NWSL 2021-22 Off-Season Tracker: Sam Mewis in Kansas City; Chicago exchanges Julie Ertz and Sarah Gorden
The National Women’s Soccer League closed the 2021 season last month with the Washington Spirit taking the title. The 2021-22 offseason is now underway and the league has already seen a number of new signings and trades. The 2021 season presented moments of transformation, with NWSL players amid the ongoing CBA negotiations and participating in protests protesting abusive training environments to advocate for systematic change.
A historically long season spanning 10 months is now over and the league is now considering the 2022 Extension Draft on December 16 and the 2022 NWSL Draft on December 18. two events are on the horizon and several head coach positions are still vacant despite two clubs having announced that they have filled the roles.
Let’s take a look at some trades and players who have decided to pursue soccer elsewhere in the offseason, team by team.
Angel city fc
The expansion club has already made waves since its inception. Angel City was formed through a predominantly female owner group, with several other leading female investors in several industries. The club built their front office staff before expanding their squad, hiring Eni Aluko as sporting director and Freya Coombe as head coach. The duo will lead the club through their first expansion draft after the franchise signed its first player, Christen Press.
- Christen Press – Forward – Trading Louisville FC Player Rights
- Chicago Red Stars traded defender Sarah Gorden and midfielder Julie Ertz and an international spot at Angel City in exchange for team protection in the upcoming expansion draft
Chicago Red Stars
The team made their way to another NWSL final, but failed again. Following the loss, the Red Stars accepted the resignation of 11-year head coach Rory Dames – announced in a statement around midnight, ahead of a Washington Post report detailing allegations of verbal abuse and harassment by the former coach and interim general manager. The club are now in the midst of a head coach search with two draft events on the horizon.
- Kayla Sharples, Defender – Adelaide United (Loan until March 2022) – Australia
Dash narrowly missed the 2021 NWSL playoffs on a tiebreaker, losing their last game and ending their season earlier. The squad is led by head coach James Clarkson, who is the only coach remaining in his original post since the 2021 season.
- Nichelle Prince – Forward – Contract extended until 2024
- Jane Campbell – Goalkeeper – Contract extended until 2024
Kansas City Current
The Current ended their season in last place in the standings, but had a late-season surge, acquiring Kirsten Hamilton, Hallie Mace and Adrianna Franch in the mid-season trade. The Current continued to play spoiler against teams in the playoff hunt while maintaining a seven-game unbeaten streak at home. The franchise quickly turned to 2022 and unveiled its new team name and crest.
At the end of the 2021 season, the club switched roles to coach Huw Williams, who moved to a front office administrative position, and is currently looking for a permanent head coach. The organization made waves to start their offseason with a trade for USWNT midfielder Samantha Mewis.
- Traded Sam Mewis at Kansas City Current for Kiki Pickett and a first-round pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft
NJ / NY Gotham FC
The team has had an impressive 2021 which included mid-season administrative changes. Gotham FC introduced a new general manager to former NWSL player Yael Averbuch West, and a change of manager in the final third of the season after Freya Coombe left Angel City, marking the arrival of the new trainer Scott Parkinson. Over the 10 long months, the players reached the 2021 Challenge Cup final and NWSL quarter-finals where they were eliminated after a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Red Stars.
- Elizabeth Eddy – Newcastle United Jets (Loan until March 2022) – Australia
- GaÃ«tane Thiney – Paris Saint-Germain – Loan to Gotham FC completed for the 2021 season
- Sodam Lee – South Korean International – Gotham FC loan ended for 2021 season
North Carolina Courage
A late-season report detailed disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct and coercion against former head coach Paul Riley during his days as head coach with Portland Thorns FC in 2015. The scandal led to his dismissal from the club, and despite the unrest off the field, The Courage Players ended their season with a playoff appearance in the NWSL quarterfinals. The team have made several moves already during the offseason, including a three-way trade with the Houston Dash and San Diego Wave FC. They also traded star player Sam Mewis to Kansas City ahead of the expansion draft in exchange for Kiki Pickett and a first-round pick.
- Traded Sam Mewis at Kansas City Current for Kiki Pickett and a 2022 NWSL Draft first-round draft pick
- Received $ 190,000 in allocation money and first-round natural selection from San Diego in the 2023 NWSL draft for Abby Dahlkemper’s playing rights after terms of a mid-season trade with the Houston Dash were met.
Pride got off to a flying start in 2021, recording a seven-game unbeaten streak, only to change coaches mid-season after former Pride coach Marc Skinner left to take a job with Manchester United . Pride fell into the knockout position before the end of the season and has already made some offseason trades. Orlando is also currently seeking longtime UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell for the vacant Head Coach position.
- Traded Jodie Taylor to San Diego Wave FC in exchange for a natural second-round pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft, a natural third-round pick or cash allowance, pending the conditions being met
The Reign ended their season with a semi-final appearance where they were eliminated by the Washington Spirit. Head coach Laura Harvey joined the club mid-season and will remain with the club until 2023. No official word on the official status of Sarah Bouhaddi, Dzenifer Maroszan or Eugeine Le Sommer and their future with the reign, although the initial loan terms for the three Olympique Lyonnais players were until December 2021.
- Acquired Chicago Red Stars midfielder Nikki Stanton in exchange for a third-round pick in upcoming NWSL Draft
Portland thorns fc
The Thorns ended their season winning three titles (Challenge Cup, WICC and NWSL Shield) and came close to winning the NWSL Championship after being knocked out in the semi-finals. The end of their season also marked the departure of former head coach Mark Parsons, who left the club to pursue the post of head coach of the Netherlands women’s national team.
Following ongoing investigations into the club from Paul Riley days in 2015, the franchise has hired a new GM in former Thorns player Karina LeBlanc, and introduced its new head coach, Riahn Wilkinson. . The two Canadian internationals spent time with the club as players in the early years.
Louisville FC Race
The expansion team in 2021 finished in ninth place, while the franchise fired then head coach Christy Holly for cause mid-season. Racing Louisville has said it will not keep interim head coach Mario Sanchez in the lead role and start looking for a new head coach during the offseason.
- Acquired player rights to Christen Press in the 2020 Extension Draft, then traded Press to Angel City in exchange for roster protection and received Angel City’s first-round pick in the 2022 College Draft , and $ 75,000 in allowance money
The 2021 NWSL Championship squad are currently in discussions to keep interim head coach Kris Ward in a permanent head coaching role after taking over mid-season. Former head coach Richie Burke was fired for cause based on investigations into emotional and verbal abuse in team environments. The team also took early action ahead of the double-extension draft to protect their current list of championship winners.
- Defenseman Tegan McGrady has been traded, a first-round pick in the 2022 college draft and a place on the international roster for the 2022 season in exchange for roster protection in the expansion draft.