NJ/NY Gotham FC has acquired forward Kumi Yokoyama in a trade with the Washington Spirit. In exchange, the Spirit will receive Gotham’s fourth round draft pick in next year’s NWSL College Draft.

“Kumi came to us and we had a conversation about doing what was best for their future. Kumi has been an incredible human to have in our club and they will be greatly missed,” said Spirit head coach Kris Ward. “While it is always tough to part with a player, we understood that Kumi wanted to do what was best for their career moving forward and we honored that.”

Last season, Yokoyama made 12 regular season appearances for the Spirit. In the 2020 Fall Series, they scored the team’s Goal of the Year in a 1-0 win over then-Sky Blue FC.

In June of 2021, Yokoyama came out as transgender, just the second NWSL player to do so.

The announcement made waves in women’s soccer, and was even recognized by President Joe Biden on Twitter.

“We are delighted to bring Kumi to Gotham FC,” said Gotham head coach Scott Parkinson. “They are a quality footballer that has represented their country at the highest level on the international stage and are also an NWSL champion. Kumi is a technician on the ball and extremely flexible in the midfield and across the front-line.

“Aside from football, Kumi brings a bubbly and positive personality to locker room that we want and celebrate here. I am very excited to get them here and into training right away.”

Yokoyama’s departure opens up an international roster spot on the Spirit, who now have three available.

Washington Spirit and Japan forward Kumi Yokoyama came out as a transgender man on Sunday. 

In a video posted to Yuki Nagasato’s YouTube channel on Sunday, Yokoyama said they were encouraged to tell their story after spending time living in the United States and Germany. 

Soon after, the Washington Spirit posted in support on Twitter.

A member of Japan’s 2019 World Cup team, the 28-year-old revealed in the video that they had undergone top surgery at the age of 20 and will have further surgeries upon retirement from playing. 

“Coming out wasn’t something I was enthusiastic about,” Yokoyama, who uses they/them pronouns, said in the video. “But if I think about my life going forward, it would be harder to live closeted, so I found the courage to come out.”

They added that seeing Canada and OL Reign midfielder Quinn tell their story also encouraged them to come out. 

“[Quinn] wore a [sweatshirt] that said ‘Protect Trans Kids’ before a game, and I realised that it was what taking action looks like,” Yokoyama said. “To be able to accept people you have no relationship with, that’s the kind of person I would like to become and I hope we can create that society.”