Lynn Williams played hero on Wednesday night, helping Gotham to its first win over the Houston Dash since May 15th, 2021.

Coming in the eighth minute, the forward's goal was all it took for the Bats to ink the 1-0 victory. It was also her 78th across all NWSL competitions, landing her neck-and-neck with former Chicago Red Star Sam Kerr for the most career goals in league history.

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"Wow, that’s really cool. To have my name there with Sam Kerr is amazing. But I don’t get that goal, I don’t get those things, without my teammates," Williams said of her accomplishment.

Williams' effort also marked the team’s 300th club goal across all competitions. 

"I think the players executed the game plan almost to perfection," echoed Gotham head coach Juan Carlos Amorós after the match. "I am very, very proud of how they’ve been able to perform like that in such a shorter space of time."

The goal was Williams’ second in as many games, giving her two goals through five matches played this season. Gotham will next travel to San Diego to face the Wave at Snapdragon Stadium on Sunday.

After an illustrious career for both club and country, Gotham FC and U.S. Women’s National Team defender Kelley O’Hara announced today via Kelley on the Street that she will be retiring from professional soccer at the end of this year, making the 2024 NWSL season her last.

"I have always said I would play under two conditions: that I still love playing soccer, and if my body would let me do it the way I wanted to," O’Hara told Just Women’s Sports in the lead-up to her retirement announcement. "I realized a while back that I was always going to love it, so it was the physical piece that was going to be the deciding factor."

The 35-year-old will retire as a two-time World Cup champion, an Olympic gold medalist, and at least a two-time NWSL champion, depending on where Gotham finishes this season. Her legacy as a player is hard to fully encapsulate, and will forever run through some of the biggest snapshots in USWNT and NWSL history. 

In 2012, O’Hara played every minute of the USWNT’s Olympic gold medal run, after having recently converted into a defender. Her soaring goal off the bench in the 2015 World Cup semifinal is the stuff of legend. And her return from lingering injury to play in every knockout match of the national team’s 2019 World Cup win cemented a storybook international career. 

It was O’Hara who scored the overtime goal in 2021 to earn the Washington Spirit their first-ever NWSL championship, and O’Hara who returned to help see Gotham earn a title in 2023 after years spent in the trenches with the club’s previous iteration, Sky Blue. Her 15-year career spanned two professional women’s soccer leagues in the U.S. (she earned her first professional title in 2010 with WPS’s FC Gold Pride), as well as sweeping changes to the sport both on and off the pitch.

O'Hara celebrates after scoring the winning goal for the Washington Spirit at the 2021 NWSL Championship match in Louisville, Kentucky. (Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports)

On the field, O’Hara has always been known for a motor that never quits, making the right flank her domain in attacking possession and defensive transition. In recent years, she’s also been celebrated for a competitive fire that raises the level of her teammates, whether she’s in the starting XI or supporting from the bench.

But injuries take a toll, a reality not always seen by the fans watching from home. "I've never taken anything for granted, and I feel like I've never coasted either," O’Hara said of her late-career success in the NWSL despite battling injuries. "I've always been like, 'I gotta put my best foot forward every single day I step on this field' — which is honestly probably half the reason why I'm having to retire now as opposed to getting a couple more years out of it. I've just grinded hard."

Recently, O’Hara has been sidelined at Gotham with ankle and knee injuries, and the situation motivated her to really prioritize listening to her body. "To get injured and come back, and get injured and come back, and just keep doing it, it really takes a toll on you.

"People don't see the doubt that's associated with injury,” she continued. "As athletes we feel a certain way, we perform a certain way, our body feels a certain way, we're very in tune with our bodies. And there's always so much doubt surrounding injury. It’s like, 'Can I feel the way I felt before?' The reality is sometimes you don't."

O’Hara didn’t arrive at the decision to move on from her playing career lightly. But once she began seriously considering making 2024 her final year during the last NWSL offseason, it felt right. "Once I was like, 'Alright, you know what, this will be my last year,' I have had a lot of peace with it," she said. "Truly the only thing I felt was gratitude for everything that my career has been, all the things I've been able to do and the people I've been able to do it with."

She said she’ll miss daily interactions with her teammates and all the amazing memories they’ve created, though she feels lucky to have formed relationships that go beyond sharing a locker room. "You're basically getting to hang out and just shoot the shit with your best friends every day," she reflected. "Which is so unheard of, and I just feel very lucky to do it for so long."

O'Hara poses with USWNT teammates Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath after winning the 2015 Women's World Cup in Vancouver, Canada. (Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The Stanford graduate also mentioned that the NWSL’s suspension of regular season play in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic made her realize how much playing allowed her the space to simply be creative every day. The tactical elements of soccer provided O’Hara an outlet for problem solving and made use of her naturally competitive edge.

She’s now gearing up to channel her on-field intensity into her post-playing career full time, which is a new chapter she’s excited to begin. "I don't know if the world's ready for it, like the fact that I'm not going to be putting all of my energy into football all the time," she said with a laugh. 

O’Hara said she would like to stay connected to the game in some fashion, whether it be as an owner, coach, or member of a front office. She’s also interested in the growing media space surrounding women’s sports, having provided on-camera analysis for broadcasters like CBS Sports in addition to starting a production company with her fiancée.

"I just feel like I have a lot of passions, and things that excite me," she says. "And I do want to stay as close as I can to the game, because I feel a responsibility — and I'm not sure in what capacity — to continue to grow it."

O'Hara speaking with fellow USWNT members and vets at the White House Equal Pay Day Summit in 2022. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

A sense of responsibility to grow the game has been a consistent refrain for the USWNT and NWSL players of O’Hara’s era, who ushered in a new age of equal pay for the national team and collectively bargained protections for those in the league. The landscape for new players looks different than it did 14 years ago, in large part due to this pivotal generation.

"I feel an immense sense of pride around that, because I don't know if any of us knew that was gonna happen," she said. "We kind of, as things unfolded, took the next step towards changing what women's football looks like in this country and around the world.

"I'm really grateful to have been part of this era with the players that I was [with], not backing down and pushing and knowing that was the right thing to do."

Whatever the future holds, O’Hara is going ahead full throttle. It’s a piece of advice she’d also give to the next generation of professionals looking to make their own impact.

"Whatever you do in life, do it because you love it, and the chips will fall in place," she said. "If you love something, you're willing to do what it takes. You're willing to make the sacrifices, you're willing to handle the roller coaster.

"To me, it's simple. Don't do it for any other reason but that, and I think you'll be alright."

For the first time ever, NWSL teams will play in South America.

NJ/NY Gotham FC and Racing Louisville will participate in The Women’s Cup in Colombia, with doubleheaders scheduled for Feb. 27 and March 2. Both NWSL teams will be joined by América de Cali and Deportivo Cali, winners of two of the last three Liga Femenina Profesional championships.

“The Women’s Cup Colombia provides an invaluable competitive opportunity for us to face high-level opponents in true game scenarios,” said Gotham FC general manager Yael Averbuch West in a press release. “As we fine-tune our chemistry heading into the regular season, we look forward to meeting new opposition in addition to exposing both the players and the club brand to new audiences and experiences.”

It’s the first time in history that two NWSL teams will compete against two South American clubs. It’s also the first time that the Women’s Cup will be played in South America.

Three more Women’s Cup tournaments are planned in 2024, with the others yet to be announced. Summer events in the United States and Europe are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Reigning NWSL champion Gotham FC will kick off the tournament against Deportivo Cali on Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. ET. Racing Louisville will play América de Cali at 8 p.m. ET.

Losers of those games will play a third-place match at 5:30 p.m. ET on March 2, while the winners will play in the tournament final at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Racing Louisville has played in the Women’s Cup before, having won the first edition of the tournament in 2021. They beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the championship match. Other teams to have won the event are OL Reign (2022) and Atlético Madrid (2023).

Reigning NWSL champions Gotham FC are adding to their remarkable free agency haul, announcing the signing of World Cup champions Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett on Thursday.

Sonnett and Lavelle are the third and fourth USWNT mainstays to sign with the New Jersey club this year after midfielder Crystal Dunn and defender Tierna Davidson also reached multi-year deals with the team. All four World Cup champions will remain with the club through 2026.

Both Lavelle and Sonnett join Gotham most recently from OL Reign, where Lavelle won an NWSL shield and both players reached the 2023 title game (losing in the championship match to Gotham.) 

“Rose is an amazing talent, and we are very excited to have her as a part of the club,” said Amorós in a team release. “She is a very exciting player to watch because of her creative and technical abilities.”

Sonnett is a two-time NWSL champion, first with the Portland Thorns in 2017 and the Washington Spirit in 2021. The 30-year-old flourished in 2023 after making a position change from center-back to defensive midfielder, becoming a USWNT starter at the position during and after the 2023 World Cup.

Both Lavelle and Sonnett are also well-known at the international level, winning the 2019 World Cup with the USWNT as well as a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. They join a stacked Gotham roster, which includes Spanish World Cup champion Esther, Lynn Williams, Midge Purce, Kelley O’Hara, Allie Long and more. The club finished a storybook “worst to first” run in 2023 behind a roster refresh and the clear leadership of manager Juan Carlos Amorós.

“We are incredibly excited to have two exceptional talents like Rose and Emily join the club,” Gotham general manager Yael Averbuch West said. “Rose is a crafty and entertaining player, and our fans and club will be very excited to watch her at Red Bull Arena, and Sonnett is a true professional and competitor, who understands what success in the league looks like. The club and our fans are extremely excited to have players of their stature as we build upon the success of last season.”  

The signings coincide with a Thursday morning announcement by the NWSL that the 2024 salary cap will be $2.75 million, almost doubling teams’ operating budgets from last year. The league is also slowly doing away with allocation money, which limited the flow and usage of funds despite not counting towards a team’s salary cap.

For fans trying to understand how Gotham could possibly afford to bring in four of the biggest stars in the league, the salary cap increase alongside a few big player departures might prove to be a big part of the puzzle. World Cup champion center-back Ali Krieger has retired, and star midfielder Kristie Mewis recently finalized a transfer to West Ham United in the WSL, with an immediate severing of her contract at Gotham. 

It’s possible that Dunn could slot into Mewis’s role, or the team will rethink the midfield with Lavelle as the primary playmaker and Sonnett as a defensive midfielder. 

Long, who most recently came off the bench in a No. 6 role, is currently an unrestricted free agent out of contract with the team, as well as veteran midfielder McCall Zerboni.

Davidson will likely replace Krieger at center-back, who retired at the end of 2023. She’ll slot into a backline that includes 2023 NWSL Rookie of the Year Jenna Nighswonger, rising Brazilian talent Bruninha, and Spanish international Maitane López.

No matter how Gotham lines up on the field in 2024, all four signings should be considered a historic high in the league’s young history with free agency, only in its second year. The era of the NWSL superteam might be upon us, and all roads are leading to New York.

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.”

USWNT superstar and three-time NWSL champion Crystal Dunn has signed with reigning champions Gotham FC, at long-last playing club soccer near her childhood home of Long Island.

Dunn is the first high-profile signing in just the second year of NWSL free agency, after announcing at the end of the 2023 season that she’d be stepping away from the Portland Thorns. She joins an already stacked roster that includes multiple NWSL and World Cup winners, fresh off the club’s first Championship title.

“Crystal is an exceptional player who can play anywhere at any time and have an incredible impact on the game,” Gotham head coach Juan Carlos Amorós said in a team release. “We are excited to have a player of her quality join us for this upcoming season as we look to continue to build upon the success of last season.”

An established winner with awards too plentiful to list in full for club and country, the 31-year-old had many factors to consider when making a decision where to pursue the next chapter of her career.

Reports in the offseason linked a “significant offer” of up to $400,000 a year from the Orlando Pride to the midfielder, as well as interest from both Gotham and the Washington Spirit. Gotham’s vision and the pull of home won out, with Dunn signing on in a multi-year deal through 2026.

“I’ve worked extremely hard in my career, [and] getting a really good contract is something that I’m like, ‘Yeah, I truly deserve it. I’ve won a lot in this league, I have been successful, I’ve competed at the highest level,’ Dunn told Just Women’s Sports prior to Sunday’s announcement. “But I also know that I am a mom, I’m a wife, I have so many things that matter to me along with being successful and winning and helping teams win.”

“It really came down to that,” she continued. “It was kind of like, I’m either going back home, or I’m still going to be a nomad and I’m going to be far away and see my family once or twice a year.”

While this is her first foray into NWSL free agency, Dunn has never been afraid to make those necessary nomadic journeys to be happy in her club environment. Drafted by Washington in 2014, she made the jump to Chelsea FC in England in 2017, and then returned to the NWSL the following year through a trade between the Spirit and the North Carolina Courage.

She then requested a trade to Portland in 2020 to be near husband Pierre Soubrier, a trainer with the Thorns at the time (Soubrier was fired from his position in early 2023.)

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Dunn most recently won an NWSL Shield and a Championship title with the Portland Thorns (Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports)

Dunn is keenly aware of the NWSL’s history of strict rules that impact player agency.

“I was very fortunate in my career where, if I wanted to change or wanted to make a move, I was able to kind of fall into the place that I ultimately want to play. And I know that that’s not the reality for a lot of players,” she says.

She notes how rare it is for players who fight for progress to reap the benefits while they’re still playing, something she’s grateful for. “I’m such an advocate for free agency, because players should have leverage, they should have some control and some say over where they want to go.”

“And they should be able to say that ‘Hey, I’m a good player, and I know I can help this organization, so give me a try.’”

Dunn also had a little bit of fun with the process, participating in the 2023 NWSL Skills Challenge prior to the Championship game as an unattached free agent, joking that she was “looking for a job.” But the decision to make the announcement that she’d be leaving the Thorns long before she’d made her final decision on a new club came from a more serious place: wanting to say goodbye.

“That moment is special in its own, and I think it allowed my fans to kind of hear me and hear that message loud and clear from me, versus getting it heard from the club,” she said. “So I think I’m happy I did it the way that I did, because I also think I wasn’t completely certain where I wanted to go just yet.”

Now with her attention fully focused on New Jersey, Dunn mentions that showing up in a new environment for the first time always feels a little bit like being the new kid at school, but she won’t be lacking for friendly faces. 

She’s joining USWNT teammates Lynn Williams and Midge Purce, as well as former Portland teammates Abby Smith and Yazmeen Ryan and former North Carolina teammate Taylor Smith, among others. Her USWNT connections could run further still, as reports have also connected free agents Tierna Davidson, Emily Sonnett, and Rose Lavelle to advanced talks with Gotham.

Numerous connections gave Dunn peace of mind when making an estimation of the club’s locker room culture, only further punctuated by their Championship win in 2023. She says she spoke with Williams as well as recently-retired Gotham captain and close friend Ali Krieger.

“Getting some of those answers I think really helps me be like, ‘Alright, you guys seem to really love being here,” she says. “You seem to love the environment, you love the leadership, the culture, and those are things that really matter.”

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Dunn will be reunited with former North Carolina and current USWNT teammate Lynn Williams at Gotham (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

With the culture already established, Dunn can now focus on a new challenge on the field. It’s well known in women’s soccer circles that she is one of the most versatile players in the sport, playing outside-back for the USWNT while shifting in multiple midfield and forward roles for her various clubs. Dunn says she hasn’t spoken in detail with Amorós about where she’ll fit in his system (though the recent departure of midfielder Kristie Mewis to West Ham might provide a hint.)

The midfielder thrives the most when able to get close to the opposition’s goal, whether in a box-to-box role in the midfield or as more of an attacking playmaker. But Dunn says early conversations with the coaching staff have focused on her fit in the squad as a person first, and carrying those principles into her role in the locker room and on the pitch. 

“The most successful teams I’ve been on are the teams that I’m like, ‘Yeah, we are talented,’ but it really is about that mentality of — are you willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win?” she says. “Talent is great, but how well do you guys play together? How well do you guys read each other?”

With one of her biggest decisions yet now behind her, Dunn is looking forward to the chaos the NWSL will continue to bring in 2024. Two new expansion sides joining the league, there’s expected player turnover at numerous clubs, and Gotham now setting themselves up to push to turn a Championship into a dynasty. Now in her 10th year in the league, Dunn simply can’t wait to get started.

“Honestly, to be fair, every year so crazy and wild,” she says. “And every year I’m excited, because there’s going to be something wild and crazy every single step of the way.”

U.S. women’s national team midfielder Kristie Mewis is officially headed to East London to play for West Ham. 

Mewis and Gotham FC mutually agreed to part ways on Dec. 22, per a statement from the NWSL club.

“Gotham has been the most rewarding community to be a part of for the last two years and will always hold a special place in my heart,” Mewis said in the press release. “I’m full of gratitude knowing the future is bright and I was able to be part of it. And most importantly, I’ll never forget our first championship, together.”

Mewis joined Gotham in 2021 and she appeared in 39 games for the team, netting four goals in her two seasons. 

Mewis’ move comes after her engagement to Chelsea star Sam Kerr. In the USWNT’s new Netflix documentary, “Under Pressure,” Mewis and Kerr discussed their long-distance relationship and how the wished they lived closer to each other. Now, with both stars in London, they can.

West Ham released a statement pertaining to Mewis’ signing on Dec. 22. Mewis stated it was a “dream come true” for her to play in the Women’s Super League. 

“When I visited London for the first time, I went to my first football match at Upton Park. The culture and energy of West Ham captivated me straight away and nothing has ever lived up to that moment – it was one of the happiest days of my life,” Mewis said in the release. 

“It feels like I have come full circle from that moment and it’s incredible to now be officially part of the West Ham family. I will work hard, try to lead by example and give everything for this badge.”

Kristie Mewis is headed to England.

As first reported by Meg Linehan and Charlotte Harpur of The Athletic, Mewis will join Women’s Super League club West Ham when the January transfer window opens. The move for the 32-year-old U.S. women’s national team midfielder is set to be officially announced later this week.

Mewis has spent most of her career in the NWSL, including time with FC Kansas City, the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars and Houston Dash before she landed at Gotham FC in 2022. She won an NWSL title with the club in 2023.

This will be her second stint in Europe, as she spent a year on loan at Bayern Munich in 2015-16. She’s also made 53 international appearances with the USWNT, including making her first World Cup roster this summer.

Mewis’ move from the NWSL to the WSL frees up roster space for Gotham, and it also moves her to London, where her fiancée Sam Kerr plays for Chelsea. Mewis has spoken previously about not wanting to do long distance with Kerr, including in the new USWNT documentary “Under Pressure.” West Ham sit second from the bottom in the WSL table in the 2023-24 season.

A number of USWNT stars have been linked to Gotham FC in free agency, including midfielders Rose Lavelle, Emily Sonnett and Crystal Dunn and defender Tierna Davidson.

Gotham FC is headed to Times Square for New Year’s Eve.

Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara and Midge Purce are set to lead the 60-second countdown into 2024. The NWSL champions will be recognized as the official special guests for the famed celebration in New York City.

As part of the countdown, the trio will push the crystal button set on the main stage in Times Square, which will start the ball drop.

Krieger, O’Hara and Purce join an annual tradition for New Year’s Eve that dates back to the mid-1990s. Previous special guests include former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Lady Gaga and Muhammad Ali.

“As we bring 2023 to a close, we are excited to welcome the city’s newest champion – NJ/NY Gotham FC – to our global celebration,” said Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance. “There is no better place and no bigger party to celebrate NJ/NY Gotham FC than Times Square New Year’s Eve.”

Jeff Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment, which helps to put on the event, said they are “proud” to honor Gotham FC and the club’s first NWSL championship.

“The team serves as an inspiration for hard work and perseverance and their positivity and energy will carry with us into 2024,” he said.

The ball drop continues what has been a star-studded championship tour for Gotham FC, which has included ringing the opening bell on Wall Street and making an appearance on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live.”

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.