Alyssa Naeher exited the Chicago Red Stars game early on Sunday with an apparent injury.

After making a recovery run in the second half of Chicago's 3-1 win over the Utah Royals, the 36-year-old walked off the pitch limping but unassisted in the 62nd minute. She was replaced by backup keeper Mackenzie Wood.

Red Stars head coach Lorne Donaldson didn’t offer an update on the star goalkeeper's status in his postgame interview.

"No [update], I'm leaving it to the pros — the medical staff — so I don't know what's going on yet," he said.

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While the injury is bad news for Chicago, who currently sit fifth in the NWSL table, it’s also potentially troubling for the UWSNT's Olympic prospects. Naeher, a two-time Women's World Cup champion with the US, has served as the team's default starting goalkeeper for the last several years. 

Naeher is virtually a lock for the 2024 Olympics, should her injury not be too serious. But depending on its gravity, the knock could keep her out of a series of upcoming friendlies kicking off June 1st and 4th, Emma Hayes’ first as head coach for the USWNT. 

Also leaving her game with an injury on Sunday was Jaedyn Shaw, who limped off the pitch well into stoppage time in the Wave's 1-1 draw with Gotham FC. Shaw has recently emerged as one of the Wave's top strikers, making it all the more concerning if she ends up joining teammates Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma, and Abby Dahlkemper on the injured list. All four have played in recent camps for the USWNT.

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San Diego head coach Casey Stoney did not provide an update following Sunday's game, but noted that she thought Shaw had landed on her ankle. 

The 2024 Paris Olympics begins Friday, July 26th, with rostered players scheduled to appear in their final club matches in mid-July.

As the WNBA plans to implement league-wide charter flights, the NWSL is struggling with some travel issues of its own. 

Missed flights, inclement weather, and a stretch of midweek games have spurred workload and logistical concerns for a number of NWSL teams. Last week, three games were played Wednesday night, while another three games are set to be played tonight. 

"You can't play your best XI right now because of the amount of games you have," said Red Stars head coach Lorne Donaldson after last Wednesday's 4-2 loss to Washington. Donaldson emphasized the importance of rotating through the team’s depth so as to avoid injury.

"You have to get to about 16 deep where you can," he continued. "Or else your best XI is going to be injured or walk off the field and they can’t finish the season."

Kansas City has faced some of the league's most extreme turnaround times this season. On Sunday, the Current missed an evening flight to Seattle due to a multi-hour rain delay in Houston, throwing off their training schedule ahead of their midweek match against the Reign. The NWSL eventually gave them the green light to charter a plane, but not before frustration spread throughout the team.

"We lost the whole day of the opportunity to recover," said Current head coach Vlatko Andonovski after the Current's weekend draw against the Dash. "So the schedule, it's already challenging to begin with. We have by far the worst schedule in the league, and this just made it even worse.

"We don't have a hotel, we got to figure out a hotel. We don't have flights for tomorrow, we got to figure out flights. We had trainings for some players that we believe needed training time to be able to perform on Wednesday.”

While the team was given permission to charter a plane, navigating such approvals has proven difficult in the past. This past July, the NWSL fined Kansas City $55,000 over the unauthorized use of a charter flight.

USWNT regulars Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson furthered their cases for Olympic inclusion with their respective club victories on Saturday and Sunday.

After a roller coaster of a week that saw former Thorns head coach Mike Norris reassigned and a flurry of last-minute roster reshufflings as Friday's trade window closure loomed, the NWSL sprung to life over the weekend with standout performances from ninth-place Portland and third-place Chicago, among others.

After her blocked attempt at goal set up a volleying sixth-minute opener from veteran Christine Sinclair — now the only player in history to record a goal in all 11 NWSL seasons — Smith swiftly netted her own in the 27th minute off a breakaway run that eluded Houston's backline. The goal represented Smith's third of the season as well as her 35th for the Thorns, ultimately leading to the home side's first win of the season in a 4-1 routing of the Dash.

But that wasn't Smith's only stat of the evening. The star forward also lapped former Chicago Red Star Sam Kerr to become the youngest player to reach 50 NWSL goal contributions across all games, chalking up 40 goals and 10 assists at the age of 23 years and 254 days.

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"Obviously it feels good to get a win," said Smith in a post-match press conference. "But this is the standard the Thorns have always had. So a win is great, but a win is the expectation — we're hungrier than ever after the way we started."

170 miles up the road, Lumen Field similarly showcased some promising Olympic prospect footwork on Sunday. In Chicago's 2-1 victory over the lagging 13th-place Seattle Reign, striker Mallory Swanson racked up an impressive counterattack assist on fellow forward Ally Schlegel's fourth-minute goal. Swanson went on to find the back of the net herself before halftime, lacing an explosive ball into the top corner in the 31st minute, her second of the season after returning from a lengthy sidelining injury.

Speaking of injuries, fellow USWNT favorites Alex Morgan and Tierna Davidson were not as fortunate as their national squad teammates this weekend. Each exited their club matches early, Morgan with an ankle knock in San Diego's loss to Orlando and Davidson with an apparent hamstring incident early on in Washington's win over Gotham.

For the first time in the NWSL's 12-year history, fans can now buy their own goalkeeper jerseys. And while replica goalkeeper jerseys representing all 14 NWSL teams hit the market on Wednesday, some didn't stick around for long. 

Fans across women's soccer have long vocalized their discontent over the position's lack of availability on social media, often comparing the shortcoming to the widespread availability of men’s goalkeeper jerseys. And as the NWSL has grown, so has demand — and not just from those in the stands. 

"To have goalkeeper kits available for fans in the women’s game as they have been for so long in the men’s game is not only a long-awaited move in the right direction, it’s just good business," said Washington Spirit goalie Aubrey Kingsbury in an team press release. "I can’t wait to see fans representing me, Barnie [Barnhart], and Lyza in the stands at Audi!"

Business does, in fact, appear to be booming. Alyssa Naeher’s Chicago Red Stars kit sold out less than three hours after the league's announcement. Jerseys for other keepers like DiDi Haračić, Abby Smith, Michelle Betos, Katelyn Rowland, and Bella Bixby aren’t currently available via the Official NWSL Shop, though blank goalkeeper jerseys can be customized through some individual team sites. Jerseys start at $110 each.

"This should be the benchmark," said Spirit Chief Operations Officer Theresa McDonnell. "The expectation is that all players’ jerseys are available to fans. Keepers are inspiring leaders and mentors with their own unique fan base who want to represent them... I can’t wait to see them all over the city."

Mallory Swanson has re-signed with the Chicago Red Stars on a record-breaking deal.

The free agent will remain in Chicago on a five-year contract, which is the longest in league history. And while the terms of the deal have not been disclosed, it’s also reportedly the largest in NWSL history.

“I am excited to be back with the Red Stars! These last few years have been such a blessing in Chicago, even with the ups and downs, and I can’t wait to be back,” said Swanson in a release. “I am looking forward to getting to work and helping the team win championships. See everyone soon!”

It’s the latest in what has been a number of record-breaking signings for some of the league’s best players. Previously, Maria Sánchez had signed the largest contract in league history in December, signing a three-year contract worth nearly $1.5 million with the Houston Dash. In 2022, Trinity Rodman signed a four-year deal worth $1.4 million with the Washington Spirit.

“The Red Stars could not be more excited that Mallory Swanson has decided to extend her career with us here in Chicago,” said Chicago Red Stars president, Karen Leetzow. “Mallory exemplifies the grit, focus and resiliency of our franchise and is an anchor for this team. Mal is a born leader on and off the field and I look forward to working with her to make the Red Stars a championship team.”

There had been reports that Swanson had intended to re-sign with the Red Stars, despite receiving significant offers from other clubs. Swanson has been the Red Stars’ primary offensive asset since she signed with the club in 2021. She began 2022 as such, scoring two goals for the Red Stars early in the NWSL season before tearing her patellar tendon in April 2023.

Swanson has been back training without any brace or support on her injured knee, indicating that she may be healed and ready to play by the beginning of the NWSL season in March.

She’ll do so with a new head coach, as the team’s new ownership group opted to hire former Jamaica national team manager Lorne Donaldson. He also was president of elite youth club Real Colorado, where he helped develop Swanson and fellow USWNT star forward Sophia Smith.

World Cup champion defender Tierna Davidson knows exactly what she’s going to miss about the city of Chicago. The 25-year-old is moving on from the Red Stars side that drafted her in 2019, as she joins reigning champions Gotham FC in a multi-year deal through 2026.

“Just in my head, like the perfect August, September evening in Chicago,” Davidson tells Just Women’s Sports days before her free agency announcement. “Where it’s like 70 degrees and you can walk around, and there’s a little bit of a breeze but it’s not too cold and it’s not too overrun by tourists.”

“Everyone’s just kind of there hanging out, and the sun still goes down late, being able to walk down Randolph Avenue or something and pop in and out of restaurants or bars, hanging out with my friends,” she continues. “I feel like that’s what I will just miss the most.”

Davidson was only 20 years old when she left Stanford a year early and was drafted by a Red Stars team stacked at the time with impressive talent like USWNT stalwart Julie Ertz, Japanese World Cup champion Yuki Nagasato, and Australian superstar Sam Kerr.

Chicago would reach a title game in the three years following Davidson’s jump to the pros, falling in the 2019 and 2021 NWSL championship games as well as the 2020 Challenge Cup.

Behind the scenes however Chicago would be revealed to be the picture of off-field dysfunction, with both head coach Rory Dames and Red Stars owner Arnim Whisler named in reports of misconduct starting in 2021. Dames was permanently banned from the NWSL in 2022, while Whisler agreed to sell the club, which eventually found new ownership in a group led by Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts.

As the Red Stars begin righting the ship under new management they’ve suffered a fair amount of roster attrition. The team’s struggles in 2023 following Davidson’s return from an ACL tear in part led to the defender missing a World Cup roster, a crucial setback for a versatile player that appeared to be on the fast-track at the international level.

Chicago finished the season last in the NWSL standings right before Davidson became an unrestricted free agent. Leaving teammates who had shaped the first five years of her career made moving on difficult, but Davidson also desired the opportunity to grow in a new environment.

“I think I’ve really been craving structure and a sense of security almost,” she says. “I think that with everything that’s happened at Chicago over the past years, that’s something that we’ve struggled to have there just because there’s been a lot of turnover, there’s been a lot of turmoil.”

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Davidson played in the 2021 NWSL Championship game as a member of the Red Stars defense (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Thus entered Gotham, once also a club struggling to emerge from the basement of the NWSL standings now assembling a super-squad after the team’s first championship win. Gotham has already announced World Cup champion Crystal Dunn as a major free agency signing, as well as having been linked to reported talks with Emily Sonnett and Rose Lavelle.

The coaching staff’s early conversations with Davidson gave her the confidence that not only would she be a good fit for the team, but that they’re invested in her necessary personal growth. With the USWNT entering a new era under manager Emma Hayes, a consistent return to the international stage could be determined by finding the right coaching staff to help her take strides forward.

“My first impression was we had a Zoom meeting, and the staff comes in so prepared, they have video, they have stats and analysis of me personally,” she says. “And to see that level of commitment for someone that’s not their player is really impressive, to know that they are not just kind of closing their eyes and pointing out a free agent.”

Gotham proved versatile themselves in 2023, with a sense of full-team defending leading to quick switches in possession based on the foundation of a bend-not-break defense. A big part of the latter’s success lay at the feet of departing captain defender Ali Krieger, who retired at the end of last year.

Davidson appears to be a natural personality to step in at center-back in Krieger’s absence. She’s demonstrated both ability to defend in space and to trigger the attack through combination play and long passes she can drop on a dime. “I played the [No.] 6 for longer than I played center-back, I miss playing it,” she says with a chuckle. “So I really do enjoy the times when the center-back is able to get into the attack a little bit and set play a little bit and [be] able to connect a bit with the attack.”

She notes an excitement to play with the clear style that head coach Juan Carlos Amorós has instilled in Gotham, laughing that she won’t miss having to face the team’s multi-pronged attack. “Just to know how fluidly he wants to play the game with the ideas that he has is really exciting, because that continues to push us as players if we’re having to solve different problems or look at different pictures and find different solutions.”

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Davidson will be rejoining USWNT teammates like Dunn, Lynn Williams, Midge Purce and more in New Jersey (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Davidson also noticed how often USWNT teammates spoke of their time at Gotham with a real sense of ease and positivity, bringing the team up unsolicited in natural conversation. This allowed her to observe without feeling like she had to ask too many questions as she tried to get a sense of the free agency market.

“The privilege of being in the national team environment is you get a little window into people’s environment even without having to ask,” she says. “Which is almost the best kind of form of analysis, just because it’s not like they’re trying to sell you on a team.”

A strong locker room culture supported by the entire organization is something that might be exactly what Davidson needs, as her obvious on-the-field goals for 2024 — to win trophies at both the domestic and international level — will need to start with a new sense of foundation beneath her feet.

“I think first and foremost, [next year is] really regaining a sense of joy in the game, a sense of confidence in the game,” she says. “Just like stepping onto the field and just knowing that this is where I belong, and this is what I’m meant to do.”

“I think that the process goals are really important to me at this point,” she continues. “I think I haven’t been able to achieve those process goals in the past few years. And I really am looking forward to getting back to that and to seeing that come to fruition in the game.”

Off the field, Davidson aims to find the perfect balance between the calm of New Jersey and the bustling city of New York. She’s also looking forward to have a chance to simply focus on the football.

“Something that I’ve yet to experience but I think would be helpful for me is to be able to have a bit of peace off the field,” she says. “I think Gotham will provide that for me — I’m hoping that can help me in many different ways both as a player, but also as a person.”

NWSL free agent Mallory Swanson will re-sign with the Chicago Red Stars, The Athletic reported Friday.

A spokesperson for the Chicago-based club confirmed that, although an offer is not final, Swanson plans to stay with the Red Stars. Though she received significant offers from other clubs, including Racing Louisville, Swanson wishes to continue playing in Chicago, according to The Athletic. 

Swanson has been the Red Stars’ primary offensive asset since her signing in 2021 and she began her most recent season as such. She scored seven goals in six appearances for the U.S. women’s national team and two early goals with Chicago, but Swanson ended up sidelined for the rest of the season after tearing her patellar tendon in April 2023.

On Oct. 15, Swanson posted pictures of herself training with the Red Stars with no brace or support on her injured knee — she may be healed and ready to play by the start of the next NWSL season in March. 

The Chicago club is undergoing many changes in 2023 and leading into 2024, including a new head coach, Lorne Donaldson, and a new ownership group, led by Laura Ricketts, part-owner of the Chicago Cubs, the team for which Swanson’s husband plays.

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.

Lorne Donaldson has been named the next head coach of the Chicago Red Stars, the club announced Wednesday.

Donaldson last coached the Jamaica women’s national team, leading them to the knockout stage at the 2023 World Cup in the team’s second appearance at the premier international tournament. Following the tournament, the Jamaican Football Federation said “both parties came to an agreement” for his departure.

The Jamaican coach is also president of elite youth club Real Colorado, where he helped to develop USWNT star forwards Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson. Swanson entered the offseason as a free agent but is expected to re-sign with Chicago, where she has played since 2021.

In October, the Jamaica Observer reported that Donaldson had turned down international offers and was opting to take a break from coaching national teams.

“I have turned down interviews but I won’t say which countries. But yes, that has happened,” Donaldson told the Jamaica Observer. “The plan is just to sit back, but I don’t know what I want to do from here. But, I am still coaching because I am still in charge of my club with 6000 kids in Colorado in the United States and so I am coaching every day.

“Coaching is always a part of my life. There is a lot of stuff that happened recently — not talking about Jamaica — but I didn’t want to be involved right now because I just want to just chill and do what I want to do just for a little while. … I have done it for a long time but I just want to just sit back and just still coach and still develop players, but just take it easy for a little bit.”

Donaldson is the third coach to lead the Red Stars since 2021 after disgraced head coach Rory Dames was banned for life by the NWSL for his alleged verbal abuse of players during his time with the club. Chris Petrucelli was appointed head coach in 2022, but the club parted ways with the coach before the conclusion of the 2023 season.

The 2023 season was a rough one for the Red Stars, with the club going on two separate four-game losing streaks and finishing at the bottom of the league table. Additionally, they were shut out in five of six Challenge Cup matches. A knee injury to star forward Mallory Swanson did not help.

In September, the club was sold to an investor group headed by Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts. The club was put up for sale by Arnim Whisler in the aftermath of the NWSL’s abuse scandal and his involvement in it.

“Lorne has a proven track record as a winning coach and an advocate for his athletes. We believe he has the experience and leadership skills to elevate our talented group of players,” Ricketts said in a news release.

Tierna Davidson is in advanced talks to sign with Gotham FC in NWSL free agency, The Equalizer’s Jenna Tonelli reported Tuesday.

Davidson, 25, is a star defender who has played for the Chicago Red Stars since 2019, when she was selected by the club with the No. 1 overall pick in the NWSL college draft.

A member of the 2019 World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team, Davidson has made 51 international appearances. She also has made 61 appearances for Chicago since 2019.

Davidson becomes just the latest USWNT player to be linked to Gotham FC in free agency. Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett also reportedly are in advanced discussions to join the reigning NWSL champions, and Crystal Dunn has been linked to the club as well.

The addition of Davidson would make sense for Gotham FC given the retirement of 2023 NWSL Defender of the Year nominee and captain Ali Krieger.