The Offseason, a reality series created by Gotham and USWNT star Midge Purce, has officially confirmed its streaming debut, Purce announced in Cannes on Tuesday.

The six-episode, half-hour docuseries will stream this summer on X, though a specific premiere date hasn't yet been set.

The Offseason was filmed in Miami, two weeks before the NWSL preseason. It's a crucial time for athletes, a period where they prepare to join their respective teams and compete for both starting and roster spots. Production designed all the facilities, bringing in top-tier trainers, masseuses, chefs, and gym equipment to create a high-level training environment, ensuring the players were in peak condition, per the show's release. Throughout filming, athletes lived together in one house — a reality TV conceit rife for entertainment.

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The series follows a number of NWSL stars, including Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Maria Sanchez (Houston Dash), Lo’eau LaBonta (Kansas City Current), Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash), Taylor Smith (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Nikki Stanton (OL Reign), Ally Watt (Orlando Pride), Taryn Torres (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Paige Nielsen (Angel City FC), and Ify Onumonu (Utah Royals).

"We wanted to create a series that truly captures the essence of what it means to be a professional athlete," said Purce. "This series has always been about more than just sports — it's about the human experience behind the athlete, as well."

The show promises a behind-the-scenes look at professional women's sports, teasing major life decisions, on-field tensions, and players taking stock of the environments they'll be entering once their preseason trip is over. The series delves into the real-life challenges faced by the athletes, including club trades, contract negotiations, burnout, and the relentless pressure from outsiders commenting on the players' personal lives.

The Offseason's official trailer, released on Tuesday, shows snippets of Hubly contemplating retirement, Sanchez joining the group after signing a high-profile contract, and a healthy amount of banter about on-field achievements.

The spirit of the series is reflected in its producers: Box To Box Films is known for their sports content (Drive to Survive, Break Point, Full Swing), whereas 32 Flavors is the creative force behind Vanderpump Rules and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The series was funded by Seven Seven Six, and executive produced by Purce.

After finishing in last place in their inaugural season in 2021, Kansas City rode the underdog mindset in 2022. Head coach Matt Potter and general manager Cami Levin Ashton made a few important tweaks to a young group in order to peak at the right time and make it all the way to the NWSL Championship.

In 2023, the underdog label is far behind the Current, who signed some of the NWSL’s biggest free agents in the offseason. With full buy-in from ambitious ownership, the Current have become one of the premier destinations for professional women’s soccer players in the U.S. in only three years. But after a successful 2022 season, how will the team’s chemistry withstand all the new additions?

2022 review: Underdog energy

The Kansas City Current of 2022 played a cohesive, sometimes chaotic style of soccer that other teams found difficult to break down. While they weren’t immune to conceding first, they almost always found a way to come back to challenge for a result.

The team played in an expansive 3-5-2 formation, with three center-backs behind a high-flying midfield that moved the ball quickly and found space for their attackers. A number of young and relatively inexperienced players helped reset the team’s culture, with key veterans like Lo’eau Labonta and AD Franch setting the tone.

The team committed to the grind of the NWSL season early on with a preseason process they’re using again this year. Labonta told reporters in February that the heavy lift days the team holds in Florida in the preseason are a “rite of passage” and that the time spent in camp set them in the right direction in 2022.

“Matt [Potter] has actually given credit to us being here and grinding here for why we’re able to make it so far in the league last year,” Labonta said. “I think it’s true.”

The Current ultimately finished fourth in the regular-season standings, a vast improvement from their league-worst finish in 2021. Their style of play proved perfect for the NWSL’s knockout playoffs, as they advanced past the Houston Dash and then Shield winners OL Reign. A collective never-say-die attitude took them all the way to the 2022 NWSL final, where their inexperience showed in a 2-0 defeat to a Portland Thorns team ready for the big moment.

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The Current made the biggest splash of free agency, signing midfielder Debinha. (Jaylynn Nash/USA TODAY Sports)

Offseason moves: Building a superteam

Rather than running it back with the benefit of hard-earned experience, the Current appeared unsatisfied with being runner-up. In the offseason, Levin Ashton took a clinical approach to push the roster to the next level, re-negotiating Sam Mewis’ contract as she continues to rehab her knee and abruptly sending Lynn Williams to Gotham FC in order to make room for other players.

The Current signed Vanessa DiBernardo and Morgan Gautrat away from Chicago, traded up for No. 2 draft pick Michelle Cooper and, most crucially, won the bidding war for Brazilian superstar Debinha. They’ve since also signed top Swedish outside back Hanna Glas.

Players have noted the club’s resources and facilities as some of the best in the world. But the decision to move Williams, in a trade the USWNT forward called “shocking,” also showcased the ruthlessness the team feels is necessary to improve in the long term.

Potter said he declined to bring non-roster invitees into Kansas City’s 2023 camp — reversing a common practice among NWSL teams — because making the 28-player roster (24 first-team and four supplemental) is going to be difficult enough for draft picks and other acquisitions.

“To be perfectly honest, there was an opportunity to bring in more players, but it would only be false hope for them,” he said. “Because the reality is to make this roster even with the players that we have here, it’s going to be super competitive.”

Early in preseason, Labonta wasn’t worried about the locker room being disrupted by big-name players.

“I actually had a meeting with Matt yesterday, and I was just saying that this team already, we have great human beings,” she said. “There’s not one bad person on this team.”

As for team rules, they’re keeping it simple: “Don’t be late, don’t leave your gear around. That’s literally it. That’s all that we have to enforce,” Labonta said.

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Lo'eau Labonta and the Current thrived on their team chemistry last season. (Amy Kontras/USA TODAY Sports)

2023 Outlook: Keeping the culture

While spirits are high in Kansas City, ambitious offseasons also present challenges in player management. Some players who carried the load last year were waived or traded in the offseason, and others who remain are going to see their roles on the team reduced when the roster is at full strength.

Even Labonta, one of the team’s breakout stars of 2022, has a new level of competition at her position.

“I think a lot of the people saw in the offseason signings, we signed about 12,000 midfielders — that’s my position — but it only makes it so much more competitive,” she said.

The team does have positional imbalances, having loaded up on central midfielders and wide defenders in the offseason. They lost defender Kristen Edmonds to free agency and will have to control games through the prowess of the midfield so they don’t get into high-risk shootouts. The Current should be well-positioned for the World Cup period — when they will be without Glas, Debinha and likely Franch — thanks to an influx of players who are used to participating in other teams’ systems and can get up to speed quickly.

No matter what, Kansas City players will be in fierce competition for playing time, with the hope that their deep midfield can score enough goals to compensate for vulnerabilities in the central defense.

“We talk often about competition being about striving together,” Potter said. “How can we, whoever’s out there, take the mantle of what we have as a team identity and express that for something bigger than ourselves?”

The NWSL has a history of the best team on paper not always being the squad that hoists the trophy at the end of the season. The Current are taking a very different approach than what worked for them last year, but if they can get the balance right, they might become unbeatable once the playoffs roll around.

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.

Losses can fuel fire.

And that’s what players on the Kansas City Current alluded to in their postgame press conference on Saturday. The Current lost in the NWSL championship 2-0 to the Portland Thorns.

“I don’t think anyone will sleep on this team anymore,” said Lo’eau LaBonta, alluding to the fact that not many put Kansas City in the championship game at the beginning of the season.

The Current went from last place in the league last season to the championship game this season. In the midst of that, the team rattled off a 13-game unbeaten streak. And that was without blockbuster off-season acquisitions Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams.

It’s been a long road, particularly for players like LaBonta who have been a part of the league for seven years. LaBonta, and teammate Desiree Scott, have traveled with Kansas City as the team traveled from there, to Utah, and back again.

On Saturday, LaBonta was adamant that Scott wasn’t allowed to leave during free agency. Nor was she allowed to cry.

“It hurts because Kansas City showed up for sure and we played for them,” LaBonta added, noting that the club has felt more support from the community this season.

For first-year head coach Matt Potter, who was nominated for Coach of the Year, the loss doesn’t mean the entire year was lost.

“Incredibly proud how far we’ve come in a small space of time,” Coach Matt Potter said. “This one’s going to hurt, but there’s much to smile about even in this moment.”

Lo’eau LaBonta has turned heads this season with her goal scoring abilities – and with the celebrations that come after.

The Kansas City Current midfielder went viral in August for what could have earned a celebration of the year award, if the NWSL had one. After burying the ball in the back net, she faked an injury before busting out a dance move. For LaBonta, that moment was about making soccer “a little more fun.”

“I just think it brings a fun challenge to a game that should be fun,” LaBonta told the Wall Street Journal on Friday ahead of her team’s appearance in Saturday’s NWSL title game against the Portland Thorns.

The fake injury idea came out of a dare, as someone challenged her to copy a similar celebration performed by a player in Argentina.

“I said, ‘Bet,’” LaBonta said.

Since then, she’s showed off high-kick dance lines, head-banging, air golf and more, earning the moniker “Celly Queen.”

Last week. the 29-year-old told On Her Turf that it can be difficult at times to come up with celebrations, particularly if she scores early in a game.

“I have scored so early in a few games this year, I’ve done my celebration and thought, ‘Oh no, if I score again, what am I going to do?’” she said. “And I have no idea because as soon as I use one celly, I don’t think of another one until the day before (the next game). Some people think I put a lot of thought into it and I don’t.”

As soon as her initial celebration fake injury celebration went viral, she knew she was going to keep doing the celebrations that make her “so happy,” she said.

”I think I’ve always just wanted to celebrate,” she said. “I have the biggest passion for this sport and this just makes it even more fun.”

Kansas City Current’s Lo’eau LaBonta had NWSL viewers fooled, clutching her quad and limping before busting a move in the definitive goal celebration of the year.

LaBonta’s instantly iconic celebration came in the 82nd minute after the 29-year-old buried a penalty kick from the spot to secure a 1-1 draw with Angel City Friday.

“Female soccer players tend to just all go to each other and Kumbaya and we love that…but I think we really want to start making it a little more fun and having individual celebration,” LaBonta said after Friday’s game. “So that was sent to me on Twitter and I said bet.”

The finish marked LaBonta’s fifth goal of the season to go along with her league-leading four assists. Friday’s tie also extended the Current’s unbeaten streak to 11 games, improving the club to third in the NWSL standings.

A record 10,395 fans were in attendance at Children’s Mercy Park to take in Kansas City’s thrilling draw.

“We truly thrive off that, and we felt that energy throughout the entire match,” Kansas City Current captain Desiree Scott said. “You saw the opportunities we created, and we felt that pulse through the stadium every time we got an opportunity.”

Kansas City will return to Children’s Mercy Park on Aug. 28 to host the North Carolina Courage.

As soon as I heard my dad’s voice, I knew something terrible had happened.

I had just gotten back from a hike in the Utah mountains — something we often do on our off days — and was hanging in a teammate’s backyard when I received the call.

“Are you home?”

“No, what’s up?”

“I need you to head home, sit down, and call me back.”

A million thoughts went through my head. I raced home, went straight to my room, sat on the floor with my back to the wall, and called him back.

My brother, Koa, had died.

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Dad raised us on his own. We lived in Rancho Cucamonga, about 45 minutes inland from Los Angeles. In addition to being a single father, Dad was a cop. I remember not being able to find him at home one time, so I called 911, thinking it was his work number. He must have just been out in the yard, because when the police arrived, he opened the door to greet them.

Dad and Koa thought they were the big, strong protectors, but I always saw myself as the real protector and felt it was my duty to look out for them. With Dad heading off to work early and coming back late, it was often my responsibility as the oldest to take care of Koa. In the mornings, I’d wake him up, make breakfast, and get us out the door. In the evenings, I’d make sure we both did our homework.

He was my best friend.

As hard as I tried to be the responsible older sister, I couldn’t help but goof around with him. He used to run around the house, yelling and singing at the top of his lungs. For someone with such a horrible voice, he couldn’t have been a more confident singer. I’d try to be angry with him and get him to stop, but in the end, I’d crack and start laughing. That was all he ever wanted — to make me laugh.

From the earliest age, Dad signed us up for everything — soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, karate, the lot. The only sport I wasn’t allowed to play was football, which was Koa’s favorite, but I always gravitated toward soccer anyways. As kids, we often played on the same team, but at home, we’d play against each other. There were no rules — we’d push and punch each other, doing anything we could to get a win. We were pretty wild, but it was all in good fun.

Those battles shaped who I am as an athlete. At 5’2”, I’ve been the smallest player on every team I’ve been on, but that has never held me back, since I grew up competing against an absolute beast at home. And as I’ve progressed through my career — playing on Youth National Teams, at Stanford, and now professionally — I’ve continued to carry that toughness with me.

Dad and Koa are a huge part of who I am. So when I came into the NWSL, I chose to wear #42 — the number both of them had worn when they played college football — in order to pay tribute to them and all of the support they had given me along the way. Seeing me run on to the field in my NWSL debut with that number on my back meant so much to them and our family.

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Those first 24 hours after that call were the hardest of my life. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I felt numb. Nothing in this world can prepare you for that.

Koa had gone to a frat party, and at some point in the night, drugs were introduced. A bad mix of alcohol and drugs had shut his body down, and he was found the following morning, sitting at his desk. No one saw it coming.

I had training the next morning and a game that weekend in Utah. Everyone told me to forget about playing and go be with my family, but I knew that soccer was the best thing for me, physically and mentally. In the weeks that followed, my training schedule forced me to eat and look after myself. It forced me to get out of bed in the morning, and it kept me going when I barely thought I could get through the day. Being on the field was the only way to keep my mind off of what had happened.

There are still good days and bad days, but being on a team is a special thing. My teammates are always there to pick me up, and their love and support has helped me grow strong again.

I have only good memories of my brother — I can still hear his goofy laugh, and even just that thought is enough to make me smile. Every single day, I try to do something that I love. I try to be happy for him, since I know that’s what he’d want. And when I laugh, I know that he is with me.

I play for Koa now. In Utah, I have his name printed on the inside of my jersey. And before every game, I write his name on my knuckles.

Kalaukoa Kaha’i Kukailimoku LaBonta — I will carry your memory with me forever.