The NWSL offseason is heating up, with the second year of free agency underway.

Portland Thorns veterans Crystal Dunn and Becky Sauerbrunn are among testing the market, with Dunn confirming she will not return to Portland in 2024. And Gotham FC is deep in negotiations with several U.S. women’s national team stars.

Dec. 21: Bay FC signs Sharples; Louisville signs Marisa Viggiano

NWSL clubs continued to make deals ahead of the holiday weekend. Bay FC signed defender Kayla Sharples, while Racing Louisville signed midfielder Marisa Viggiano, with both players getting two-year deals. Sharples played for the Red Stars in 2023, and Viggiano played for the Dash.

Dec. 21: Houston will make Fran Alonso next head coach

Alonso, who is in his fourth season with Scottish Women’s Premier League club Celtic FC, will become the head coach of the Dash for the 2024 NWSL season, per a report from The Equalizer.

Celtic FC holds a 14-1-1 record so far this season, and Alonso has led them to two Scottish Cup and two Scottish League Cup victories.

Dec. 20: Sarah Gorden re-signs with Angel City FC

The 31-year-old defender, who joined the Los Angeles club via trade ahead of the 2022 season, has signed a three-year contract through the 2026 season with a mutual option for 2027, Angel City FC announced Thursday.

While Gorden missed the 2022 season with an injury, she played a crucial role as Angel City clinched its first playoff appearance in 2023.

Dec. 20: Casey Krueger nears deal with Washington

The 33-year-old defender plans to sign with the Spirit, The Athletic’s Meg Linehan reported. She would reconnect with her Mark Krikorian, who coached Krueger at Florida State and now is the general manager for Washington.

Injuries kept Krueger out of her first two NWSL seasons in 2013 and 2014. She played for Norwegian team Avaldsnes IL in 2015, then joined the Chicago Red Stars in 2016. She has made 110 appearances across six seasons for the club, though she sat out the 2022 season due to pregnancy. Krueger also has made 42 appearances for the USWNT.

Dec. 20: Kristie Mewis set to leave Gotham for West Ham

The 32-year-old USWNT midfielder will join Women’s Super League club West Ham when the January transfer window opens, as first reported by Meg Linehan and Charlotte Harpur of The Athletic. The 32-year-old U.S. women’s national team midfielder won the 2023 NWSL title with Gotham FC.

Dec. 20: Thembi Kgatlana departs Louisville for Liga MX

The 27-year-old forward is leaving Racing Louisville for Liga MX’s Tigres UANL for a six-figure transfer fee. Reported by The Athletic to be $275,000, the fee is the second-highest in NWSL history for a player departing for a foreign club, Racing Louisville noted in a news release.

Kgatlana, who also plays for the South Africa women’s national team, joined Racing Louisville via transfer in July 2022. But she did not debut for the club until 2023 after tearing her Achilles tendon in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.

“We want to wish Thembi all the best as she takes on a new challenge in Mexico,” Racing general manager Ryan Dell said in the news release. “Naturally we are disappointed to lose such a talented player who is a great presence in our locker room, but we had extensive discussions with Thembi and completely respected her desire for this move.”

Dec. 20: Savannah McCaskill set to join San Diego Wave

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder, who has played for Angel City since 2022, is set to join the rival Wave in free agency, as reported by The Equalizer.

In two seasons in Los Angeles, McCaskill contributed 11 goals and five assists in 43 games. Before joining Angel City, she played for Gotham FC, the Chicago Red Stars and Racing Louisville in the NWSL, plus a short international stint with Sydney FC in Australia.

Dec. 20: Red Stars hire Lorne Donaldson as head coach

Donaldson, who becomes the third head coach for Chicago since the 2021 season, coached the Jamaica women’s national team to the Round of 16 at the 2023 World Cup.

He also is president of elite youth club Real Colorado, where he helped to develop USWNT star forwards Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson. Swanson is expected to re-sign with the Red Stars in free agency this offseason.

Dec. 19: Gotham FC is linked to several USWNT stars

OL Reign midfielders Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett, Portland Thorns midfielder Crystal Dunn and Chicago Red Stars defender Tierna Davidson all have been linked to Gotham FC in free agency, per reports from The Athletic and The Equalizer.

All four players won the 2019 World Cup with the USWNT and would make a splash for the 2023 NWSL champions.

Dec. 18: Bay FC sends Ellie Jean to Racing Louisville

Jean, along with the No. 28 and No. 42 overall picks, was traded from Gotham FC to Bay FC ahead of the NWSL expansion draft. Then Bay FC sent Jean to Racing Louisville in exchange for $40,000 in allocation money.

Louisville previously acquired Gotham’s draft picks from Bay FC in exchange for $130,000 in allocation money to Bay as part of a three-team agreement.

“We could not be more excited to add Ellie to our club,” Racing general manager Ryan Dell said in a news release. “Her experience, professionalism and work ethic will elevate our back line for years to come.”

Dec. 18: North Carolina and Sean Nahas agree to contract extension

The Courage signed their head coach to a three-year contract extension, which will keep Nahas in North Carolina through 2026, the club announced Monday.

Nahas has led the team to a 29-17-21 (W-L-D) record across all competitions since he took the helm in October 2021, including two Challenge Cup titles in 2022 and 2023.

“There is work to be done from top to bottom and I will do my part in making this club the best it can be,” Nahas said in a news release.

Dec. 18: Houston signs Maria Sánchez to record contract

The Houston Dash have made Maria Sánchez the NWSL’s highest-paid player, the Wall Street Journal and the Equalizer reported Monday. The 27-year-old forward has signed a three-year deal with a fourth year option worth nearly $1.5 million total, per the reports.

“Houston, I am so excited to be coming back. I am so privileged to represent such an amazing city and group of fans,” Sánchez said in a news release.

Dec. 17: Utah deals Elyse Bennett to San Diego

Just two days after selecting Bennett from OL Reign in the NWSL expansion draft, the Utah Royals sent the 23-year-old forward to the San Diego Wave for $40,000 in allocation money.

In her two NWSL seasons, Bennett already has played for two different clubs, for the Kansas City Current in 2022 and OL Reign in 2023. Across those seasons, she has appeared in 42 matches, including in the last two NWSL championship matches.

“We are excited to welcome Elyse Bennett to the Wave,” San Diego general manager Molly Downtain said in a release. “She is a young and dynamic player that is a threat in the attacking third and is an important addition to the team as we continue to build for the 2024 season.”

Dec. 17: San Diego reacquires Sierra Enge

“Hometown kid is staying home,” the Wave posted on social media Sunday after trading to keep Enge in the fold.

Bay FC had selected the 23-year-old midfielder, who is from the San Diego area, in the Friday’s expansion draft. The club then traded her to the Houston Dash for $50,000 in allocation money, and the Dash flipped her back to the Wave in exchange for midfielder Belle Briede, a third-round pick in the 2024 draft and $60,000 in allocation money.

Dec. 15: Bay FC and Utah select seven players

The two incoming clubs selected seven total players in the expansion draft ahead of the 2024 season.

Bay FC acquired five players through the draft, including Alyssa Malonson from OL Reign, Tess Boade and Katelyn Rowland from North Carolina and Rachel Hill and Sierra Enge from San Diego.

The Royals selected just two players: Elyse Bennett from OL Reign and Paige Monaghan from Racing Louisville.

Dec. 13: Angelina signs with Orlando Pride

The former OL Reign midfielder, who entered the offseason as a restricted free agent, has agreed to a three-year deal with Orlando, the club announced Wednesday.

“Angelina was a priority free agent target for the Club because her spatial awareness, creativity, and ball control in build-up play are exactly what we look for in our midfielders,” Pride general manager Haley Carter said in a news release. “We’re confident she’ll thrive in our performance environment, and we consider ourselves fortunate to help her continue her growth and development here in Orlando.”

Angelina appeared in 28 matches through three seasons with OL Reign. The 23-year-old also was a member of Brazil’s 2023 World Cup roster.

Dec. 13: NWSL teams ready for expansion draft

A number of NWSL clubs made deals to protect their roster from the expansion draft for Bay FC and the Utah Royals, which is set for 7 p.m. ET Friday on CBS Sports Network.

Trades included Gotham FC sending goalkeeper Mandy Haught to the Utah Royals in exchange for draft protection and $150,000 in allocation money, as well as the Portland Thorns sending Emily Menges to Bay FC in exchange for draft protection and $75,000 in allocation money.

Seven clubs enter the draft with total expansion draft protection:

  • Angel City FC
  • Gotham FC
  • Houston Dash
  • Kansas City Current
  • Orlando Pride
  • Portland Thorns
  • Washington Spirit

Racing Louisville has protection from only Bay FC, while the North Carolina Courage and San Diego Wave have protection from only the Utah Royals. OL Reign and the Chicago Red Stars do not have any expansion draft protection.

The five teams subject to the expansion draft released their lists of protected and unprotected players. Each team could protect up to nine players from their roster, with the rest eligible for selection.

Dec. 7: Utah Royals sign former San Diego Wave defender Madison Pogarch

Free agent defender Madison Pogarch has signed with Utah Royals FC.

The team announced the signing on Thursday, which will include the 2024 and 2025 NWSL seasons. Pogarch is a former defender for the San Diego Wave and Portland Thorns, having played in 36 games over the last five seasons.

“I’m very excited for this day to arrive, it’s been in the works for a bit and to have it finally come together is a nice early Christmas present,” said Pogarch, who has won Shields in 2021 with Portland and 2023 with San Diego. “I was fairly new to the league when the Utah Royals were around before, but I remember playing against Amy; the passion she has for the game you can’t help but see it in how she played and now in everything she does.

“Nothing about this setup feels like an expansion team to me, as everyone I’ve talked to around the team is ready to hit the ground running, and that’s exciting.”

Utah is returning to the NWSL as a 2024 expansion team, alongside Bay FC. In a release, Pogarch noted that the fan response “from afar has been amazing” and she’s excited to be involved with the community.

“We continue to be so elated to give our players the opportunity to shine and grow as we establish the foundation here in Utah,” said URFC Sporting Director Kelly Cousins. “Madison’s effusive attitude has contributed mightily to winning atmospheres throughout her journey, and we look to her to help us create that positive, winning, supportive culture in our locker room, in training every day and in the community.”

Nov. 29: Imani Dorsey joins Utah Royals

The 2018 NWSL Rookie of the Year has joined the Royals in free agency, the expansion team announced Wednesday.

The 27-year-old forward has spent her entire career to this point in New York, having been drafted by Sky Blue FC in 2018 before the club was rebranded to Gotham FC. She played in 72 games for the club, though she sat out the 2023 season to focus on her mental health.

“When I heard about URFC return, I was intrigued about the possibility of playing here,” Dorsey said in a news release. “I came into the league in 2018, so during those first few seasons, traveling to Salt Lake City, this was a place I was very excited to experience. From the outside looking in, the amenities this club built up for women’s soccer was to be admired – setting the league standard even then.”

She also called the vision for the new iteration of the Royals “so inspiring.”

“I am very excited to help grow Utah’s soccer culture,” she continued. “That’s one of the joys of being a professional, to being a part of the energy and the emotion of the crowd, the community, inspiring the next generation. I cannot wait to dive head-first into the Utah experience.”

Nov. 21: Caprice Dydasco signs with Bay FC

The 2021 NWSL Defender of the Year, Dydasco became the second player on Bay FC’s inaugural roster and the expansion team’s first free-agent signing. The 30-year-old comes to Bay FC from the Houston Dash.

“A highly technical and intelligent footballer, Caprice’s ability to impact play in the final third and create goalscoring opportunities make her one of the most exciting and productive attacking fullbacks in the league,” Bay FC general manager Lucy Rushton said in a news release.

Nov. 21: Michele Vasconcelos signs with Utah

The first official free agent signing of the offseason, the 29-year-old midfielder departed the Portland Thorns to return to Utah on a two-year deal. She had requested a trade to the previous iteration of the Royals in 2020, but soon after the trade, the team folded and Vasconcelos and other players were transferred to the expansion Kansas City Current.

“As I come back to Utah, for sure excitement is my main feeling, but I’m also feeling a ton of relief – I was devastated when the team left three years ago,” she said.

Nov. 20: Spirit exercise option on Trinity Rodman

The Washington Spirit exercised the 2025 option on the 21-year-old forward’s contract. They also exercised the 2026 options on the contracts of goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury and midfielder Andi Sullivan.

Nov. 20: San Diego Wave trade Kaleigh Riehl

San Diego sent Riehl to the expansion Utah Royals. In exchange for the 27-year-old defender, the Wave received expansion draft protection from the Royals, plus $60,000 in allocation money.

Nov. 19: Nadia Nadim will not re-sign with Louisville

The 35-year-old forward announced her decision to leave Racing Louisville in free agency in an Instagram post.

“It’s been a blast. No not really, but it’s been cool,” Nadim wrote. “Lovely teammates & amazing fans is what’s kept me going during these quite challenging 2.5 years.”

Nov. 14: Kansas City sends Alex Loera to Bay FC

The Kansas City Current sent defensive midfielder Alex Loera to Bay FC in exchange for $175,000 in allocation money and protection in the upcoming NWSL expansion draft.

Bay FC and the Utah Royals will have the opportunity to select up to 12 players through the 12-round expansion draft. While the Current are protected from Bay FC, the Royals still could select from the Kansas City roster. Teams can protect up to nine players from the expansion draft.

Nov. 14: Orlando deals out of expansion draft

The Orlando Pride acquired expansion draft protection and $90,000 in allocation money from the Utah Royals exchange for midfielder Mikayla Cluff and the No. 26 pick in the 2024 college draft.

On Nov. 13, the Pride already had acquired expansion draft protection from Bay FC, trading a first-round draft pick (No. 8 overall) in the 2024 draft in exchange for $50,000 in allocation money and draft protection from the San Francisco Bay Area club.

After years of waiting, and then an extra week’s delay, the NWSL finally debuted Wednesday in the popular “FIFA 23” video game. But almost immediately, NWSL players began to voice their displeasure with their digital likenesses.

Angel City FC forward Sydney Leroux called out the game regarding her player avatar and those of other players. And while she injected humorous disbelief into her critiques, she made clear that the issue cuts deeper than surface-level jokes.

“I know you expect women to just be thankful and grateful that you’ve given us a little sliver of publicity but please stop wasting our time,” Leroux tweeted. “Some of us are bald.”

The bald player included in Leroux’s post seems to be Canada women’s national team goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan — who at least sports her usual full head of hair in her San Diego Wave avatar, if not in her Canada avatar, as she noted on her own Twitter account.

Leroux’s Angel City teammate Madison Hammond also took issue with her representation in the game.

“Somebody please lmk when they find me, Madison Hammond #99 from Angel City!” she tweeted. “Because this … is simply not it!”

Houston Dash defender Caprice Dydasco posted a photo of herself alongside a screenshot of her avatar to present a stark comparison.

“I’m grateful EA Sports is finally including the NWSL but this does not represent me,” she tweeted.

Dydasco is among a small group of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander players in the NWSL, which makes her avatar even more disappointing.

With so few AAPI players in the league, “it’s really important to be that much more thoughtful and deliberate about appearances,” The Athletic’s Steph Yang tweeted.

Incongruous avatars and player ratings can leave NWSL players feeling like they remain on the outskirts of the soccer community, despite what has been marketed as a milestone for inclusion.

“When EA Sports didn’t put me in the top 10 for speed I was mad but I was like eh we will show them,” Angel City FC defender Sarah Gorden tweeted. “But when they gave me a 48 rating in speed I realized they have never and will never actually watch a NWSL game.”

Reigning NWSL Defender of the Year Caprice Dydasco is on her way to Houston.

On her 29th birthday, Dydasco was dealt to the Dash by Gotham FC in exchange for $120,000 in allocation money. For each postseason game the defender plays for the Dash, Gotham will receive an additional $10,000, up to a maximum of $30,000.

“We are excited to have Caprice join us in Houston and are thrilled that she wants to be a part of this project,” Dash president Jessica O’Neill said. “Her commitment to the vision of the Dash will be vital in our success. We are looking forward to the experience and leadership Caprice brings as we continue to push toward our first playoff appearance in club history.”

Not only the 2021 Defender of the Year but also a member of the league’s Best XI, Dydasco signed a two-year contract with Gotham FC in January.

So far this season, she’s started in 13 games for 11th-place Gotham, notching 29 clearances, eight blocks and seven interceptions. She also holds a 75 percent success rate in tackles and a 71.5 percent success rate in passes.

Dydasco missed Gotham FC’s 2-1 loss to the Dash on Wednesday, which ended her club-record streak of 54 consecutive regular-season appearances. In total, Dydasco appeared in 71 games for Gotham.

“Caprice is an extremely talented player and an even better person,” Gotham FC general manager Yael Averbuch West said. “She gave everything she had to this team and played a massive role in the transformation of our club. We are so thankful for her contributions and wish her nothing but success in Houston.”

She joins a Houston team that sits second in league standings with 28 points and a plus-10 goal differential. The Dash have gone undefeated in their last five and have not lost a game since July 8.

Houston could take over the top of the league standings with a win against third-place San Diego at 10 p.m. ET Saturday, and Dydasco is expected to be available for the match.

Caprice Dydasco has signed a two-year deal with NJ/NY Gotham FC, keeping her with the club through the 2023 season.

“It’s a great day for our club,” said Head Coach Scott Parkinson. “Caprice was lights out last year and very important to our team on and off the field. We are so excited to have her back!”

Dydasco had a breakout season for Gotham FC in 2021, earning NWSL Defender of the Year honors. Appearing in every match for Gotham, she logged a team high 2,073 minutes across 24 regular season matches.

On the backline, Dydasco completed 62.7 percent of her tackles and finished the season with a 79.8 percent passing accuracy. On average, she completed 57 passes per match and collected a team high 49 interceptions. Additionally, Dydasco finished third overall on the league leaderboard in assists with five.

“I’m happy to sign and return back to Gotham FC this season,” said Dydasco. “I’m looking forward to building off of last season both on and off the field. I believe we have a special group of players, staff, and ownership to make this year really great.”

Gotham has been busy this offseason, adding veteran star goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger in a deal with the Orlando Pride. In a trade with San Diego, the club acquired Kristie Mewis. Additionally, they named Yael Averbuch West as general manager.

Gotham FC’s Caprice Dydasco has been named the 2021 NWSL Defender of the Year.

Dydasco anchored Gotham’s defense this year, starting all 24 games during the regular season, recording a career-best five assists and scoring the first goal of her NWSL career. She was a big reason Gotham conceded just 21 goals this season, four behind the league-leading Portland Thorns, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NWSL playoffs, where they lost to Chicago 1-0.

The 28-year-old registered 49 clearances and 49 interceptions during the season, leading all defenders in both categories. Dydasco also won more than 60 percent of her tackles and completed nearly 80 percent of her passes. Her efforts landed her on the NWSL Team of the Month five times, more than any other player in the league this season.

Dydasco also was lethal on the attack, connecting on 56 passes across 25 games and finishing second among defenders in assists. Her first-career goal came on June 20 in Gotham’s game against the Orlando Pride.

Dydasco becomes just the fifth player to be named Defender of the Year, following the Portland Thorns’ Becky Sauerbrunn in 2019.

Chicago Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden placed second in voting, while Portland’s Emily Menges was third, North Carolina’s Carson Pickett fourth and OL Reign’s Alana Cook fifth.

Was it a shot, or was it a cross, or was it a “shross”?  No matter how you define it, Caprice Dydasco’s hybrid finish was a thing of beauty.

In the 45th minute of Gotham FC’s game against the Orlando Pride, Dydasco deployed a clever overlapping run into the box to launch the ball toward the far post, tucking in the back of the net behind Ashlyn Harris. The go-head finish was Dydasco’s first NWSL goal.

Gotham’s 1-0 advantage lasted until the 90th minute of the match when the Pride’s Courtney Petersen sent a looping ball of her own past the gloves of Kailen Sheridan to equalize seconds before the end of regulation.

The Pride’s dramatic finish preserves the team’s unbeaten record. Orlando remains atop the NWSL standings with 12 points, while Gotham slides into the fourth slot with eight points.

Caprice Dydasco is a defender for Sky Blue FC of the NWSL. In the lead-up to the Challenge Cup, she tore her ACL in training and had to miss the tournament. She recently sat down with Just Women’s Sports to talk about her injury, documenting her recovery on social media, and the success of the NWSL’s Challenge Cup.

Can you talk us through your recent ACL injury?

So this injury happened on June 1st. It was our second week back to training after quarantine and it was just a freak thing. The sprinklers went off at training, so we stopped working. When we continued, I went in for a tackle and my back foot slipped because it was a little slippery, and as I tried to recover, I just heard my knee buckle. It was my third one [ACL tear], so I heard the pop and I tried to be in denial for a little, but as I was walking off the field it just gave out. Right then I knew that I had torn my ACL again.

Luckily, I was able to get diagnosed quickly with a torn ACL and MCL and within two weeks I was able to get surgery. I then stayed in New Jersey and New York for two weeks before coming back home to Hawaii.

I’m now six weeks out of surgery and I’m feeling really good. My physical trainer here has been really happy with my progress, and throughout this recovery, I’ve been keeping in touch with the team and our staff. I’m making really good progress and my goal is to be back for 2021.

This unfortunately isn’t the first time you’ve torn your ACL, so when this happened again, you already knew what it was?

Yeah. Every athlete’s nightmare is hearing that sound and after hearing that pop twice before, I was like, “There’s no way this is ever going to happen to me again.” It’s really strange because every single time it has happened, I’ve felt the best I’ve ever felt physically – just super in shape, playing really well, playing the best I’ve ever played – and it’s always something you just cannot prepare for.

As soon as you hear that noise, you just know right away. You go into waves of denial, of like, “Oh, I didn’t tear my ACL. Maybe it’s just a hyperextension,” and then you go to walk and your knee gives out. Then the roller coaster of emotions hits you until you finally get your MRI back, and then you’re like, “Okay, at least I know for a fact that this is what it is.”

Do you approach this injury the same way as the previous two? 

So the first two, I tore just my ACL. This time around, I tore my ACL and MCL, so it was a little bit longer of a process to recover because it takes a longer time to heal. With just a torn ACL, you start doing rehab right after surgery, but for a torn MCL you have to be a little bit more tender with it.

Knowing this, as soon as I hurt my knee, I knew that I had to be strong going into surgery because that helps the recovery after surgery. I also knew that I had to start bending my knee right after surgery. So my slight experience in this field definitely helped some of those little things, plus knowing how to prepare mentally for surgery. For this third one, I’m like, “All right. It is what it is. Let’s just do it.”

2020 has been a pretty wild year. Has quarantine affected your recovery at all?

I would say it’s a little bit more normal now than when quarantine first started during preseason. I think back then it was harder because we needed to physically go out and train and be around the team and stuff, but rehab is a very individual thing, So I’m able to do that on my own and I’m very lucky that physical therapy is considered “essential” because it’s open and I have full access to it.

I have a really good relationship with my physical therapist and I’ve been seeing him since I was 12. So I’m able to go in every day and he’s able to give me everything that I need. I also got really lucky with surgery because at the time of my tear, the hospital had just reopened the week before. So they were able to fit me in in the middle of this pandemic and all of the testing going on.

What has a typical day in Hawaii been like? That doesn’t seem like the worst place to be stuck during all this.

Honestly, I would’ve rather been in Utah. But I’m lucky that my family and my parents are very supportive of me and they’re always here in Hawaii, so it’s really not a bad place to be for recovery.

Every morning I wake up, have breakfast, coffee, and then I’ll go to PT. I’ve also been trying to spend time with my grandparents and my family as much as I can while I’m here, so I’ll go to lunch with my grandparents. Typically, I go to the beach in the afternoons just for a little swim and then have dinner with my friends or my family. So it’s very chill when I’m home. There’s not much that’s open, but it’s been nice. Since quarantine, I’ve become a professional chiller.

We’ve seen a side of your recovery on the Instagram Account @ScarredTogether. Can you talk to us about this organization and what it’s like to go through the injury process with 4 other NWSL athletes?

So, Jordan Angeli is the founder of The ACL Club, and I’ve known her for a few years. She’s always been super supportive and as soon as I tore my ACL again, my agent and I jumped on a call with her to discuss documenting my recovery while using my platform on the ACL Club’s account.

So that’s how it all started. I was the first one to tear my ACL, but as soon as the tournament started, unfortunately, there was one tear after another, after another. When you tear your ACL, you just have this weird bond with each other because you’re going through the same issues and you all have this scar to show for it. When you’re an athlete, you just put so much work in, and then when it happens, it’s so devastating.

Jordan and I talked about how amazing it is for athletes to bond together during these circumstances and we wanted to show other people what we’re going through. This platform allows us to collaborate with so many other people going through all kinds of injuries and I think it’s really cool to see that we all go through the same struggles, same downs, and same ups. Hopefully, we can help each other out through this whole process and go tackle obstacles together. Eventually, I would love to organize something where we have Instagram Lives and have people ask questions about anything – physically or mentally. I want to use this platform as an open and safe space for people to be vulnerable and share their thoughts.

Shifting gears to NWSL Challenge Cup, what was the team’s mindset going into that? 

At the beginning of quarantine, we were all just training on our own at home and it was hard because we thought this was going to be a week or a month-long thing. We’d get workouts weekly and the staff would say like, “Okay, maybe another month of this.”

It was hard to stay motivated during this whole process, leading up to July, but eventually, we heard from the league about this potential month-long tournament. That’s when the buzz started to go around and there were plenty of mixed emotions. We’re in the middle of a pandemic and they’re asking us to go somewhere remote for a month and we had no idea what the health risks were and no clue where we were going to live.

Even with these mixed emotions, I think our staff did a great job in relaying all the information needed to make sure we felt prepared and comfortable way before anyone was to step foot in Utah.

What were your thoughts on how the league handled this return?

Lisa Baird, our commissioner, did an amazing job of making sure that all the players were involved in the decision making. They ran a bunch of surveys and league calls to make sure that everyone felt comfortable and all of our questions were answered before heading there.

So it was a really good combination of everyone’s input of what needed to be done for everyone to feel safe. And once the girls got there, they told me that the bubble felt really safe and secure.

It takes the whole league’s effort to make something like this work. Everyone involved was fully invested in following all of the rules, and I think that’s why it worked out so well.

How do you think your club, Sky Blue FC, fared throughout it all?

I was just so bummed the way it ended. I felt like if they had just five more minutes, they would’ve tied it up. But it’s encouraging and awesome that we feel this way – that we’re very disappointed in not making it to the finals. We just know the potential of this team and where we can go and it’s going to be exciting for everyone to come back, be hungry again and bring that same attitude and that feeling from losing into next season.

Looking ahead, what are some of your goals as you prepare for your 7th NWSL Season in 2021?

At the beginning of this season, I finally got a hold of the league and my style of play. I just felt really good. This year, I know my body’s a little older, so I just want to listen to it and take this recovery day-by-day. I know I don’t have to rush because time is on my side, but I would love to just work on just feeling strong.

And then once I’m ready to start playing again, I just really want to focus on working from the ground up. This isn’t a make-or-break year for me, but I’d rather not have people consistently bring up that I tore my ACL last year. I would want them to focus instead on how hard I worked this offseason.

Ultimately, I’m really stoked to just be around the team and get going again.