full roster.

Panama

Manager: Ignacio Quintana
Key players: Riley Tanner, Lineth Cedeño, Marta Cox

Panama will make its World Cup debut this year, going up against Brazil, France and Jamaica in Group F. The roster has limited international experience, with no players having more than 20 appearances. They’re led by Marta Cox and Lineth Cedeño, who are the team’s top scorers.

Link to full roster.

Philippines

Manager: Alen Stajcic
Key players: Hali Long, Quinley Quezada, Sarina Bolden

In total, 29 players were named to the provisional roster, including co-captains Hali Long and Tahnai Annis. Moving to No. 46 in the latest FIFA world rankings, it’s the highest-ever ranking that the Philippines has ever had.

The Filipinas are set to play against Switzerland, New Zealand and Norway in Group A. This will be their first World Cup appearance.

Link to provisional roster. The final roster will follow.

Portugal

Manager: Francisco Neto
Key players: Jéssica Silva, Carolina Mendes, Carole Costa, Diana Silva

Portugal is in its first-ever World Cup and will be playing in a tough group that features the Netherlands and the USWNT. But veteran presence mixed with some youth firepower could make Portugal a sneaky opponent in the group stage.

Link to full roster.

Spain

Manager: Jorge Vilda
Key players: Alexia Putellas, Aitana Bonmati, Irene Paredes, Jennifer Hermoso

Three of the 15 players who had refused to compete under coach Jorge Vilda starting last September have returned to the national team as part of the provisional World Cup roster for Spain. Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey and Ona Batlle have all been named to the 30-person squad.

Also returning is Alexia Putellas, who had been out with an ACL tear since last July. The two-time reigning Ballon d’Or winner returned to FC Barcelona in late April.

Sandra Paños, Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro were among the 12 protesting players still absent from the squad. Some players do not believe enough has been done to address their complaints, ESPN reported.

Since the 15 players removed themselves from consideration last September, Spain has played nine matches, winning seven — including a 2-0 victory over the USWNT in October. Putellas, Irene Paredes and Jenni Hermoso had all voiced their support for the 15, although they never made themselves unavailable for selection; all three appear on the provisional roster.

Spain announced its final roster on June 30, with a number of youth talents, including Salma Paralluelo, who at 19 has five goals through six international appearances. In total, nine players have 10 caps or less.

Link to full roster.

South Africa

Manager: Desiree Ellis
Key players: Hildah Magaia, Sibulele Holweni, Linda Motlhalo, Noko Matlou

The 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations champions are led by Desiree Ellis. Racing Louisville’s Thembi Kgatlana is the lone NWSL player on the squad.

A relatively young squad, a few university players are in the mix. Notably, former captain and most-capped player Janine van Wyk is absent from the provisional roster due to injury.

Link to full roster.

South Korea

Manager: Colin Bell
Key players: Cho So-hyun, Park Eun-sun, Ji So-yun, Lim Seon-joo

South Korea’s 23-player roster includes a number of veterans, but also its first American-born player in Casey Phair. She’s the first player of mixed heritage to represent South Korea on a national soccer team, and at 16 years old, also the youngest.

Both Ji So-yun and Cho So-hyun have 144 international appearances apiece, and have 66 and 25 international goals, respectively. They’re protected by goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi, who has 135 international appearances.

Link to full roster.

Sweden

Manager: Peter Gerhardsson
Key players: Magdalena Eriksson, Sofia Jakobsson, Nathalie Björn, Fridolina Rolfö

Young talents Matilda Vinberg and Rosa Kafaji were left off the Swedish roster, but Rebecka Blomqvist and Sofia Jakobsson made the cut. And Carolina Seger will play in her fifth World Cup despite struggling with knee injuries over the last year.

Captain Madgalena Eriksson will feature in her second World Cup and San Diego Wave FC’s Jakobsson in her fourth. Sweden finished in third place at the 2019 tournament.

Link to full roster.

Switzerland

Manager: Inka Grings
Key players: Noelle Maritz, Lia Wälti, Ana Maria Crnogorčević, Ramona Bachmann

Switzerland’s roster announcement may have been the best one yet, if not the best one period. Let by Lia Wälti, the squad boasts Ramona Bachmann from PSG and Ana Maria Crnogorčević from Barca as its leading scorers. Goalkeeper Gäelle Thalmann leads the squad in net.

16-year-old Iman Beney was selected to the squad, just three days after making her senior national team debut, but ruptured her ACL during training.

Link to full roster.

Vietnam

Manager: Mai Duc Chung
Key players: Phạm Hải Yến, Huỳnh Như, Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung

Vietnam called 28 players into camp as it prepares for its first World Cup appearance.

Captain Huỳnh Như leads the squad with 67 goals in 72 international appearances. She’s joined by Phạm Hải Yến, who has 39 goals in 66 appearances. The squad features a multitude of experience, with 14 of the 23 players having at least 25 international appearances. Of those 14, 11 have more than 30.

Link to full roster.

Zambia

Manager: Bruce Mwape
Key players: Barbra Banda, Agness Musesa, Grace Chanda

The Copper Queens will make their World Cup debut in 2023 after being one of the first women’s national soccer teams to form in Africa in 1983. Zambia is the first team from a landlocked nation in Africa to qualify for a senior World Cup, men’s or women’s.

Barba Banda has been a force for Zambia, with 22 goals in 10 international appearances, and will look to continue her success on the World Cup stage.

Link to full roster.