USWNT head coach Jill Ellis names final 23-player roster for SheBelieves Cup

USWNTFebruary 23

Makenzy Doniak suffers ACL tear

NewsFebruary 23

XI games to watch in 2018

ScheduleFebruary 21

NWSL announces full schedule and Game of the Week on Lifetime schedule

ScheduleFebruary 21

List: Every team’s home schedule, season tickets links

ScheduleFebruary 21

United States, Canada announce friendlies; England names roster for SheBelieves Cup

NewsFebruary 20

Preseason roster notes: Dash offer Shim a contract

NewsFebruary 20

Teams announce preseason rosters

NewsFebruary 19

Dash, Pride announce signings; Reign waive Crummer; Hayes to sit out 2018 season

NewsFebruary 19

2018 Home Openers

ScheduleFebruary 16

Ashleigh Sykes retires

NewsFebruary 16

NWSL announces 2018 allocated players

NewsFebruary 15

Australia names preliminary roster for Algarve Cup

NewsFebruary 15

Canada Soccer names roster for Algarve Cup

CANWNTFebruary 15

Jill Ellis names preliminary roster for SheBelieves Cup

USWNTFebruary 14

Emily van Egmond signs with the Orlando Pride

NewsFebruary 14

Utah Royals FC sign Thorsnes and Kolmel

NewsFebruary 14

Utah Royals FC sign Katrina Gorry

NewsFebruary 14

Ellie Carpenter joins Portland Thorns FC

NewsFebruary 13

Dash acquire Tiffany Weimer from the Spirit

NewsFebruary 13

NWSL Abroad: W-League Grand Final set for Sunday; Foord injured

NewsFebruary 13

International news: Erceg back with New Zealand; Nielsen named to Denmark roster

NewsFebruary 12

Roster news: Utah Royals FC announce more signings; Pride waive Driesse and Fields

NewsFebruary 12

Briana Scurry inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame

NewsFebruary 12

Kassey Kallman says she will not return to the NWSL in 2018

NewsFebruary 12

Utah Royals FC complete technical staff for 2018

NewsFebruary 12

Notebook: Utah, Houston make roster moves; Chicago adds to coaching staff

NewsFebruary 08

Utah Royals FC make it official, Amy Rodriguez to join the team in 2018

NewsFebruary 06

Pride acquire Poliana from Dash

NewsFebruary 06

Utah Royals FC announce jersey sponsorship

NewsFebruary 05

Sydney Leroux traded to Orlando

NewsFebruary 02

Hagen retires; Dash make roster moves; Reign set preseason schedule

NewsFebruary 02

Dash sign Linda Motlhalo

NewsFebruary 01

Reign sign Nielsen, waive Corsie; Dash sign Hahn and Wetherington

NewsJanuary 31

Trade: Merritt Mathias to North Carolina

NewsJanuary 31

Spirit select Lavelle with first pick in dispersal draft; Full dispersal draft results

NewsJanuary 30

Final order set for dispersal draft

NewsJanuary 30

Michelle Betos signs with Seattle Reign FC

NewsJanuary 30

Catley, Spencer to Seattle and Nairn, Pickett, Kopmeyer to Orlando in pair of trades

NewsJanuary 29

NWSL announces dispersal draft order and available players

NewsJanuary 29

Kealia Ohai re-signs with the Dash

NewsJanuary 29

NWSL announces Boston Breakers to cease operations

NewsJanuary 28

Amber Brooks re-signs with the Houston Dash

NewsJanuary 25

Notebook: Barnes returns to Seattle, Utah signs Tymrak and Laddish, Sinclair honored

NewsJanuary 24

Long-term plan paying off for Washington Spirit after successful 2018 draft week

FeatureJanuary 23

Pride trade Bledsoe, 2019 first round pick to Spirit for Zadorsky

NewsJanuary 23

Thorns, Courage make big offseason moves

FeatureJanuary 22

Pugh’s brace helps U.S. to 5-1 win over Denmark

USWNTJanuary 21

Pair of mega trades sends Lloyd to Sky Blue, Kerr to Chicago, Press to Houston

NewsJanuary 19

Draft Recap: NWSL welcomes its newest members on busy day in Philly

NWSL College DraftJanuary 18

USWNT head coach Jill Ellis names final 23-player roster for SheBelieves Cup

The USWNT will take on Germany on March 1

North Carolina Courage forward Lynn Williams has been named to her second SheBelieves Cup roster. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis has named the final 23-player roster for the SheBelieves Cup, U.S. Soccer announced Friday.

Ellis called in 26 players for a training camp in Orlando before the roster was pared down to 23. The players left off the final roster are Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle and forward Ashley Hatch, as well as UCLA defender Hallie Mace.

“We have an experienced and hungry group of players who are excited to take on a big rival,” Ellis said in a U.S. soccer news release. “The players relish the opportunities to play the absolute best teams in the world and after a really productive week of training in Florida, we’re ready for the unique challenges that each of these teams will present.”

Crystal Dunn, whose rights were acquired by the North Carolina Courage in a January trade, remained with Chelsea FC in England during the training camp, but will join the team ahead of the USWNT’s opening game vs. Germany on March 1 in Columbus, Ohio.

Germany, England and France have also named their rosters for the tournament.

U.S. Soccer also announced on Friday that all non-USWNT games will streamed on ESPN3 as well as the ESPN app. All U.S. games will be broadcast on ESPN2 or ESPNews.


SheBelieves Cup Schedule:

March 1 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio

England vs. France | 4 p.m. ET | ESPN3

USA vs. Germany | 7 p.m. ET  | ESPN2

March 4 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey

USA vs. France  | 12 p.m. ET | ESPN2

Germany vs. England  | 3 p.m. ET | ESPN3

March 7 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida

France vs. Germany | 4 p.m. ET | ESPN3

USA vs. England | 7 p.m. ET | ESPNews


U.S. women’s national team roster by position (caps/goals):

GOALKEEPERS: Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 2/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 14/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 24/0)

DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 14/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 1/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 105/2), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 19/0), Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit; 8/0), Emily Sonnett (Sydney FC, AUS/Portland Thorns FC; 13/0)

MIDFIELDERS: Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 69/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 58/15), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 44/4), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 247/98), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 33/6), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 8/0)

FORWARDS: Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC, ENG/NC Courage; 58/23), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC; 1/0), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 135/81), Christen Press (Houston Dash; 97/44), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 30/8), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 130/34), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 16/4)

Makenzy Doniak suffers ACL tear

Doniak tweeted the news on Friday morning

North Carolina Courage forward Makenzy Doniak appeared in 21 games last season. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

North Carolina Courage forward Makenzy Doniak tore her ACL on the first day of preseason, she said in a statement posted to social media on Friday.

“With the support from my coaches, teammates, family and friends I will be back stronger and better,” she wrote. “This team is going to have an exciting 2018 season, and I am honored to be [part] of it no matter what role I play.”

Doniak was drafted by the Western New York Flash in 2016. Last season with the Courage she recorded three assists in 21 appearances. The NWSL preseason began on Monday, February 19.

“She has been a massive part of our club last few years [and] we will be with her every step of her recovery,” Courage coach Paul Riley wrote on Twitter.

XI games to watch in 2018

The NWSL season kicks off on March 24 with a rematch of the NWSL Championship

Denise O'Sullivan's late goal last October gave the Courage a 1-0 win over the Red Stars in the NWSL playoffs. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

A rematch of the NWSL Championship to kick off the season. A meeting between the top two MVP finalists. A new wrinkle in the league’s best rivalry.

Here are eleven games we simply can’t wait to see this season. (View Full Schedule)

1. North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC

Saturday, March 24 | 3:30 p.m. ET | Lifetime

Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park

A rematch of the title game is always fun and this one should not disappoint. The Courage won the NWSL Shield, but the Thorns won the NWSL Championship in October. The physical match will likely still be fresh on the minds of many players on the pitch.

Lindsey Horan scored the game-winning goal in the 49th minute and Emily Menges came up with a clutch block late to seal the win.

They split the regular season series in 2017 before Portland won the final — but the rivalry goes back even longer between the teams. Many of the same Courage players were also on the field for the Western New York Flash’s 2016 semifinal upset of the Thorns in Portland.

The Thorns have never lost a season opener (4-0-1).


2. Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

Saturday, April 14 | 3:30 p.m. ET | Lifetime

Rio Tinto Stadium

The inaugural home game for Utah Royals FC. Utah reportedly sold 2,000 season tickets in the month following the announcement that they would be joining the NWSL in 2018 and owner Dell Loy Hansen has said he expects big crowds at Rio Tinto Stadium for the new team. The Utah fans will get their first chance to show their stuff on April 14.

No pressure, though. Their first home game is only the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime and vs. a 2017 playoff team.

Last week, Utah unveiled their new lockerroom to the players — and the world. Complete with bathrobes. We can’t wait to see their first home game.


3. Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride

Sunday, April 15 | 6 p.m. ET | go90

Providence Park

The Rose City Riveters and the Portland faithful will be on hand for their first home game since winning the 2017 NWSL Championship when Portland Thorns FC plays their home opener on April 15.

Last year’s No. 2 and No. 3 seeds meet in a rematch of Portland’s 4-1 playoff win over Orlando in last year’s playoffs. The playoff loss cost the Pride a spot to play for the NWSL Championship at their home stadium.

The Thorns are 4-0-1 vs. the Pride in their history.


4. Portland Thorns FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Saturday, May 5 | 3:30 p.m. ET | Lifetime

Providence Park

The best rivalry in the NWSL doesn’t need any more spice — but it’ll have it this season.

Allie Long spent five seasons in Portland and was a fan-favorite. She’s second only to Christine Sinclair on the Thorns’ all-time goal scored list.

Now, following a January trade, she’ll be at Providence Park wearing the blue jersey of their rivals.

It’ll also be the first time that the Cascadia rivalry is seen as the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.

The Thorns and Reign will also meet on September 7 in the final game of the regular season for both teams. Seattle, which hosted Portland twice last season, welcomes the Thorns for their only trip north on June 30.


5. Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride

Wednesday, May 2 | 7:30 p.m. ET | go90

Toyota Park

Sam Kerr in 2017: NWSL Most Valuable Player, Golden Boot winner, 17 goals, 4 assists

Marta in 2017: Second in MVP voting, second in goals scored, 13 goals, 6 assists

Both could miss the first few games of the season because of 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying (Kerr with Australia and Marta with Brazil), but lucky for us all that the Red Stars and Pride don’t meet for the first time until May.

Now that Kerr is a member of the Red Stars, she’ll be teamed up with the reigning U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year in Julie Ertz. Marta, meanwhile, will once again be paired up with Alex Morgan, the 2017 CONCACAF Female Player of the Year.

When they met last year, the games were quite memorable — so this should be a pretty good series to watch this season.

They meet again on May 26 in Chicago (NWSL Game of the Week) and then on August 25 in Orlando.


6. Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage

Saturday, April 14 | 7 p.m. ET | go90

Maureen Hendricks Field at the Maryland SoccerPlex

Crystal Dunn was drafted by the Spirit with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NWSL College Draft and went on to be named the 2015 NWSL MVP. Dunn scored 15 goals in that memorable season, leading the Spirit to a spot in the playoffs. In 2016, Dunn and the Spirit made the NWSL Championship. They lost in penalty kicks, but Dunn scored both goals in regulation for Washington.

Dunn then left the NWSL and spent 2017 playing in England. Now, she could make her return to the Maryland SoccerPlex on April 14.

The Spirit had their best crowd last season (sell-out crowd of 5,200) for former captain Ali Krieger’s return, and should do the same when the former MVP is in town.

The two players traded away to Washington, Ashley Hatch and Taylor Smith, make their return to North Carolina on May 12 and July 11.


7. Seattle Reign FC vs. Utah Royals FC

Wednesday, July 11 | 7:30 p.m. ET | go90

UW Medicine Pitch at Memorial Stadium

After five seasons, two NWSL Shields and 100 games coached in Seattle, Laura Harvey will be a visitor at Memorial Stadium. Harvey resigned as coach of the Reign on November 7 and was immediately replaced by former FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Adonovski, weeks before Utah entered the NWSL. By November 27, Harvey was introduced as Utah’s first-ever head coach.

As for Adonovski, he will also be coaching against many of his FC Kansas City former players. (Utah acquired FCKC’s players after the team ceased operations.)

“It will be weird playing against the Reign. There’s no doubt about that. But it’s professional sport,” Harvey said in her introductory conference call. “It is the ultimate trade. We’ve basically traded spots.”


8. Chicago Red Stars vs. Houston Dash

Wednesday, April 18 | 7:30 p.m. ET | go90

Toyota Park

Though the teams meet in Week 1, that game will be in Houston. Christen Press’s homecoming at Toyota Park won’t be until April 14.

Press spent three and a half seasons in Chicago. In that time, the Red Stars made the playoffs three times and she scored 34 career goals. But, the Red Stars were never able to make it to the NWSL Championship, coming up just short three years in a row.

Now, Press is in Houston and Sam Kerr will be lined up at forward in Chicago this season.


9. Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

Saturday, July 7 | 3:30 p.m. ET | Lifetime

Yurcak Field

Sam Kerr’s return to Yurcak Field, the home of so many of her late-game heroics in 2017, will definitely be one of the can’t-miss games of the season. The reigning NWSL MVP scored 10 of her 17 goals at home — nine of those in the second half. Yurcak was the site of her 12-minute comeback hat trick, and her second-half four-goal outburst in a comeback win over Seattle. She scored twice at home to win the game in the 90th minute or later and once to tie the game in the 90th minute or later.

Kerr will get a warm welcome from the fans in New Jersey, but they’ll be hoping for just a few less goals this time around.


10. Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash

Saturday, May 5 | 7 p.m. ET | go90

Yurcak Field

Two new head coaches — both women — are joining the NWSL this season: Vera Pauw with the Houston Dash and Denise Reddy of Sky Blue FC. Reddy has NWSL experience as an assistant with the Washington Spirit. This season will be Pauw’s first in United States professional soccer.

Both are trying to turn around teams that did not make the playoffs last season (Sky Blue FC finished sixth, the Dash eighth) and overseeing rosters that have undergone quite a bit of turnover since last season due to a number of offseason trades.

It’ll also be new Sky Blue FC midfielder Carli Lloyds first game vs. her old team.


11. North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars

Sunday, May 6 | 7 p.m. ET | go90

Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park

A rematch of last year’s dramatic playoff game.

The Chicago Red Stars appeared to have the North Carolina Courage’s number in 2017, going 3-0-0 against them in the regular season. The Courage only lost seven games last year en route to the NWSL Shield, with nearly half of them coming at the hands of the Red Stars.

That all changed in the playoffs.

The Courage won 1-0 thanks to Denise O’Sullivan’s game-winning goal in the 89th minute. Her shot deflected off the knee of Julie Ertz and past Alyssa Naeher and sent the Red Stars home in the semifinals for the third straight season.

NWSL announces full schedule and Game of the Week on Lifetime schedule

The 2018 NWSL season kicks off on March 24

The Thorns and Reign will meet for the first time this season on May 5 in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime. (Photo credit: Sam Ortega/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL released the full 2018 schedule on Wednesday. All nine teams will play a 24-game regular season schedule, with 12 home games and 12 away games.

View Full Schedule

Also on Wednesday, the NWSL and Lifetime announced the 20 regular season games that will be featured on Saturdays as the NWSL Game of the Week this season.

Full Game of the Week on Lifetime schedule below. Highlights include:

  • A rematch of the 2017 NWSL Championship to kick off the season as the North Carolina Courage host Portland Thorns FC on March 24.
  • The inaugural home game at Rio Tinto Stadium for Utah Royals FC on April 14, vs. the Chicago Red Stars)
  • Allie Long‘s first game as a visitor at Providence Park when Seattle Reign FC visit Portland Thorns FC on May 5. It’s also the first-ever appearance of the Cascadia rivalry on Lifetime.
  • Former Sky Blue FC forward and reigning NWSL MVP Sam Kerr will return to New Jersey on July 7 when the Red Stars visit Yurcak Field.

Coverage of the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will begin with a pregame show at 3:30 p.m. ET and kickoff will be at 3:50 p.m. ET. Jenn Hildreth, Aly Wagner and Dalen Cuff will all be back on the broadcast this season.

Lifetime will also broadcast both NWSL playoff semifinals and the NWSL Championship in September.

All non-Lifetime games will be livestreamed on the go90 app and website. All games will be available internationally on the NWSL app and website.

Full NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime schedule:

All games on Saturdays with coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET

March 24 | North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC

March 31 | Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride

April 14 | Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

April 21 | North Carolina Courage vs. Utah Royals FC

April 28 | Houston Dash vs. North Carolina Courage

May 5 | Portland Thorns FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

May 12 | Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride

May 19 | Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash

May 26 | Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride

June 2 | Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars

June 16 | Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC

June 23 | Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride

June 30 | Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage

July 7 | Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

July 14 | Utah Royals FC vs. Orlando Pride

July 21 | Orlando Pride vs. Seattle Reign FC

August 11 | Utah Royals FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

August 18 | Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

August 25 | Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars

September 8 | Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

List: Every team’s home schedule, season tickets links

The NWSL season kicks off on March 24

The Red Stars will play their first home on March 31 vs. Portland Thorns FC. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

A look at every team’s home games and links to buy season tickets.

All times local

Chicago Red Stars | Buy Season Tickets

Toyota Park

Sat. March 31 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 7:15 p.m.

Wed., April 18 | vs. Houston Dash | 6:30 p.m.

Sat., April 21 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 7 p.m.

Wed., May 2 | vs. Orlando Pride | 6:30 p.m.

Sat., May 12 | vs. Houston Dash | 7 p.m.

Sat., May 26 | vs. Orlando Pride | 2:30 p.m.

Sat., June 16 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 2:30 p.m.

Sat., June 23 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7 p.m.

Sun., July 1 | vs. Washington Spirit | 5 p.m.

Sat., July 14 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., July 28 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 7 p.m.

Fri., Aug. 10 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 7 p.m.


Houston Dash | Buy Season Tickets

BBVA Compass Stadium

Sun., March 25 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 4 p.m.

Fri., March 30 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., April 28 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 2:30 p.m.

Wed., May 9 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 7 p.m.

Wed., May 23 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 7 p.m.

Sun., May 27 | vs. Washington Spirit | 5 p.m.

Sat., June 2 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 7:30 p.m.

Fri., June 22 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 7:30 p.m.

Wed., July 11 | vs. Orlando Pride | 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Aug. 5 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7:30 p.m.

Fri., Aug. 17 | vs. Washington Spirit | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 25 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 7:30 p.m.


North Carolina Courage | Buy Season Tickets

Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park

Sat., March 24 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 3:30 p.m.

Sat., March 31 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 3:30 p.m.

Wed., April 18 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., April 21 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 3:30 p.m.

Sun., May 6 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 3 p.m.

Sat., May 12 | vs. Washington Spirit | 7 p.m.

Sat., June 16 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7 p.m.

Wed., July 4 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | TBD

Wed., July 11 | vs. Washington Spirit | 7 p.m.

Sun., Aug. 5 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 3:30 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 18 | vs. Orlando Pride | 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 8 | vs. Houston Dash | 7 p.m.


Orlando Pride | Buy Season Tickets

Orlando City Stadium

Sat., March 24 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7:30 p.m.

Sun., April 22 | vs. Houston Dash | 5 p.m.

Sat., April 28 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 7:30 p.m.

Wed., May 23 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., June 16 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 7:30 p.m.

Wed., June 27 | vs. Houston Dash | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., June 30 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 3:30 p.m.

Sat., July 7 | vs. Washington Spirit | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., July 21 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 3:30 p.m.

Sun., Aug. 5 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 11 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 25 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 3:30 p.m.


Portland Thorns FC | Buy Season Tickets

Providence Park

Sun., April 15 | vs. Orlando Pride | 3 p.m.

Fri., April 20 | vs. Washington Spirit | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., May 5 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 12:30 p.m.

Sat., May 12 | vs. Orlando Pride | 12:30 p.m.

Fri., May 25 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7:30 p.m.

Wed., May 30 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 7:30 p.m.

Wed., June 27 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 7:30 p.m.

Fri., July 6 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 8 p.m.

Sun., July 15 | vs. Houston Dash | 8 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 18 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 12:30 p.m.

Wed., Aug. 22 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 8 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 7:30 p.m.


Seattle Reign FC | Buy Season Tickets

UW Medicine Pitch Memorial Stadium

Sat., March 24 | vs. Washington Spirit | 7 p.m.

Sat., May 12 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., May 19 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 7 p.m.

Sun., June 3 | vs. Orlando Pride | 6 p.m.

Sat., June 23 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 1 p.m.

Sat., June 30 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., July 7 | vs. Houston Dash | 7 p.m.

Wed., July 11 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Aug. 5 | vs. Washington Spirit | 6 p.m.

Wed., Aug. 15 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 7:30 p.m.

Tue., Aug. 21 | vs. Houston Dash | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 25 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 1 p.m.


Sky Blue FC | Buy Season Tickets

Yurcak Field

Sun., April 15 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 5 p.m.

Sat., May 5 | vs. Houston Dash | 7 p.m.

Sat., May 19 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 7 p.m.

Sat., May 26 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., June 2 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7 p.m.

Fri., June 8 | vs. Washington Spirit | 7 p.m.

Sat., July 7 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 3:30 p.m.

Sat., July 14 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 7 p.m.

Sat., July 21 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 11 | vs. Houston Dash | 7 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 18 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 8 | vs. Orlando Pride | 12 p.m.


Utah Royals FC | Buy Season Tickets

Rio Tinto Stadium

Sat., April 14 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 1:30 p.m.

Sat., April 28 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., May 5 | vs. Washington Spirit | 7 p.m.

Wed., May 9 | vs. Orlando Pride | 7 p.m.

Sat., May 19 | vs. Houston Dash | 1:30 p.m.

Wed., June 27 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 8 p.m.

Sat., June 30 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 8 p.m.

Sat., July 14 | vs. Orlando Pride | 1:30 p.m.

Fri., July 20 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 8 p.m.

Wed., Aug. 8 | vs. Washington Spirit | 8 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 11 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 1:30 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 8 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 1:30 p.m.


Washington Spirit | Buy Season Tickets

Maureen Hendricks Field at the Maryland SoccerPlex

Sat., March 31 | vs. Orlando Pride | 3:30 p.m.

Sat., April 14 | vs. North Carolina Courage | 7 p.m.

Sat., April 28 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 7 p.m.

Sat., May 19 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 7 p.m.

Wed., May 23 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., June 2 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | 3:30 p.m.

Sat., June 16 | vs. Seattle Reign FC | 7 p.m.

Sat., June 23 | vs. Orlando Pride | 3:30 p.m.

Sat., July 21 | vs. Houston Dash | 7 p.m.

Wed., Aug. 22 | vs. Utah Royals FC | 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 25 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | 7 p.m. (Venue To Be Announced)

Sat., Sept. 1 | vs. Sky Blue FC | 7 p.m.

United States, Canada announce friendlies; England names roster for SheBelieves Cup

The United States will host Mexico in April

The U.S. women's national team will host Mexico on April 5 and April 8. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The United States will face Mexico on April 5 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville,nited States will face Mexico on April 5.

It’ll be the first of a pair of friendlies between the United States and Mexico. The second game on April 8 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston was announced earlier this month.

Both the United States and Mexico will take part in the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup in October, which will serve as the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s  World Cup.


The Canadian women’s national team will travel to Rennes to take on France on April 9, Canada Soccer announced on Monday.

France is the host nation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Roazhan Park, the site of April’s friendly, is one of the nine stadiums that will host matches in the tournament.

“As we know from hosting in 2015, a lot of attention is given to the national team’s lead up, so the invitation to play France, in a FIFA World Cup venue, means we will have a well-attended match with strong opposition. It is an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with France and how it will be like in 2019,” new Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller said in a statement released by Canada Soccer.

Last week, Canada announced that they will host Germany in a friendly in Hamilton, Ontario on June 10.


England has announced its roster for next month’s SheBelieves tournament.

Seattle Reign FC forward Jodie Taylor is among the 23 players that have been named by new England coach Phil Neville for the tournament.

Houston Dash defender Rachel Daly, who had been called into camp last month by England, was not selected for this tournament.

England will take on France, Germany and the United States from March 1 to March 7.


Houston Dash goalkeeper Bianca Henninger and Sky Blue FC forward Katie Johnson have been called into training camp by Mexico.

Preseason roster notes: Dash offer Shim a contract

The NWSL preseason began on February 19

Mana Shim scored nine goals and nine assists in her Thorns career. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

NWSL teams announced their preseason rosters on Monday. Here are a few key notes from around the league:

The Houston Dash have offered forward Mana Shim a contract, the team announced on Monday in their roster news release.

Shim played for the Thorns from 2013-2017 before parting ways with the Portland last summer. She then played for Växjö DFF in Sweden.

In 74 career appearances with the Thorns, Shim scored nine goals and nine assists.

The club also announced that they had offered a contract to Australian forward Kyah Simon, whose rights they selected in the dispersal draft. Simon injured her hamstring in the W-League Grand Final on Sunday in Australia.

Also of note on the Dash roster: Rachel Daly is officially listed as a defender. Daly was called into an England national team camp this offseason as a defender, and has played at right back in the past for the Dash. (Corey Roepken of the Houston Chronicle spoke with Daly about the move on Monday.)


The Reign have added Georgetown midfielder Rachel Corboz has a non-roster invitee. Corboz was considered a highly-rated prospect at the 2018 NWSL College Draft, but was not selected (despite having declared for the draft). Seattle added her as a Discovery Player earlier this month.


Former Thorns defender Kendall Johnson is in camp with Utah Royals FC as a non-roster invitee. Johnson, originally drafted by Sky Blue FC in 2013, appeared in four games for Portland last season.

Other non-roster invitees around the league include: former Pride midfielder Jordan O’Brien in camp with Utah; former Wake Forest midfielder Sarah Teegarden in camp with North Carolina; and former Boston Breakers midfielder Stephanie Verdoia in camp with Seattle.  

Teams announce preseason rosters

The 2018 NWSL season kicks off on March 24

The NWSL season will kick off on March 24 in North Carolina at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL preseason began on Monday and the league’s nine teams announced their preseason rosters.

A number of players are not yet in camp because of international duty (Algarve Cup, SheBelieves, Cyprus Cup). Those players are listed with “NYR” (not yet reported to camp) next to their names. Several players will also report late to camp because of the W-League Grand Final, which took place in Australia on Sunday. Additional details about each roster can be found by clicking each team’s name on the list below.

Ahead of releasing their roster, the Thorns announced the re-signings of seven players: Celeste Boureille, Britt Eckerstrom, Adrianna Franch, Meg Morris, Hayley Raso, Katherine Raynolds and Mallory Weber.

Full preseason rosters for each team:

NRI = non-roster invitee
NYR = not yet reported to camp
CDP = 2018 NWSL College Draft Pick


Chicago Red Stars

GOALKEEPERS (4): Emily Boyd (CDP), Michele Dalton, Alyssa Naeher (NYR), Ryann Torerro (NRI)

DEFENDERS (8): Taylor Comeau, Chandra Eigenberger (NRI), Indigo Gibson (CDP/NYR), Arin Gilliland, Zoey Goralski (CDP), Sarah Gorden, Sam Johnson, Katie Naughton, Casey Short (NYR)

MIDFIELDERS (15): Alexa Ben (CDP), Joanna Boyles (CDP), Megan Buckingham (CDP), Danielle Colaprico, Vanessa DiBernardo, Julie Ertz (NYR), Corinne Harris (NRI), Lauren Kaskie, Alyssa Mautz, Ashton Miller (CDP/NYR), Christina Murillo (NRI), Nikki Stanton, Michele Vasconcelos, Bri Visalli (CDP), Rosie White (NYR), Erin Yenney (NRI)

FORWARDS (5): Summer Green, Sofia Huerta (NYR), Sam Kerr (NYR), Stephanie McCaffrey, Yuki Nagasato


Houston Dash

GOALKEEPERS (4): Jane Campbell, Bianca Henninger, Sammy Jo Prudhomme, Sarah Shimer (CDP)

DEFENDERS (7): Amber Brooks, Rachel Daly, Kimberly Keever (CDP), Camille Levin, Cami Privett, Cari Roccaro, Janine Van Wyk

MIDFIELDERS (11): Abby Elinsky (CDP), Claire Falknor, Michaela Hahn, Haley Hanson (CDP), Caity Heap (NRI), Veronica Latsko (CDP), Linda Motlhalo (NYR), Kristie Mewis, Lotta Ökvist (NYR), Kyah Simon (NYR), Allison Wetherington  

FORWARDS (10): Lindsay Agnew (NYR), Sonest Furtado (NRI), Savannah Jordan, Heather Kaleiohi (NRI), Thembi Kgatlana (NYR), Kealia Ohai, Christen Press (NYR), Nichelle Prince (NYR), Meleana Shim, Tiffany Weimer


North Carolina Courage

GOALKEEPERS (2): Sabrina D’Angelo, Katelyn Rowland

DEFENDERS (12): Abby Erceg, Abby Dahlkemper (NYR), Jaelene Hinkle, Merritt Mathias, Julie King (NYR), Allysha Chapman, Carlin Hudson (CDP), Morgan Reid (CDP), Ryan Williams (CDP), Yuri Kawamura (NYR), Alyssa Kleiner (NRI), Kaleigh Kurtz (NRI)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Makenzy Doniak, Elizabeth Eddy, Samantha Mewis (NYR), McCall Zerboni, Denise O’Sullivan, Debinha, Meredith Speck, Becca Rasmussen (CDP), Sarah Teegarden (NRI)

FORWARDS (6): Lynn Williams (NYR), Crystal Dunn (NYR), Jessica McDonald, Darian Jenkins, Kristen Hamilton, Frannie Crouse (CDP)


Orlando Pride

GOALKEEPERS (2): Ashlyn Harris (NYR), Haley Kopmeyer

DEFENDERS (7): Monica, Poliana (NYR), Ali Krieger, Camila, Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Shelina Zadorsky ( NYR)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Bridget Callahan (NRI), Kristen Edmonds, Alanna Kennedy (NYR), Christine Nairn, Emily van Egmond (NYR), Dani Weatherholt

FORWARDS (7): Danica Evans, Nadia Gomes (CDP), Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan (NYR), Chioma Ubogagu, Marta


Portland Thorns FC

GOALKEEPERS (3): Britt Eckerstrom, Adrianna Franch, Bella Geist (CDP)

DEFENDERS (9): Elizabeth Ball (NRI), Ellie Carpenter (NYR), Tina De Zeeuw (NRI), Kelli Hubly (NRI), Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Katherine Reynolds, Gabby Seiler (CDP, NYR), Emily Sonnett (NYR)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Andressinha (NYR), Celeste Boureille, Ashley Herndon (NRI), Lindsey Horan (NYR), Midge Purce, Angela Salem (NYR), Sandra Yu (CDP, NYR)

FORWARDS (10): Simone Charley (NRI), Bobbi Eckler (NRI), Caitlin Foord (NYR), Tobin Heath (NYR), Tyler Lussi, Meg Morris, Ifeoma Onumonu, Hayley Raso (NYR), Christine Sinclair (NYR), Mallory Weber


Seattle Reign FC

GOALKEEPERS (4): Lydia Williams (NYR), Michelle Betos, Adelaide Gay (NRI), Morgan Bertsch (NRI)

DEFENDERS (13):  Lauren Barnes (NYR), Yael Averbuch, Kristen McNabb, Theresa Nielsen, Megan Oyster, Ally Haran (CDP), Tara Meier (NRI), Alex Quincy (NRI), Maddie Bauer, Christen Westphal, Dominique Bond-Flasza (NRI), Steph Catley (NYR), Celia Jimenez Delgado (CDP/NYR)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Jessica Fishlock (NYR), Morgan Andrews, Stephanie Ribeiro (NRI), Rachel Corboz (NRI), Shannon Simon (NRI), Stephanie Verdoia (NRI), Rumi Utsugi, Allie Long (NYR), Elizabeth Addo (NYR)

FORWARDS (8): Beverly Yanez, Jasmyne Spencer, Kiersten Dallstream, Megan Rapinoe (NYR), Nahomi Kawasumi, Jodie Taylor (NYR), Jaycie Johnson (NRI), Georgia Cloepfil (NRI)


Sky Blue FC

GOALKEEPERS (6): Caroline Casey, Tori Corsaro (NRI), Kaycee Guinion (NRI), Casey Murphy (CDP, NYR), Christiana Ogunsami (NRI), Kailen Sheridan

DEFENDERS (13): Cassidy Benintente, Mandy Freeman, Mary Fiebernitz (NRI), Monica Flores (NRI), Amanda Frisbie, Kayla Mills, Christa Neary (NRI), Amandine Pierre-Louis (CDP), Domi Richardson, Erin Simon, Erica Skroski, Rebekah Stott (NYR), Jessica Vigna (NRI)

MIDFIELDERS (11): Nicole Baxter (NRI), Daphne Corboz (NYR), Christina Gibbons, Sarah Killion, Carli Lloyd, Alli Magaletta (NRI), Kiana Palacios (CDP), Raquel Rodriguez (NYR), Ani Sarkisian (NRI), Thaisa (NYR), Madison Tiernan

FORWARDS (9): Michaela Abam (CDP), Janine Beckie, Imani Dorsey (CDP), Shea Groom, Jen Hoy, Katie Johnson, Adriana Leon, Savannah McCaskill, McKenzie Meehan


Utah Royals FC

GOALKEEPERS (4): Nicole Barnhart, EJ Proctor (CDP), Abby Smith, Rebecca Ritchie (NRI)

DEFENDERS (13): Alex Arlitt, Katie Bowen (NYR), Brooke Elby, Taylor Isom (CDP), Brittany Taylor Kolmel, Sydney Miramontez, Becca Moros, Kelley O’Hara (NYR), Becky Sauerbrunn, Kendall Johnson (NRI), Jordan O’Brien (NRI), Natalie Norris (NRI), Dominque Bandles (NRI)

MIDFIELDERS (13): Katrina Gorry (NYR), Gunnhildur Jonsdottir (NYR), Lo’eau LaBonta, Mandy Laddish, Taylor Lytle, Diana Matheson (NYR), Alexa Newfield, Desiree Scott (NYR), Erika Tymrak, Allie Wisner (NRI), Collette Smith (NRI), Annie Hawkins (NRI), Lydia Simmons (NRI)

FORWARDS (5): Maegan Kelly (NYR), Brittany Ratcliffe, Amy Rodriguez, Katie Stengel, Elise Thorsnes (NYR)


Washington Spirit

GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Bledsoe (NYR), DiDi Haracic, Kelsey Wys

DEFENDERS (7): Brittany Basinger (CDP), Whitney Church, Caprice Dydasco, Estelle Johnson, Rebecca Quinn (CDP/NYR), Taylor Smith (NYR), Elizabeth Wenger (CDP)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Estefanía Banini, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Maddie Huster (CDP), Tori Huster, Rose Lavelle (NYR), Joanna Lohman, Rachel Moore (CDP), Morgan Proffitt, Havana Solaun, Andi Sullivan (CDP) (NYR)

FORWARDS (11): Yanara Aedo, Chimy Asher (NRI), Mallory Eubanks (CDP), Cali Farquharson, Ashley Hatch (NYR), Ashley Meyers (NRI), Francisca Ordega (NYR), Mallory Pugh (NYR), Arielle Ship, Marissa Sullivan (NRI), Cheyna (Williams) Matthews* (NYR)

Dash, Pride announce signings; Reign waive Crummer; Hayes to sit out 2018 season

The NWSL preseason begins February 19

Houston Dash defender Cami Levin in action during the 2017 NWSL season. (Photo credit: Sam Ortega/isiphotos.com)

Ahead of the beginning of NWSL preseason on February 19, several teams announced roster news:

The Houston Dash announced on Saturday that they have signed forward Thembi Kgatlana and have re-signed defenders Cami Levin and Cari Roccaro.

Kgatlana played for South Africa at the 2016 Summer Olympics, coached by current Dash coach Vera Pauw. Last year, she played at the University of Western Cape in South Afroca.

Levin started 22 games for the Dash last season, her fourth year in the NWSL. Prior to 2017, she played for the Orlando Pride and Sky Blue FC. Roccaro was drafted by the Dash in 2016 and has appeared in 33 games for Houston.


The Orlando Pride have signed forward Chioma Ubogagu to a new contract, the team announced Friday.

Ubogagu appeared in 20 games for the Pride last season, scoring four goals and four assists. It was her second NWSL season, after spending 2016 with the Houston Dash.

“We’re delighted to have Chi back this season. She had a good first season with us in 2017 and played an important role for the club,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said in an Orlando news release. “We’re looking forward to seeing her grow as a player and member of the Pride this season.”


Seattle Reign FC has waived forward Larissa Crummer, the club announced Monday.

Due to a fracture in her right foot suffered during the 2016/2017 W-League season, Crummer joined the Reign midway through last season. She appeared in four games and scored one goal.

“We are appreciative of Larissa’s efforts for the club last season, and in particular, thank her for all the hard work to come back from injury,” Seattle owner Bill Predmore said in a statement from the club.


Sky Blue FC forward Maya Hayes will sit out the 2018 season in order to pursue a master’s degree, the team announced Saturday.

“This was a really hard decision to make. After taking a lot of time to think and talk with friends and family, it just seemed like the timing was right to switch gears a little bit,” Hayes said in a statement released by Sky Blue FC. “Getting my Master’s is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. Some good opportunities arose for me, and I ultimately decided to take advantage of them. Obviously, I am going to miss Sky Blue FC a lot, but I want to wish the team and organization all the best. The future is still open, so I definitely do not want to call this an official retirement.”

Hayes was drafted by Sky Blue FC in 2014. She appeared in 74 games, tallying nine goals and six assists in her career.

2018 Home Openers

The NWSL season kicks off on March 24

Tobin Heath and Portland Thorns FC will play their home opener on April 15. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL released the list of 2018 home openers on Friday. The full schedule will be released on Tuesday.

A rematch of the 2017 NWSL Championship kicks off the season as the Courage host the Thorns on March 24 in the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime (3:30 p.m. ET).

On March 31, the Spirit have their home opener vs. the Pride at the Maryland SoccerPlex (3:30 p.m. ET). Then on April 14, Utah Royals FC host their inaugural home game vs. the Chicago Red Stars (3:30 p.m. ET) at Rio Tinto Stadium. Both games will also be the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime.

Christen Press and the Dash host her former team in Houston’s home opener as the Chicago Red Stars visit BBVA Compass Stadium on March 25 (5 p.m. ET)

The Red Stars’ home opener on March 31 will be part of a unique Chicago vs. Portland doubleheader. At 5 p.m. ET, the Fire will host the Timbers in an MLS match-up, and then the Red Stars will host the Thorns at 8:15 p.m. ET.

On Sunday April 15, Carli Lloyd will play her first home game in New Jersey as Sky Blue FC host Seattle Reign FC (5 p.m. ET) and the Thorns will raise their championship banner when they host the Pride (6 p.m. ET).

All non-Lifetime games will be livestreamed on the go90 app and website. All games will be available internationally on the NWSL app and website.

View the full list of home openers below.

Home teams listed first and in bold

March 24

North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC

3:30 p.m. ET (NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime)

Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park

Orlando Pride vs. Utah Royals FC

7:30 p.m. ET

Orlando City Stadium

Seattle Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit

10 p.m. ET

Memorial Stadium


March 25

Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars

5 p.m. ET

BBVA Compass Stadium


March 31

Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride

3:30 p.m. ET (NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime)

Maryland SoccerPlex

Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC

8:15 p.m. ET

Toyota Park


April 14

Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

3:30 p.m. ET (NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime)

Rio Tinto Stadium


April 15

Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

5 p.m. ET

Yurcak Field

Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride

6 p.m. ET

Providence Park

Ashleigh Sykes retires

Sykes won the NWSL Championship in October with the Thorns

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Ashleigh Sykes announced her retirement from professional soccer on Thursday.

Sykes appeared in 15 matches for the Thorns last year after joining the team in June. She capped off her season with a start in the NWSL Championship, which the Thorns won.

In an open letter to Thorns fans posted on the Thorns official website, Sykes thanks Portland’s owner Merritt Paulson, general manager Gavin Wilkinson and coach Mark Parsons and said that she looks forward to moving on to the next stage in her life.

“It was always a goal of mine to test myself in the NWSL, and to play for one of the biggest women’s clubs in the world was an amazing experience, one that exceeded all my expectations. To come away with a championship and to get to play in front of Portland’s incredible fans is something I still struggle to describe,” she wrote.

Sykes also played for Canberra United FC in Australia’s W-League. She appeared in 10 games last season and scored four goals.

NWSL announces 2018 allocated players

Thirty-four players will be part of the 2018 season as Federation Players

Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

–Updated to note that Stephanie Labbé cleared the NWSL Distribution Process as of 5 p.m. ET on Thursday

The NWSL announced the list of allocated players from the United States and Canada for the upcoming 2018 season. Overall, 34 players will be participating in this upcoming season as Federation Players: 23 Americans and 11 Canadians.

Six players are newly assigned for this season: from the United States, Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage) and Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit); and from Canada, Adriana Leon (Sky Blue FC) and Rebecca Quinn (Washington Spirit).

Three formerly allocated players rights will remain with their current clubs: Sydney Leroux (Orlando Pride), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride) and Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC). Morgan Brian joined Olympique Lyon this offseason, but her rights will remain with the Chicago Red Stars.

Also not on this list is Stephanie Labbé, who played for Washington in 2016/17. On Wednesday night, the Spirit announced that they had elected not to retain her rights. Through the NWSL Distribution Process, teams had until 5 p.m. ET on Thursday to submit their interest in acquiring her rights. She was not selected by any of the league’s eight other teams and is now Discovery Eligible within the league.

Allocated players, by team:

*New Federation Player in 2018

Chicago Red Stars

Julie Ertz (USA)

Alyssa Naeher (USA)

Casey Short (USA)

Houston Dash

Jane Campbell (USA)*

Christen Press (USA)

Nichelle Prince (CAN)

North Carolina Courage

Allysha Chapman (CAN)

Sabrina D’Angelo (CAN)

Abby Dahlkemper (USA)*

Crystal Dunn (USA)*

Samantha Mewis (USA)

Lynn Williams (USA)

Orlando Pride

Ashlyn Harris (USA)

Alex Morgan (USA)

Shelina Zadorsky (CAN)

Portland Thorns FC

Tobin Heath (USA)

Lindsey Horan (USA)

Christine Sinclair (CAN)

Emily Sonnett (USA)

Seattle Reign FC

Allie Long (USA)

Megan Rapinoe (USA)

Sky Blue FC

Janine Beckie (CAN)

Adriana Leon (CAN)*

Carli Lloyd (USA)

Kailen Sheridan (CAN)

Utah Royals FC

Diana Matheson (CAN)

Kelley O’Hara (USA)

Amy Rodriguez (USA)

Becky Sauerbrunn (USA)

Desiree Scott (CAN)

Washington Spirit

Rose Lavelle (USA)

Mallory Pugh (USA)

Rebecca Quinn (CAN)*

Taylor Smith (USA)*

Australia names preliminary roster for Algarve Cup

The Algarve Cup begins February 28

Orlando Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond and Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr have been named to Australia's preliminary roster for the 2018 Algarve Cup. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Australia head coach Alen Stajcic has called up 25 players to the preliminary roster ahead of this month’s Algarve Cup in Portugal, the Westfield Matildas announced on Tuesday. Twenty-two players will be named to the final roster before the tournament begins.

The Algarve Cup runs February 28 through March 7. Australia will play Norway in their opening game on the 28th. They will then take on Portugal on March 2 and China PR on March 5.

Several of the NWSL’s most recent signings are on the roster for the tournament. The signings of defender Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC), midfielder Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride) and midfielder Katrina Gorry (Utah Royals FC) were all announced just this week.

Forward Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns FC) will not be with Australia for the tournament after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured lisfranc ligament in her foot. Her rights were acquired by the Thorns from Sky Blue FC in an offseason trade.

Next month, Australia will host Thailand on March 26. After that, they’ll take part in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup from April 7-22, which also serves as their qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Australia preliminary roster for the Algarve Cup:

Laura Alleway, Mackenzie Arnold, Hannah Brewer, Tameka Butt, Eliza Campbell, Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC), Steph Catley (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Chidiac, Emily Condon, Caitlin Cooper, Larissa Crummer (Seattle Reign FC), Lisa De Vanna, Emily Gielnik, Katrina Gorry (Utah Royals FC), Michelle Heyman, Elise Kellond-Knight, Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Chloe Logarzo, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC), Kyah Simon (Houston Dash), Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride), Lydia Williams (Seattle Reign FC)

Canada Soccer names roster for Algarve Cup

The Algarve Cup begins on February 28

Utah Royals FC midfielder Maegan Kelly made her debut for Canada in 2017. (Photo credit: Canada Soccer/Flickr)

New Canada women’s national team head coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller has named the 23-player roster for the upcoming Algarve Cup in Portugal.

The tournament will be the first games for Heiner-Møller, who took over after John Herdman was named Canada men’s national team head coach on January 8.

Of note on the roster, midfielder Diana Matheson (recently traded from Seattle Reign FC to Utah Royals FC) returns for the first time following the ACL tear she suffered last year. Her fellow Utah Royals FC midfielder Maegan Kelly was also named to the roster again after making her Canadian national team debut in two friendlies vs. the United States at the end of 2017.

The No. 3 pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft, Rebecca Quinn, has been called in ahead of her first professional season with the Washington Spirit.

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé played for the Spirit in 2017, but on Wednesday night the team announced that they had elected not retain her rights, and she will now be available to all teams via the NWSL Distribution Process.

The Algarve Cup runs from February 28 through March 7. Canada will play Sweden to open the tournament on February 28 before taking on Russia (March 2) and Korea Republic (March 5).

“Once again, we are bringing a young, hungry team, blended with more experienced veteran players to the Algarve Cup as we continue to expand our tournament expertise heading into the CONCACAF Women’s Championship later this year,” Heiner-Møller said in a statement from Canada Soccer.  “The competition format is especially important for the upcoming CONCACAF tournament which will serve as the qualification route for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, as it will allow us to focus on how we prepare the team for quick turnarounds between games, adapt to different opponents in short periods of time, and reinforce on-field relationships and chemistry between players.”


Canada women’s national team roster by position

GOALKEEPERS: Stephanie Labbé, Erin McLeod (FC Rosengård), Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC)

DEFENDERS: Lindsay Agnew (Houston Dash), Allysha Chapman (North Carolina Courage), Ashley Lawrence (Paris Saint-Germain), Shannon Woeller (FF USV Jena), Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride), Kadeisha Buchanan (Olympique Lyonnais)

MIDFIELDER/DEFENDER: Rebecca Quinn (Washington Spirit)

MIDFIELDERS: Maegan Kelly (Utah Royals FC), Desiree Scott (Utah Royals FC), Sophie Schmidt (FFC Frankfurt), Jessie Fleming (UCLA), Diana Matheson (Utah Royals FC), Julia Grosso (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre)

FORWARDS: Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Deanne Rose (University of Florida), Janine Beckie (Sky Blue FC), Adriana Leon (Sky Blue FC), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Jordyn Huitema (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre), Jenna Hellstrom (FC Rosengård)

Jill Ellis names preliminary roster for SheBelieves Cup

The roster will be trimmed to 23 players before the start of the tournament

Forward Ashley Hatch scored seven goals in her first NWSL season. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 26 players who will be in training camp ahead of next month’s SheBelieves Cup. The training camp will take place in Orlando, Florida, for one week beginning Monday, February 19.

The roster will then be trimmed to 23 players before the team heads to Columbus, Ohio, in advance of the first game vs. Germany on March 1. The United States will take on Germany, England and France (last year’s SheBelieves Cup champions) in the tournament.

The reigning NWSL Rookie of the Year, forward Ashley Hatch, has been called into the camp. Hatch has one cap with the senior team, earned in October of 2016 before her breakout NWSL rookie season. While a member of the North Carolina Courage, Hatch tied a rookie record with seven goals. She is now a member of the Washington Spirit following an offseason trade that sent the rights to USWNT forward Crystal Dunn to the Courage in exchange for Hatch and USWNT defender Taylor Smith.

The top two picks in the 2018 NWSL College Draft have also been named to the roster, ahead of their first professional seasons. Midfielder Andi Sullivan was selected No. 1 by the Washington Spirit and has eight appearances with the senior team. Forward Savannah McCaskill was selected No. 2 by the Boston Breakers and is now with Sky Blue FC following last month’s dispersal draft. McCaskill received her first international cap last month vs. Denmark.

“We had a productive training camp in January and a quality performance against Denmark to open the year, so the goal in the training portion of this camp is to refine our roles and relationships within our style of play,” Ellis said in a U.S. Soccer news release. “We will again have the majority of our core players back in and we’ll have the numbers to be able to play 11v11 before finalizing the tournament roster.”

U.S. Soccer said injured players Becky Sauerbrunn (foot), Sam Mewis (knee) and Tobin Heath (ankle) are not yet ready to play in games, but have been progressing well as they work their way back from injury.

On a conference call with reporters, Ellis also said that Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch would’ve been called into camp as well if not for an injury. Timbers.com writer Richard Farley said in a tweet on Wednesday that Franch has a quad strain.

Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle, who has seen limited action since a hamstring injury suffered last June, will be in camp. “Rose will be in camp with us. [She’s] made a lot of progress. I think we’re just being very meticulous in terms of how we bring her back. It’s going to be layered in. It’s going to be this amount of minutes in training and then incrementally grow that. But she’s far enough long to bring her into camp,” Ellis said on the conference call.

U.S. Soccer also said that Dunn (currently playing for Chelsea in England) and former Red Stars midfielder Morgan Brian (now with Lyon in France) will remain in Europe during the camp and only join the team if named to the final roster.

There are two college players on the roster: Stanford defender Tierna Davidson, who earned her first cap vs. Denmark in January, and UCLA defender Hailie Mace, who is uncapped.


U.S. women’s national team roster by position (caps/goals):

GOALKEEPERS: Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 2/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 14/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 24/0)

DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 14/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 1/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), Hailie Mace (UCLA; 0/0), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 105/2), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 19/0), Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit; 8/0), Emily Sonnett (Sydney FC, AUS/Portland Thorns FC; 13/0)

MIDFIELDERS: Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 69/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 58/15), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 44/4), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 7/2), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 247/98), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 33/6), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 8/0)

FORWARDS: Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC, ENG/NC Courage; 58/23), Ashley Hatch (Melbourne City FC, AUS/Washington Spirit; 1/0), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC; 1/0), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 135/81), Christen Press (Houston Dash; 97/44), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 30/8), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 130/34), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 16/4)


SheBelieves Cup Schedule:

March 1 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio

England vs. France | 4 p.m. ET

USA vs. Germany | 7 p.m. ET  | ESPN2

March 4 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

USA vs. France  | Noon ET | ESPN2

Germany vs. England  | 3 p.m. ET

March 7 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida

France vs. Germany | 4 p.m. ET

USA vs. England | 7 p.m. ET | ESPNews


This article has been updated with additional quotes and information following a conference call with U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis.

Emily van Egmond signs with the Orlando Pride

The Australian midfielder played in the NWSL in 2013 and 2014

Australian midfielder Emily van Egmond has signed with the Orlando Pride. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Emily van Egmond is returning to the NWSL. The Orlando Pride have signed the Australian midfielder, the club announced Wednesday. The signing is pending receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

Van Egmond appeared in six games for Seattle Reign FC in 2013 and then ten games for the Chicago Red Stars in 2014. Most recently, van Egmond played for Newcastle Jets of the W-League in Australia, scoring four goals and five assists in 12 games this past season.

“Emily is high-quality, creative midfield player with a determined and winning attitude, and the ability to get forward and score goals,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said in a statement. “She also brings vast international experience to our squad, even though she’s only 24 years old. With World Cup, Olympic and Champions League experience, she is another strong addition to the Pride. We are thrilled to welcome her.”

Sermanni is familiar with van Egmond as she earned her first cap in 2010 while he was Australia’s head coach. She went on to appear in three games at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup for Australia while Sermanni coached the team and has appeared regularly for Australia since then.

She joins fellow Australian Alanna Kennedy on the Pride roster. The Matildas will next take part in the Algarve Cup, which begins February 28. After that, they’ll have their FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, from April 7-22.

Utah Royals FC sign Thorsnes and Kolmel

The NWSL preseason begins on February 19

Norwegian forward Elise Thorsnes has joined Utah Royals FC. (Photo credit: Andrew Katsampes/akactionphoto.com

Utah Royals FC have signed Norwegian forward Elise Thorsnes and former FC Kansas City defender Brittany (Taylor) Kolmel, the club announced Wednesday.

“[Thorsnes] is a player that has a proven record at the international level, she can play in multiple positions on the pitch and is comfortable on both sides,” Utah head coach Laura Harvey said in a statement from the club. “She has just come off the back end of her professional Australian season, where she showed she has a good eye for goal. Bringing any international player into the NWSL is always a fantastic thing for the league, and I think Elise’s style of play and her competitive attitude is something that allows her transition into our setup to be an exciting one.”

Thorsnes most recently played in the Australian W-League with Canberra United, scoring six goals in nine games. She also had been on the roster for Avaldsnes IL in Norway since 2015 and was the Toppserien’s leading scorer three times (2006, 2011 and 2013). On the international level, Thorsnes has more than 100 caps with Norway’s senior team since her debut in 2006.

Kolmel is entering her sixth season in the NWSL. She spent the past two seasons with FC Kansas City after her time with the Western New York Flash (2013-2015).

Utah Royals FC said the moves completed their preseason signings. The NWSL preseason begins February 19 and the season kicks off on March 24.

Utah Royals FC sign Katrina Gorry

Gorry last played in the NWSL in 2014

Australian midfielder Katrina Gorry is headed back to the NWSL this season for Utah Royals FC. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Utah Royals FC have signed Australian midfielder Katrina Gorry, the club announced Wednesday.

Gorry previously played in the NWSL for FC Kansas City in 2014 and scored one goal in nine regular season appearances. Most recently, she played for Brisbane Roar of the W-League in Australia last season and scored two goals in 13 games.

“Katrina is a player that I have watched for a few years now. She has experience of playing in the U.S. with FC Kansas City,” Utah head coach Laura Harvey said in a club press release. “Since she was here, she has gone away and developed her game further, and now together we felt it was the right time for her to come back to the league. Katrina has proven she can play anywhere in the world and I’m excited to get her back to the NWSL.”

On the international side, Gorry has 14 goals in 56 appearances for Australia. The Matildas will next take part in the Algarve Cup, which begins February 28. After that, they’ll have their FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, from April 7-22.

Ellie Carpenter joins Portland Thorns FC

Carpenter will join the Thorns in April

Australian defender Ellie Carpenter in action at the 2017 Tournament of Nations. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Australian defender Ellie Carpenter has signed with Portland Thorns FC, the club announced Tuesday. The deal is pending receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

Carpenter made her international debut at the age of 15 during Australia’s Olympic qualifying in 2016. She has 13 appearances and one goal with the senior team. She will join the Thorns after Australia takes part in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup from April 7-22. The tournament is the AFC’s qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Thorns said Carpenter’s contract will begin on April 28 — which is also her 18th birthday.

“This is an exciting move for us and for Ellie,” Thorns coach Mark Parsons said in a Portland news release. “We are signing a powerful, attacking fullback that can help us now and also has huge upside in the long term. Ellie has strong technical ability with an attacking attitude that will add to our play out of the back. Her winning mentality to improve and compete makes her a great addition to our group.”

Carpenter most recently played for Canberra United in the W-League. Last season, she scored two goals and two assists in ten games.

“Ellie is regarded as one of the top young players in the world and we are delighted by the opportunity to further her development,” Thorns GM and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson said. “She fits a positional need and we look forward to her joining the club after she turns 18.”

Carpenter joins fellow Australians Hayley Raso, Ashley Sykes and Caitlin Foord with the Thorns. Foord was injured in the W-League semifinals last weekend.

Dash acquire Tiffany Weimer from the Spirit

The Spirit selected Weimer in last month’s dispersal draft

Former Breakers forward Tiffany Weimer is headed to Houston. (Photo credit: Mike Gridley/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL preseason begins next week, but the offseason trade train keeps rolling. On Tuesday, the Houston Dash acquired Tiffany Weimer from the Washington Spirit in exchange for Houston’s natural fourth-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

The Spirit selected Weimer in the third round of last month’s dispersal draft, in which former Boston Breakers players were selected after the club ceased operations.

This season will be the forward’s sixth in the NWSL. Weimer played for Portland Thorns FC in 2013, the Washington Spirit in the 2014 and 2015, FC Kansas City in 2016 and then the Breakers in 2017.

The Dash now have three players who were under contract by the Breakers on their roster. Houston selected two of those players in that dispersal draft, and according to the 2018 roster rules, teams can have up to four former Boston players on their roster, without having them count against the roster limit. Teams will be responsible for their salary, but it won’t count against the salary cap.

Houston also selected the rights to Kyah Simon, but because she was on the “retired” list she will count against the roster limit and salary cap.

NWSL Abroad: W-League Grand Final set for Sunday; Foord injured

Sydney FC and Melbourne City FC will meet on Sunday

Australia forward Caitlin Foord was traded to Portland Thorns FC this offseason. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Sydney FC and Melbourne City FC will meet on Sunday in the W-League 2018 Grand Final at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

Two NWSL players will be on the field for Sydney FC in the match: Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and Thorns defender Emily Sonnett.

One player who will not be there on Sunday is Sydney FC forward Caitlin Foord. Foord, the former Sky Blue FC forward who was acquired by Portland Thorns FC in a blockbuster offseason trade, suffered a foot injury in last week’s semifinal match.

On Monday, she announced on social media that she had ruptured the lisfranc ligament in her foot and would be undergoing surgery on Tuesday. While it’s unclear how long she will be out, it’s unlikely she will be in action for the Australian national team or Portland for several months.

“A massive positive – I have a lot of things to keep me motivated and working hard towards,” Foord wrote.

Many NWSL players will also be on the other side of the field on Sunday. Melbourne City FC features a number of members of Seattle Reign FC: goalkeeper Lydia Williams, defender Steph Catley, defender Lauren Barnes, forward Larissa Crummer, forward Jodie Taylor and midfielder Jess Fishlock. Also on their roster: Pride midfielder Alanna Kennedy, Sky Blue FC defender Rebekah Stott, Courage forward Ashley Hatch and forward Kyah Simon, whose rights were acquired by the Dash in last month’s dispersal draft.

Sydney FC made the Grand Final thanks to a 3-2 extra time win over Newcastle Jets.

Sonnett earned the assist on Lisa DeVanna’s game-winning extra time goal in the 98th minute. Sydney had been up 2-0, but Tara Andrews scored in the 92nd minute for Newcastle to push it to extra time.


Melbourne won their semifinal 2-0 over Brisbane Roar FC thanks to goals from Aivi Luik and Fishlock.

Melbourne City has won the last two Grand Finals. Sydney FC last won in 2013.

International news: Erceg back with New Zealand; Nielsen named to Denmark roster

Abby Erceg will return for New Zealand's March friendly vs. Scotland

Courage defender Abby Erceg in action for North Carolina in 201. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

North Carolina Courage defender Abby Erceg is back with the New Zealand national team.

Erceg announced her retirement from international soccer last year, but last week said she is coming out of retirement and will rejoin the national team. On Monday, New Zealand officially named her to the roster for their upcoming friendlies vs. Scotland.

“Alrighty, I’m gonna give this another go. After much thought, discussion, negotiating and time away, the time is right to step back in,” she wrote in a post on Twitter

Erceg will be joined on the roster for the March 4 and 7 games by fellow NWSL players Katie Bowen (Utah Royals FC) and Rebekah Stott (Sky Blue FC).

In February 2017, Erceg wrote in a post on Instagram, “Due to the unfortunate and unfavourable circumstances within the organisation that is [New Zealand Football], it is with regret and great sadness that today is the day that I announce my retirement from the international game. Without being able to justify my involvement any longer I will be stepping back in the hopes to create change for the current and future generations of [New Zealand] footballers.”

Former Seattle Reign FC defender Rachel Corsie was named to Scotland’s roster for the match. Former Reign midfielder Kim Little, who returned to Arsenal’s bench over the weekend but did not play, was not called in by Scotland for the match. She is recovering a torn ACL suffered last May.


The Algarve Cup is just around the corner, and the rosters for that tournament have started to be released.

Denmark shared their squad on Monday, and new Reign defender Theresa Nielsen has been called in for the tournament. The Reign announced the signing of Nielsen on January 31. Former Thorns forward Nadia Nadim, who is now with Manchester City, is also on the roster.

Denmark finished second in the Euro 2017 tournament. They’ll be joined in the Algarve Cup by Australia, Norway, Korea Republic, Portugal, Sweden, Canada, China, Russia, Netherlands, Japan and Iceland.

The tournament will take place from February 28 to March 7.


The SheBelieves Cup is also taking place in March and one of the team’s involved released their roster on Monday as well.

Germany named their 23-player roster ahead of the tournament. They’ll face the United States, England and France from March 1 to 7.

France won the SheBelieves Cup in 2017.

Roster news: Utah Royals FC announce more signings; Pride waive Driesse and Fields

Preseason begins on February 19

Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart will be with Utah Royals FC this season. (Photo credit: Amy Kontras/isiphotos.com)

On Monday afternoon, Utah Royals FC announced that four more FC Kansas City players will be joining the team in Utah for the 2018 season.

Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, defender Katie Bowen, midfielder Becca Moros and defender Alex Arlitt will be on the roster for Utah coach Laura Harvey this year.

“Our aim was always to bring back the core group that know what it takes to be successful in this league,” Harvey said in a statement released by the club on Monday.

Barnhart will be part of a trio of goalkeepers in Utah, joining former Boston Breakers goalkeeper Abby Smith, acquired in last month’s dispersal draft, and 2018 NWSL College Draft pick EJ Proctor.

Also on Monday, Bowen was named to New Zealand’s roster for their March friendlies vs. Scotland.


The Orlando Pride have waived forward Jamia Fields, the club announced Monday.

Fields was selected in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft and appeared in 28 games over two seasons in Orlando. She played for the Western New York Flash in 2015.

“It’s a sad and difficult decision to release one of our founding players,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said in a statement from the club.  “I’d like to thank Jamia for her passion and outstanding commitment to the Pride over the past two seasons. She has been a consummate professional throughout her time at the Club. We wish her every success with her career moving forward.”

On Friday, Orlando waived midfielder Nickolette Driesse. Driesse was selected in the third round of the 2017 NWSL College Draft and appeared in four matches for the Pride in her rookie season.

Briana Scurry inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame

Tony DiCicco also honored on Saturday night in Orlando

Washington Spirit assistant coach Briana Scurry was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday. (Photo credit: Jose L. Argueta/isiphotos.com)

Former U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Briana Scurry was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday in Orlando.

Scurry, who didn’t start soccer until the age of 12, won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991 and 1999. She won Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004.

Scurry is currently the assistant coach for the Washington Spirit. She played in WUSA for the Atlanta Beat and WPS for the Washington Freedom.

“I define success in many ways. You have to have grit. You have to have heart. You have to have resilience. And it doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of luck. A Kristine Lilly on the left side of your post when you need it. And three angels,” she said in her induction speech, referring to friends and family.

Also on Saturday night, former U.S. women’s national team coach Tony DiCicco, who passed away in 2017, was posthumously honored with the 2018 Werner Fricker Builder Award.

“The Werner Fricker Award honors those who left a positive legacy on American soccer and no one embodies that more than Tony DiCicco,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said at the ceremony.

The award was accepted by his son, Anthony. “Rather than mourning the loss of Tony, we have sought all year to celebrate his contributions on and off the field,” he said.

Kassey Kallman says she will not return to the NWSL in 2018

Kallman says she is not retiring

Defender Kassey Kallman appeared in 17 games for the Spirit in 2017. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

In a social media post shared Monday, Washington Spirit defender Kassey Kallman said she won’t return to the NWSL in 2018.

With a conflicted heart, I’m announcing that I will not be returning to the NWSL for this upcoming season as of now. Stepping away from the game I love has been a tough decision, but I’m certain it’s the right decision for me at this time,” she wrote.  “I’m definitely not calling it a retirement. If situations align in the future I would love nothing more than stepping back on the field in the best league in the world.”

Kallman has played four seasons in the NWSL. Her first was with FC Kansas City in 2014. She then spent two years in Boston with the Breakers before being traded to the Spirit ahead of the 2017 season. She played 17 matches and 1,400 minutes for the Spirit last season.

Utah Royals FC complete technical staff for 2018

Stephanie Lee will be the managing director and Amy LePeilbet assistant coach

Former FC Kansas City defender Amy LePeilbet will be an assistant coach for Utah Royals FC. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Utah Royals FC have named Stephanie Lee managing director, the club announced Friday. They also announced the remaining members of the technical staff.

Lee previously worked for Seattle Reign FC as as director of soccer and player operations for the past three years.

Joining Laura Harvey’s coaching staff as assistant coach is former FC Kansas City defender Amy LePeilbet, who retired in 2015. Since then, LePeilbet has lived in Salt Lake and was the U14 & U15 coach for the Utah Avalanche club.

Also joining the technical staff: Jason Batty (goalkeeper coach), Melissa Terry (sports performance coach); Emily Fortunato (head athletic trainer); Karly Cebula (equipment manager) and Philippe Tabet (team administrator).

The 2018 NWSL preseason begins on February 19 and the new season — Utah’s inaugural season — begins on March 24.

Notebook: Utah, Houston make roster moves; Chicago adds to coaching staff

Five more players to join Utah's roster

Maegan Kelly after scoring vs. the Red Stars (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

With the NWSL preseason set to begin Monday, February 19, several teams made news on Thursday:

Two days after announcing Amy Rodriguez will be part of the team in 2018, Utah Royals FC announced five more former FC Kansas City players will be in Utah this season.

Utah Royals FC said the five players will arrive in Utah next week: midfielder Maegan Kelly, midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta, defender Sydney Miramontez, midfielder Alexa Newfield and forward Brittany Ratcliffe.

“When we were building the roster, it was important to make sure that we brought back balance and experience from the previous group,” Utah head coach Laura Harvey said in a statement. “Adding all these players into the roster is an excellent example of this. They all have that experience and understand what it takes to be successful at this level.”


The Houston Dash also continued to make roster moves as they announced that defender Bruna Benites has been waived after spending one season with the Dash.


The Red Stars announced that Gary Curneen and Craig Harrington have been named to the coaching staff in Chicago by head coach Rory Dames.

Curneen joins the Red Stars after being the head coach at California State University Bakersfield since 2014. Harrington was most recently the technical director of the Turks and Caicos Islands men’s national team ahead of the 2014 Caribbean Cup Qualifying before leaving the post in 2016.


Also on Thursday, the Courage announced that Makenzy Doniak has renewed her contract with the team, and will return to North Carolina for the 2018 season.

Utah Royals FC make it official, Amy Rodriguez to join the team in 2018

Rodriguez is returning from an ACL tear that forced her to miss nearly all of the 2017 season

Amy Rodriguez will be back in the NWSL in 2018, at forward for Utah Royals FC. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Amy Rodriguez will be lined up at forward for Utah Royals FC this season, the club announced Tuesday.

The forward will be making her NWSL return after missing nearly all of the 2017 season with an ACL tear that she suffered in FC Kansas City’s season opener. Rodriguez scored in the 48th minute of her season debut last year, but tore the ACL in her left knee minutes later. The game had been her return to the NWSL after missing all of the 2016 season due to the birth of her son. 

“I couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming NWSL season,” Rodriguez said in a Utah news release. “I can’t wait to put on the Utah Royals FC jersey and get back on the soccer field again.”

Rodriguez was originally allocated to now Utah head coach Laura Harvey’s Seattle Reign FC side in 2013, but missed the inaugural NWSL season because of pregnancy. She was then traded in the offseason to FC Kansas City, where she vexed the Reign in two straight championships.

In 2014, she scored both goals in FCKC’s 2-1 win over the Reign. Then in 2015, Rodriguez was named the NWSL Championship MVP after scoring the 78th minute game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory.

Harvey remembers those moments well.

“Amy has proven her ability to score goals in every year that she has been fit and available in the NWSL.  I’m so excited to finally have her on my team and not have to watch her play against me, as she has always haunted my teams,” she said in a Utah statement released Tuesday.

We are excited to get Amy into Salt Lake and help finish off her rehabilitation so she can again show what a huge talent she is.”

Pride acquire Poliana from Dash

The Dash receive the Pride’s natural second round-pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft in the deal

Poliana played two seasons for the Houston Dash. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The Orlando Pride have acquired defender Poliana from the Houston Dash in exchange for Orlando’s natural second-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft, the teams announced Tuesday. After the trade, the Pride signed Poliana to a new contract for the 2018 season.

“Poliana is a player that we have admired since she joined the league. We believe she has been one of Houston’s best, most consistent players during that time,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said in a statement from the club. “What really appeals to us is that, though she plays mostly in a full back role, we think she’s the kind of player who can play anywhere. She’s intelligent, her ability to read the game is phenomenal. As well as outstanding defensive qualities, she also has the skill to get forward and score goals. She has all the characteristics we look for at our Club. I think she is an ideal fit for the Pride.”

Poliana scored four goals and two assists last season, her second with the Dash. She was named the Week 10 Player of the Week when she recorded two assists in Houston’s win at Orlando. She had five goals in 37 career games with the Dash.

She joins her Brazilian national team teammates in Marta, Camila and Monica on the Pride. Brazil will soon take part in their 2019 Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament — the CONMEBOL Copa América Femenina, which will take place April 4-22.

The Pride have been active on the trade market since the 2018 NWSL College Draft. In a series of trades, they’ve acquired defender Shelina Zadorsky, midfielder Christine Nairn, defender Carson Pickett and goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer.

The Dash, of course, made a big splash on draft day as part of the three-team mega trade that landed Christen Press in Houston.

Utah Royals FC announce jersey sponsorship

The Utah-basd company Conservice will sponsor Utah's jersey in a three-year deal

Utah Royals FC midfielders Erika Tymrak and Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsdottir in Utah's secondary jersey, revealed February 5. (Photo credit: Utah Royals FC)

Utah Royals FC announced on Monday afternoon that Conservice will be their presenting jersey partner in a three-year deal.

Utah called it the largest jersey-front sponsorship deal in U.S. professional women’s soccer. The same was reported by Sports Business Daily Monday morning, which said the deal is valued at $2 million over the three years of the sponsorship.

The jersey will feature “Conservice” across the front and the slogan “The Utility Experts” on the back, underneath the numbers.

Utah Royals FC said the primary Nike jersey look — which has yet to be revealed — will be in “Victory Gold” and available for purchase in mid-March. The secondary look, an all-white jersey revealed in photos on Monday, will be available in team stores later this month.

“The Conservice vision for our partnership aligns perfectly with our aspirations to build the world’s best women’s professional sports organization worldwide. We are grateful that Conservice recognizes the opportunity that the arrival of Utah Royals FC represents for fans across our region, and are excited to deepen their involvement in soccer,” owner Dell Loy Hansen said in Utah’s statement announcing the deal.

Conservice is a utility management company based in Logan, Utah.

Sydney Leroux traded to Orlando

Utah receives a first round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft

New Orlando Pride forward Sydney Leroux visits Orlando City Stadium. (Photo credit: Mark Thor/Orlando Pride)

Sydney Leroux is headed to Orlando. On Friday, the Pride acquired the rights to the forward from Utah Royals FC in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

The first round pick that the Pride traded to Utah was the one they acquired from Seattle Reign FC earlier this week ahead of the dispersal draft.

“It felt like a really long time coming. I knew as soon as Dom [Dwyer] got traded that we wanted to play in the same city together,” Leroux said in a video shared by the Pride on social media, referring to her husband, Dom Dwyer, who was traded to Orlando City SC last year. “Orlando’s the perfect place to do it. It’s the perfect place to raise a family. We’re just super excited that we’re all here together.”

“I’m delighted to bring a player of Sydney’s caliber and pedigree to the Pride,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said in Orlando’s announcement of the trade. “Sydney has a great work ethic, strong footballing skills and a wonderful personality that I know will fit in well with the team culture here in Orlando. We’re excited to add her to our already potent offensive force.”

Leroux played her first season for FC Kansas City last year after missing the 2016 season to due to the birth of her son. She scored in the season opener for Kansas City and went on to tally six goals and two assists in 23 games. Utah Royals FC acquired Leroux’s rights when they entered the league after FC Kansas City ceased operations. Leroux has also played for the Boston Breakers, Seattle Reign FC and the Western New York Flash in her five NWSL seasons. She has 23 career goals.

“We’re very happy we were able to bring Sydney to Orlando,” general manager Niki Budalic said.  “She’s a dynamic striker that will bring pace and goal-scoring ability to our group.  Her physicality and personality will complement our roster and club and look forward to having her with us.”

Hagen retires; Dash make roster moves; Reign set preseason schedule

Hagen scored two goals for the Dash in 2017

The Houston Dash announced a number of roster moves on Feb. 2, including Sarah Hagen's retirement from the league. (Trask Smith/ISI Photos)

Houston Dash forward Sarah Hagen has officially retired, the club announced Friday.

Hagen played four seasons in the NWSL after joining FC Kansas City in 2014. She played for the Pride in 2016 before joining the Dash in 2017. Hagen scored two goals in 18 games for Houston last season. She has 12 career NWSL goals.

Last week, Orlando City Youth announced that Hagen would join the coaching staff this spring.

Additionally, the Dash announced that midfielder Meghan Cox will miss the 2018 NWSL season and return to the University of Virginia to finish her degree program.

Houston also announced the re-signings of a trio of Dash veterans: midfielder Caity Heap, goalkeeper Bianca Henninger and defender Cami Privett.

In another roster move on Friday, the Spirit waived defender Alyssa Kleiner. Kleiner played in 35 games over the last two seasons with the Spirit.

Elsewhere around the league, Seattle Reign FC announced their preseason schedule.

First up, the Reign will play their annual match against the University of Washington on March 8 at Husky Soccer Stadium in Seattle. Then they’ll play UCLA on March 13 at SilverLakes Complex in Norco, California.

Late last month, Sky Blue FC also announced their full preseason schedule.

Dash sign Linda Motlhalo

Motlhalo played for South Africa at the Rio Olympics

South Africa midfielder Linda Motlhalo in action in a 2016 game vs. the United States. (Photo credit: Robin Alam/isiphotos.com)

South Africa midfielder Linda Motlhalo has signed with the Houston Dash, the team announced Thursday. The deal is pending the receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

Motlhalo played for South Africa at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, when new Dash coach Vera Pauw coached the side. Motlhalo appeared in all three group stage matches for South Africa in the tournament. She has two goals in 14 international appearances.

Prior to joining the Dash, Motlhalo spent two years playing for JVW F.C. of South Africa’s Sasol League.

“Linda is one of the most promising talents of women’s football at this moment. Her qualities compliment the talent we have on our roster,” Pauw said in the Dash’s news release about the signing. “She will bring variety in our attack and that will bring the best out of the other players. She can balance our team. South African players start to get recognized. Linda deserves this next step in her career. She has proven herself at the Olympics in Rio on a global stage.”

Reign sign Nielsen, waive Corsie; Dash sign Hahn and Wetherington

Seattle and Houston made several roster moves on Wednesday afternoon

Denmark defender Theresa Nielsen (left) and Reign defender Rachel Corsie. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Seattle Reign FC announced Wednesday that they had signed Denmark defender Theresa NielsenNielsen’s signing is pending receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate

Nielsen joins the Reign for the 2018 season, after playing for Vålerenga Fotball Damer in Norway in 2017. Prior to that, she played for Brøndby IF in Denmark.

Nielsen was also a member of Denmark’s Euro 2017 team, which finished second in the tournament this past summer in the Netherlands. She was named to the Best XI following the tournament.

“Theresa was one of the players on my wish list when I accepted the job in Seattle,” new Reign head coach Vlatko Andonovski said in the Reign’s news release about the trade. “Her ability to attack from the back is what is going to make us more dangerous as a team.”

“I’m very grateful to be getting the opportunity to play for Reign FC,” said Nielsen. “The U.S. has some of the greatest players in the world, and I’m very excited that I’ll be blessed with the chance to play with and against them.”

The Reign also announced on Wednesday that they had waived defender Rachel Corsie. Corsie played for Seattle from 2015-17 and started 37 games for the Reign.

“Rachel was a special player for this club and will be missed,” Reign FC owner Bill Predmore said in a statement from the Reign. “Rachel played a role in some of the club’s biggest moments and has been a part of many special memories in and around the club. It is difficult to see her go, but she departs with our appreciation and deepest respect for all she contributed to the organization.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Reign traded defender Merritt Mathias to North Carolina.

Also on Wednesday, the Houston Dash signed a pair of midfielders: Michaela Hahn and Allison Wetherington.

Hahn played for the Western New York Flash in 2016, scoring one goal in 13 games, before spending time in 2017 in Cyprus playing for Apollon Ladies F.C. She was also signed briefly by the Reign in 2017, but did not appear in a game for Seattle. 

Wetherington played for the University of Portland from 2013-16. She scored 13 goals and 20 assists in her college career. 

The news comes two days after the Dash announced that Kealia Ohai had re-signed with the team ahead of the 2018 season.

Trade: Merritt Mathias to North Carolina

Seattle sends Mathias and a second round draft pick to North Carolina in exchange for first round pick

Merritt Mathias in action for Seattle Reign FC in 2017 (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The North Carolina Courage have acquired defender Merritt Mathias in a trade with Seattle Reign FC, the teams announced Wednesday.

In the deal, Seattle sent Mathias and their natural second round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft to North Carolina in exchange for the Courage’s natural first round pick in the same draft.

Mathias has played for Seattle and FC Kansas City in her five NWSL seasons. She was acquired by the Reign in a trade ahead of the 2015 season. She scored two goals and an assist for the Reign last season.

“Merritt is a proven professional and has aspirations to play at the international level,” Courage coach Paul Riley said in a team news release about the trade. “She is powerful, quick and will provide a fantastic attacking spark out of the back. I drafted her in WPS, so I know her qualities. Love her mindset, final third prowess, and desire to push the envelope. The fans will embrace her attitude, bite and tenacity. Certainly a huge addition to our squad, and we look forward to getting the best out of her performance”

 

Spirit select Lavelle with first pick in dispersal draft; Full dispersal draft results

The Washington Spirit acquired the first pick in a trade with Sky Blue FC

Rose Lavelle during the 2017 season. (Photo credit: Mike Gridley/isiphotos.com)

Rose Lavelle was selected first by the Washington Spirit in the 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft, which took place on Tuesday afternoon. Players from the Boston Breakers, which ceased operations on Sunday, were available for selection by the league’s nine teams.

The Spirit acquired the first pick in a trade with Sky Blue FC, who had held the first pick after Monday’s weighted draw. In exchange for the pick, the Spirit sent No. 2 overall pick in the dispersal draft and a conditional first-round and natural second pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft to Sky Blue FC. With the second pick in the dispersal draft, Sky Blue selected Savannah McCaskill. McCaskill was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft earlier this month.

Four players listed on the retired list were selected: Kyah Simon by the Houston Dash, Whitney Engen by the Chicago Red Stars, Lindsay Elston by Seattle Reign FC and Amanda DaCosta by Utah Royals FC. Per the 2018 roster rules, players listed on the retired list will count against the teams roster for the 2018 season. The rest of the players selected in Tuesday’s draft were under contract or a 2018 NWSL College Draft Pick. Teams are able to have up to four of those players not count against their 2018 roster. Full 2018 roster rules

Full results of the dispersal draft:

First Round

  1. Rose Lavelle (FED-USA) | Washington Spirit (via Sky Blue FC)
  2. Savannah McCaskill | Sky Blue FC (via Washington Spirit)
  3. Megan Oyster | Seattle Reign FC
  4. Margaret Purce | Portland Thorns FC
  5. Abby Smith | Utah Royals FC
  6. Rights to Kyah Simon (INTL-AUS) | Houston Dash
  7. Rosie White (INTL-NZL) | Chicago Red Stars
  8. Elizabeth Addo (INTL-GHA) | Seattle Reign FC (via Orlando Pride)  
  9. Julie King | North Carolina Courage

Second Round

  1. Allysha Chapman (FED-CAN) | North Carolina Courage
  2. Morgan Andrews | Seattle Reign FC (via Orlando Pride)
  3. Ashton Miller | Chicago Red Stars
  4. Lotta Ökvist (INTL-SWE) | Houston Dash
  5. Katie Stengel | Utah Royals FC
  6. Angela Salem | Portland Thorns FC
  7. Christen Westphal | Seattle Reign FC
  8. Elizabeth Wenger | Washington Spirit
  9. Adriana Leon (INTL-CAN) | Sky Blue FC

Third Round

  1. Amanda Frisbie | Sky Blue FC
  2. Tiffany Weimer | Washington Spirit
  3. Rights to Lindsay Elston | Seattle Reign FC
  4. Ifeoma Onumonu | Portland Thorns FC
  5. Brooke Elby | Utah Royals FC
  6. Sammy Jo Prudhomme | Houston Dash
  7. Joanna Boyles | Chicago Red Stars
  8. Orlando Pride passed (per the rules of the draft, once a team passed on a pick, they forfeited the remainder of their picks in the draft)
  9. North Carolina Courage passed

Fourth Round

  1. North Carolina Courage passed
  2. Orlando Pride passed
  3. Rights to Whitney Engen | Chicago Red Stars
  4. Houston Dash passed
  5. Rights to Amanda DaCosta | Utah Royals FC
  6. Portland Thorns FC passed
  7. Seattle Reign FC passed
  8. Washington Spirit passed
  9. Sky Blue FC passed

Fifth Round

  1. Sky Blue FC passed
  2. Washington Spirit passed
  3. Seattle Reign FC passed
  4. Portland Thorns FC passed
  5. Utah Royals FC passed
  6. Houston Dash passed
  7. Chicago Red Stars passed

The draft concluded once every team had passed.


Players not selected in the draft:

Contracted Players

Hayley Dowd

Natasha Dowie (INTL-ENG)

Retired Players

Mollie Pathman

Louise Schillgard (INTL-SWE)


Teams had up until 1 p.m. ET Tuesday to trade their picks, after the order was set via a weighted random draw that took place on Monday morning at the NWSL office in Chicago.

Before the deadline, Sky Blue FC traded the No. 1 overall pick in the dispersal draft to the Washington Spirit in return for the No. 2 overall pick in the dispersal draft and a conditional first-round and natural second pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

Also, the Orlando Pride traded the No. 8 and No. 11 picks in the dispersal draft to Seattle Reign FC in exchange for Seattle’s natural first-round in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

The draft was a “snake” draft, meaning the order of the picks reversed after each round. The first round was picks 1 through 9 and then the second round was 9 through 1, and so on. Full 2018 roster rules, dispersal draft rules, the original draft order and available players can be found here.

Final order set for dispersal draft

Updated order following a trade between the Pride and Reign

The 2018 NWSL Nike ball. (Photo credit: Meg Linehan/NWSL Media)

The final order for Tuesday’s 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft has been set. Players from the Boston Breakers, which ceased operations on Sunday, will be available for selection by the league’s nine teams.

Teams had up until 1 p.m. ET Tuesday to trade their picks. Before the deadline, Sky Blue FC traded the No. 1 overall pick in the dispersal draft to the Washington Spirit in return for the No. 2 overall pick in the dispersal draft and a conditional first-round and natural second pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

Also, the Orlando Pride traded the No. 8 and No. 11 picks in the dispersal draft to Seattle Reign FC in exchange for Seattle’s natural first-round in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

Full roster and dispersal draft rules, as well as the original draft order and available players can be found here.

Fans can follow the draft as it happens at 4 p.m. ET on Twitter via @NWSL.

2018 Dispersal Draft Order:

First Round

  1. Washington Spirit (via Sky Blue FC)
  2. Sky Blue FC (via Washington Spirit)
  3. Seattle Reign FC
  4. Portland Thorns FC
  5. Utah Royals FC
  6. Houston Dash
  7. Chicago Red Stars
  8. Seattle Reign FC (via Orlando Pride)  
  9. North Carolina Courage

Second Round

  1.  North Carolina Courage
  2.  Seattle Reign FC (via Orlando Pride)
  3.  Chicago Red Stars
  4.  Houston Dash
  5.  Utah Royals FC
  6.  Portland Thorns FC
  7.  Seattle Reign FC
  8.  Washington Spirit
  9.  Sky Blue FC

Third Round

  1.  Sky Blue FC
  2.  Washington Spirit
  3.  Seattle Reign FC
  4.  Portland Thorns FC
  5.  Utah Royals FC
  6.  Houston Dash
  7.  Chicago Red Stars
  8.  Orlando Pride
  9.  North Carolina Courage

Fourth Round

  1.  North Carolina Courage
  2.  Orlando Pride
  3.  Chicago Red Stars
  4.  Houston Dash
  5.  Utah Royals FC
  6.  Portland Thorns FC
  7.  Seattle Reign FC
  8.  Washington Spirit
  9.  Sky Blue FC  

Draft Rules

Assets available via draft include the following:

  • Players under contract with NWSL whose rights are assigned to Boston (including allocated players)
  • Players whose rights are controlled by Boston (including retired players)
  • Rights to players on Boston’s Discovery List

The Dispersal Draft will last until all teams have passed or no players or other assets are available for selection.

  • Each team will have two (2) minutes to make its selection.
  • No time-outs will be permitted.
  • Teams may not make trades during the draft.
  • Teams are permitted to “pass” when it is their turn to make a selection. Once a team has passed on a selection, the team forfeits the remainder of its selections in the dispersal draft.

Michelle Betos signs with Seattle Reign FC

Betos was named NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year in 2015

Michelle Betos returns to the NWSL after Tuesday's signing by Seattle Reign FC. (Photo credit: Roy K. Miller/ISI photos)

Goalkeeper Michelle Betos has signed with Seattle Reign FC, the team announced Tuesday. The deal is pending receipt of her International Transfer Certificate.

Betos appeared in seven games for the Reign in 2013 before joining Portland Thorns FC from 2014-2016. She won the 2015 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award during her time with the Thorns. She spent 2016 in Norway with Vålerenga Fotball Damer.

“The packed schedule and international calendar meant that we need a pair of experienced keepers to see us through the season,” Seattle head coach Vlatko Andonovski said in the Reign’s announcement. “Michelle’s experience in the league and abroad – as well as her familiarity with the club – made her the perfect fit. Plus, as I witnessed first-hand, she may even be good for a goal or two this season.”

Betos is the only goalkeeper in NWSL history to score in a match — a late game-tying goal in stoppage time against Andonovski’s FC Kansas City in 2015. With the Thorns down 1-0 and down a player, Betos headed home a corner kick in the 95th minute.

Catley, Spencer to Seattle and Nairn, Pickett, Kopmeyer to Orlando in pair of trades

Seattle also sends their natural third round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft to Orlando

Defender Steph Catley (left) and midfielder Christine Nairn. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Seattle Reign FC and the Orlando Pride announced a pair of trades on Monday afternoon that will see five players moving cities.

In the first trade, the Reign sent midfielder Christine Nairn and defender Carson Pickett to the Pride in exchange for defender Steph Catley. In the second trade, Seattle sent goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer and their natural third round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft to Orlando in exchange for forward Jasmyne Spencer.

In comments released by the Reign, head coach Vlatko Adonovski reacted to the two trades. “Catley is one of the best outside backs in the world and will provide a tremendous boost to our squad,” he said. “The addition of Spencer will add a new dimension to our attack, complementing what we have in [Nahomi Kawasumi][Megan] Rapinoe, [Beverly] Yanez, [Larissa] Crummer and [Jodie] Taylor.”

Catley has played for the Pride and Portland Thorns FC since joining the NWSL in 2014. The Australian international was a finalist for NWSL Defender of the Year in 2017. She had a goal and three assists in her time with Orlando, including the first goal in Pride history.

Spencer has spent five seasons in the NWSL. She has 13 career goals across her time with the Pride, Washington Spirit and Western New York Flash.

On the Orlando side of the trade, head coach Tom Sermanni commented on the Pride’s new players. “We put a significant emphasis last year on international players and the downside of that, particularly when there’s a World Cup year coming up soon, is that you’re going to lose those international players from time to time. So it’s really important to have depth and quality with your domestic players and I think these three players bring us that,” Sermanni said in Orlando’s news release about the trade.   

Nairn has played all five seasons in the NWSL, spending time with both the Reign and Spirit. She has 18 career goals and was one of the first players to appear in 100 career NWSL games.

Kopmeyer was drafted in 2013 and has spent her entire career with the Reign. She started 20 games for Seattle in 2017 and earned two clean sheets.

Pickett was drafted by Seattle in 2016. She started 21 games at left back for the Reign last season.

NWSL announces dispersal draft order and available players

The 2018 Dispersal Draft will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. ET

NWSL logo (Photo credit: Jose L. Argueta/isiphotos.com)

On Monday afternoon, the NWSL announced the order for Tuesday’s dispersal draft, in which players from the Boston Breakers will be available for selection by the league’s nine teams. The NWSL also announced the players that will be available for selection in the dispersal draft. All players were given until Noon ET Monday to opt out of the draft and pursue opportunities outside the NWSL after the Breakers ceased operations on Sunday.

The draft will be a “snake” draft, meaning the order of the picks will reverse after each round. The first round will be picks 1 through 9 and then the second round will be 9 through 1, and so on. It will take place on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.

The draft order was selected by NWSL managing director Amanda Duffy at the NWSL office in Chicago shortly after 10 a.m. ET on an internal live stream that all teams were able to watch. The order was determined by a random weighted draw. Each team that did not make the playoffs in 2017 had their name put into two envelopes and each 2017 playoff team’s name was put into one envelope, meaning there were 14 total envelopes. Each envelope was then then pulled randomly out of a bowl to determine the draft order. If a team was selected twice, the second selection was ignored, as the team was already placed in the order.

Dispersal Draft Order:

  1. Sky Blue FC
  2. Washington Spirit
  3. Seattle Reign FC
  4. Portland Thorns FC
  5. Utah Royals FC
  6. Houston Dash
  7. Chicago Red Stars
  8. Orlando Pride
  9. North Carolina Courage

Teams will be allowed to trade their picks in the draft until 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The NWSL will then release a final dispersal draft order. The dispersal draft will take place at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.


On Sunday, the NWSL shared the rules of the draft and the related roster rules for the 2018 season:

Draft Rules

Assets available via draft include the following:

  • Players under contract with NWSL whose rights are assigned to Boston (including allocated players)
  • Players whose rights are controlled by Boston (including retired players)
  • Rights to players on Boston’s Discovery List

The Dispersal Draft will last until all teams have passed or no players or other assets are available for selection.

  • Each team will have two (2) minutes to make its selection.
  • No time-outs will be permitted.
  • Teams may not make trades during the draft.
  • Teams are permitted to “pass” when it is their turn to make a selection. Once a team has passed on a selection, the team forfeits the remainder of its selections in the dispersal draft.

Roster Rules:

For the 2018 season, NWSL roster size will remain unchanged, with a minimum of 18 players and a maximum of 20 players required for each club.

Contracted players (including allocated players) and 2018 College Draft picks selected via the Dispersal Draft will not count against the club’s official 18-20 player roster for the 2018 season, and teams may add up to a total of four (4) players. They will not count against the club’s salary cap for the 2018 season, and housing and auto expenses will not count against the Permitted Team Assistance Cap. Teams will be responsible for all additional salary and Permitted Team Assistance expenses for contracted players and 2018 draftees selected in the Dispersal Draft.

Players on Boston’s Discovery list and retired players whose rights are selected and go on to sign a standard player agreement will count against the club’s official 18-20 player roster for the 2018 season. These players will also count against the club’s salary cap for the 2018 season, and all expenses will count against the Permitted Team Assistance Cap.

Any team requiring an international roster spot for a contracted player and 2018 draftee selected will receive an additional international spot, which will stay with the player if traded during the current season.

Any player participating the Dispersal Draft who is not selected will immediately become discovery eligible.


2018 Dispersal Draft – Available Players

Contracted Players

Addo, Elizabeth (INTL – GHA)

Andrews, Morgan

Chapman, Allysha (FED – CAN)

Dowd, Hayley

Dowie, Natasha (INTL – ENG)

Elby, Brooke

Frisbie, Amanda

King, Julie

Lavelle, Rose (FED – USA)

Leon, Adriana (INTL – CAN)

Okvist, Lotta (INTL – SWE)

Onomonu, Ifeoma

Oyster, Megan

Prudhomme, Sammy Jo

Purce, Margaret

Salem, Angela

Smith, Abby

Stengel, Katie

Weimer, Tiffany

Westphal, Christen

White, Rosie (INTL – NZL)

2018 College Draft Picks

Boyles, Joanna

McCaskill, Savannah

Miller, Ashton

Wenger, Elizabeth

Retired Players

DaCosta, Amanda

Elston, Lindsay

Engen, Whitney

Pathman, Mollie

Schillgard, Louise (INTL – SWE)

Simon, Kyah (INTL – AUS)

Discovery Players

None

Kealia Ohai re-signs with the Dash

Ohai has 21 goals in four seasons with Houston

Forward Kealia Ohai in action for the Dash in 2017. (Photo credit: Trask Smith/isiphotos.com)

Houston Dash forward Kealia Ohai has re-signed with the team, the Dash announced Monday.

Ohai tore her ACL on June 24 vs. the Orlando Pride and played in just 10 games last season. She registered two goals and two assists in those games before missing the remainder of the year.

Ohai finished 2016 tied for the league-lead in goals with 11 goals. After being drafted by the Dash with the No. 2 pick in 2014 (their first ever draft pick), she has 21 career goals.

NWSL announces Boston Breakers to cease operations

Full details on the 2018 season and the dispersal draft

The National Women’s Soccer League issued the following news release:

CHICAGO (Jan. 28, 2018) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that the Boston Breakers will cease operations, effective immediately. The 2018 NWSL season will now feature a nine-team, single-table alignment with a 24-game schedule that will see each club play three games against every opponent in the league. 

“The Boston Breakers are one of the longest running and most historic clubs in women’s soccer, so we certainly understand that fans of the NWSL and the sport will be disappointed to learn of the club’s decision to cease operations,” said NWSL Managing Director Amanda Duffy. “In the best interest for the long-term viability of the NWSL, we will operate with nine clubs in 2018 to ensure a stronger league where all parties involved are aligned and committed to the core mission of continued growth and development as we move into our sixth season.”

Breakers fans who have placed deposits on their 2018 season tickets will be contacted, and provided full refunds.

“We do not doubt the fan support or interest in women’s soccer in Boston or New England, and the measure taken by the Breakers organization does not reflect the passion we have seen from our fans,” Duffy added. “We sincerely thank you for your years of commitment, and we look forward to one day returning to the city of Boston.”

In conjunction with this announcement, NWSL will conduct a Dispersal Draft of the Boston roster at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 30. All Breakers players will be placed into a Dispersal Draft pool – including players selected in the 2018 College Draft. The weighted draw for the Dispersal Draft Order will be determined the morning of Monday, Jan. 29.

Players may opt-out of the draft by Noon ET on Monday, Jan. 29 to pursue opportunities outside of the NWSL and would not become discovery eligible to return to the league until after the end of the 2018 season. Teams will be allowed to trade their picks in the draft following the weighted draw until 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 30 following which a final Dispersal Draft order will be released.

For the 2018 season, NWSL roster size will remain unchanged, with a minimum of 18 players and a maximum of 20 players required for each club.

Contracted players (including allocated players) and 2018 College Draft picks selected via the Dispersal Draft will not count against the club’s official 18-20 player roster for the 2018 season, and teams may add up to a total of four (4) players. They will not count against the club’s salary cap for the 2018 season, and housing and auto expenses will not count against the Permitted Team Assistance Cap. Teams will be responsible for all additional salary and Permitted Team Assistance expenses for contracted players and 2018 draftees selected in the Dispersal Draft.

Players on Boston’s Discovery list and retired players whose rights are selected and go on to sign a standard player agreement will count against the club’s official 18-20 player roster for the 2018 season. These players will also count against the club’s salary cap for the 2018 season, and all expenses will count against the Permitted Team Assistance Cap.

Any team requiring an international roster spot for a contracted player and 2018 draftee selected will receive an additional international spot, which will stay with the player if traded during the current season.

Any player participating the Dispersal Draft who is not selected will immediately become discovery eligible.

See below for a breakdown of the timeline, order and rules for the Dispersal Draft.

2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft Timeline

Monday, Jan. 29

12 p.m. ET – Players window to opt-out of the draft closes

2 p.m. ET – Announcement of draft order and available players

Tuesday, Jan. 30

1 p.m. ET – Trade window closes for draft picks

2 p.m. ET – Announcement of final draft order

4 p.m. ET – 2018 Dispersal Draft

Draft Order

To determine the draft order, the NWSL will hold a random weighted draw using an envelope method and will utilize a snake method for the selection process. The system will be weighted by giving one envelope to each team that qualified for the playoffs and two envelopes to each non-playoff team.

Draft Envelopes

1 – North Carolina Courage

1 – Portland Thorns FC

1 – Orlando Pride

1 – Chicago Red Stars

2 – Seattle Reign FC

2 – Sky Blue FC

2 – Utah Royals FC (via KC)

2 – Houston Dash

2 – Washington Spirit

Draft Rules

Assets available via draft include the following:

  • Players under contract with NWSL whose rights are assigned to Boston (including allocated players)
  • Players whose rights are controlled by Boston (including retired players)
  • Rights to players on Boston’s Discovery List

The Dispersal Draft will last until all teams have passed or no players or other assets are available for selection.

  • Each team will have two (2) minutes to make its selection.
  • No time-outs will be permitted.
  • Teams may not make trades during the draft.
  • Teams are permitted to “pass” when it is their turn to make a selection. Once a team has passed on a selection, the team forfeits the remainder of its selections in the dispersal draft.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a nine-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from around the world. Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association and the United States Soccer Federation. For more information about the NWSL, log on to the league’s official website at www.NWSLsoccer.com.

Amber Brooks re-signs with the Houston Dash

Brooks played every minute in 2017

Defender Amber Brooks in action for the Houston Dash in 2017. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne/isiphotos.com)

Dash defender Amber Brooks will return to Houston. Brooks and the team agreed to a new contract, the Dash announced Thursday.

Brooks was one of six players to play every minute in 2017, her second season with the Dash. She made 102 clearances and 57 interceptions in her 24 games.

She also recently joined the Dash at the 2018 NWSL College Draft, sitting at the team’s table alongside new coach Vera Pauw and assistant coach Lisa Cole.

Notebook: Barnes returns to Seattle, Utah signs Tymrak and Laddish, Sinclair honored

Teams make moves with preseason less than a month away

Seattle Reign FC defender Lauren Barnes in action for the Reign in 2017. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne/isiphotos.com)

This week around the NWSL:

Lauren Barnes will be back in Seattle this year, Seattle Reign FC announced Monday.

The five-year NWSL veteran and 2016 NWSL Defender of the Year became the first NWSL player to appear in 100 games for the same team earlier this year.

“Lu is one of the steadiest players in the league and since the beginning she has always been one of the league’s best defenders,” new Seattle head coach Vlatko Andonovski said in the team’s announcement. “I’m excited for the opportunity to work with her and hopefully help her add another layer to her game.”

The signing comes just a few days after the Reign acquired defender Yael Averbuch in a draft day trade with Utah Royals FC for midfielder Diana Matheson.


Utah Royals FC also continued their roster moves on Monday, when they announced that former FC Kansas City midfielders Erika Tymrak and Mandy Laddish will be joining Utah for the upcoming season.

Tymrak, who won the 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year, had spent all five seasons in Kansas City. Laddish was drafted in 2014 and played four seasons in Kansas City.

“I’m so excited to join an organization that prides itself on professionalism and growing the game,” Tymrak said in a statement from Utah announcing her signing. “I’m honored to be a part of this. I’ve only been here a few days and am blown away with the facilities, staff, and overall professionalism of the entire organization.”

“I’m looking forward to playing for, and learning from, Laura Harvey. I’ve always admired her coaching style and feel that I will be able to refine my game while working with her,” Laddish said in the statement.


Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair was officially honored as Officer of the Order of Canada in a ceremony on Wednesday.

The award is one of Canadian’s highest civilian honors. A two-time NWSL champion, Sinclair is also the world’s active all-time leading scorer with 169 international goals.

Long-term plan paying off for Washington Spirit after successful 2018 draft week

Spirit looking to the future after adding Sullivan, Hatch, Smith

Washington Spirit draft picks Schuyler DeBree and Mallory Eubanks, and coach Jim Gabarra. (Photo credit: Jose L. Argueta/isiphotos.com)

By Lauren Green

Philadelphia — A year after the Washington Spirit acquired U.S. international Mallory Pugh, Jim Gabarra added to a young Spirit squad Thursday with two of the top three picks at the 2018 NWSL College Draft. Stanford product and MAC Hermann Trophy winner Andi Sullivan was the top pick and Duke’s Rebecca Quinn went No. 3.

For Sullivan, being the top pick didn’t start to sink in until earlier this week.

“I was kind of hoping to be picked first. I mean, you don’t really know. There are a lot of good players in the draft,” Sullivan said on a conference call Wednesday night before the draft. “Today was kind of the first real moment of taking pictures with the jersey and stuff like that. It was like, ‘Oh this is actually happening.’ Pretty cool.”

The Stanford product will fit in well with the Spirit’s style of play.

“She’s proven at the national team level that she can play in the 6 role, she can play in the 8 role,” Gabarra said. “She’s a really good fit for what our style of play is with the Spirit and that’s possession oriented. She can link the defensive line to the forward line and she can also get forward into the attack and become dangerous in scoring chances.”

The Spirit head coach cautioned fans against expecting too much from the first-year pro, especially after watching Pugh’s transition in Washington last season. Sullivan won the NCAA title with Stanford last year and, on Sunday night, earned her eighth cap with the U.S. women’s national team.

“It’s slightly different but the key thing to remember her is that it will be her first year professionally,” Gabarra said. “And combining that with the national team and camps and the pressure and stress there, it’s really important that we manage her. You look at last season and look at both Mal and Rose Lavelle. They went through a really difficult season with injuries because it’s something that these players aren’t used to.

“I still think it’s difficult to come into this league as a younger national team player with the full team. They’re used to coming out and having a little bit of a break or going back to their college season where the competition and intensity level are not as high.”

Gabarra, who is in his third year as head coach in Washington, was pleased overall with how the draft turned out for his club.

“I’m really excited for the possibilities,” Gabarra said. “We’re in a really good position through trades and draft picks and having the number one pick and the ability to pick Andi is huge because [she’s] not only a local player, a high-quality person who could be a person we build our franchise around for years to come.”

The Spirit finished at the bottom of the standings in 2017, but are beginning to benefit from a plan that began more than a year ago.

“The process with our roster started 15 months ago and we have made some difficult moves,” Gabarra said after the draft. “Now it’s time to benefit from the next step in that plan. We’ve drafted some really good quality international players and some really good young players.”

In the days before the draft, the Spirit sent the rights to Crystal Dunn to the North Carolina Courage and acquired defender Taylor Smith and forward Ashley Hatch. After earning league MVP honors in 2016, Dunn played overseas for Chelsea FC in the FA Women’s Super League in 2017. Following the trade, Washington has two rookie of the year finalists on its roster—Hatch, who was named the 2017 Rookie of the Year, and Pugh—as well as another standout rookie in Meggie Dougherty Howard.

Dougherty Howard played in 23 games for the Spirit last season, starting 21 and logging 1,911 minutes of game action. She will be one of the young players that will form a core group with the Spirit’s first round picks in Sullivan and Quinn. But they won’t be the only young players looking to make an impact on the Spirit.

The Spirit selected also Schuyler Debree, another Duke product, with the first pick of the second round. Debree, who battled back after an ACL tear during her sophomore season, suited up and played 10 matches for the Washington Spirit Reserves during the summer of 2015.

“It’s so surreal. This is amazing. Coming in this year, I don’t think I would have said that confidently that I was going to be in the first or second round,” Debree said of being draft. “Washington is an amazing [organization] and I had a great experience when I played with them in the W-League [in 2015]. Washington is a great area and they have a sick team coming in.”

Debree started and played in 26 matches during her senior season and logged a team-high 2,341 minutes. She led a backline that posted a school-record 18 shutouts, including five in the NCAA tournament.

Washington rounded out its 2018 NWSL College Draft by selecting Mallory Eubanks (No. 16 overall), Brittany Basinger (No. 21 overall), Maddie Huster (No. 26 overall) and Rachel Moore (No. 31 overall). Huster is the younger sister of Spirit stalwart Tori Huster.

Pride trade Bledsoe, 2019 first round pick to Spirit for Zadorsky

Bledsoe started 11 games for Pride in 2017, Zadorsky appeared in 21 games for Spirit

The Orlando Pride have traded goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and their natural first round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft to the Washington Spirit in exchange for defender Shelina Zadorsky, the teams announced Monday.

Bledsoe started 11 games for the Pride in 2017, her third NWSL season, while Ashlyn Harris was out with an injury. In addition to making 35 saves and earning two clean sheets, she also recorded a shot on goal in a wild finish at home vs. the Red Stars on July 1. Bledsoe was acquired by the Pride from Sky Blue FC in 2015 in the NWSL expansion draft.

“Obviously anytime we trade a player we are sad to lose them, particularly players who have been here since day one, but we chatted with Aubrey in the offseason. We’ve always felt that Aubrey was a starting goalkeeper in this league and we think she could go to D.C. and do that,” Pride coach Sermanni said in an Orlando news release announcing the trade.  “We’ll miss Aubrey and thank her for everything she helped us achieve in Orlando, but know that this will be a great opportunity for her career.”

She gives the Spirit depth in goal alongside Stephanie Labbé, who missed the final seven games of last season on medical leave.

“We believe that Aubrey is a top [goalkeeper] in our league and feel like she gives us incredible depth in that position,” Spirit coach and GM Jim Gabarra said in a Washington statement. “Her development over the past three years has been exceptional.”

Zadorsky, who wore the captain’s armband in Washington, gives Orlando depth at center back. She made 101 clearances and 46 interceptions in 21 games for the Spirit last season.

“Shelina brings strong defensive qualities [to Orlando]. The way we play, one of our emphases this year is that we need to be less vulnerable defensively,” Sermanni said.  “Bringing in Shelina who is an out-and-out center back who also has extensive international experience with the Canadian National Team will be a big asset for us.”

A Canadian international, Zadorsky joined the Spirit in 2016 after playing in Sweden and Australia.

“Shelina has been a tremendous player and person to our team the past two seasons,” Gabarra said. “It is difficult to let her go. We thank her for her commitment to the Spirit and wish her good luck in this next opportunity.”

Thorns, Courage make big offseason moves

Portland and North Carolina retool with key trades

Portland Thorns FC and the North Carolina Courage at the 2018 NWSL College Draft. (Photo credit: Jose L. Argueta/isiphotos.com)

By Katelyn Best

Philadelphia —  The weeks leading up to the 2018 NWSL College Draft were busy for several teams, with quite a few huge trades taking place. Three of those deals involved the two teams who met in the last year’s NWSL Championship in Portland and North Carolina. The first two trades effectively revamped the Portland Thorns’ midfield and offense, and the third brought U.S. women’s national team mainstay mainstay Crystal Dunn back from Chelsea L.F.C. in the FA WSL and to the North Carolina Courage

On January 11, Portland sent midfielder Allie Long—who had been with the Thorns since the NWSL’s inaugural season—to rival Seattle. In a three-way trade, the Thorns received the rights to Australian international Caitlin Foord from Sky Blue FC, who held Foord’s rights in the league, and Seattle traded Rebekah Stott and Katie Johnson to Sky Blue. The next day, the Thorns announced they had traded forward Savannah Jordan, a 2017 draftee, to Houston in exchange for Brazilian midfielder Andressinha.

“For us, it’s disappointing to see someone who’s been so important to the club go to a rival,” Thorns head coach Mark Parsons said of Long’s departure. “But she got the outcome she wanted. I think it was important that Allie finds the place that she believes she can continue to succeed in.”

By the end of the 2017 season, Long had slipped in the depth chart and was no longer starting for Portland. She will slot into a strong Seattle midfield that already includes Christine Nairn and Rumi Utsugi, along with Reign original Jess Fishlock.

Foord will join Portland from Sydney FC, where she plays alongside Thorns defender Emily Sonnett. The 23-year-old forward will be the third Australian international in Portland, joining Hayley Raso and Ashleigh Sykes. “Having her in our front line changes everything for us,” said Parsons. Foord is a versatile player, but Parsons plans to put her up front. “Our ambition is to play her in the front line. … We got one of the players we think can be the best in the league.”

Andressinha, meanwhile, is headed to a Portland side that suffered a huge loss with the departure of French midfielder Amandine Henry. “We’ll never replace her,” said Parsons. “Unless Amandine comes back, we’ll never get another Amandine.”

Henry, widely considered the best defensive midfielder in the world, is a vastly different player from Andressinha. Because of that, Portland’s midfield will have a substantially different look. “You can’t go and profile,” said Parsons. “You can’t get somebody like Amandine. So we go get a creative player like Andressinha.” While Henry brought unparalleled vision and passing range, Andressinha is strong on the ball and can create in the central midfield. In 2017, she trailed only Marta and Nahomi Kawasumi in chances created.

“She’s been one of the top impactful center midfielders in this league,” Parsons aid. “And she’s still 22. … She’s smart, clever, she can play anywhere. She’s been called a 10, but we’re not afraid to play her in the 8.”

A week after the Long trade, North Carolina announced another blockbuster move, bringing Dunn back to the NWSL two seasons after she left the Washington Spirit for Chelsea. The Courage sent defender Taylor Smith and forward Ashley Hatch to Washington in exchange for Dunn’s rights.

“It feels good. I’m excited, obviously,” said Courage head coach Paul Riley. “[Dunn] could play fullback or midfield—we want to put her up front. I think with Lynn Williams, Jess [McDonald], Darian Jenkins, Kristen Hamilton, that’s some firepower up there.”

Riley also expressed disappointment with having to let go of Smith and Hatch. While Hatch was selected with North Carolina’s second overall pick in the 2017 draft, Smith’s journey has been longer. Undrafted in 2016, she made her way onto the Western New York Flash’s preseason roster, before being picked up as a depth player. The speedy Smith has played in several positions for Riley; originally a forward, he moved her to fullback for the 2017 season in North Carolina, where she was a regular starter for the team. She received her first call-up to the senior U.S. national team in January 2017, and remains a regular starter as a forward-looking outside back.

Riley points to Smith’s story as an example of how much young players can develop in the right environment. “I could have cut Taylor Smith in preseason two years ago,” he remembers. “We felt there was something there, and we stuck with her. … The rest is history.”

Ultimately, it was a positional issue that sent Smith to Washington. “We wouldn’t have traded Taylor away,” said Riley, “for anything other than [the Spirit] had to have an allocated player. … The problem is, our allocated players are right down the spine of the team: Sam Mewis, Lynn Williams, Abby Dahlkemper. We can’t afford to let the spine of the team go.” Smith could slot into several different positions for Washington—she could remain at outside back, or move up the wing.

Meanwhile, Hatch, who is currently playing for Melbourne City in the Australian W-League, adds attacking punch to a Washington side that finished dead last in 2017. Despite scoring seven goals for the Courage, the rookie was never a regular starter on a Courage team already stacked with offensive talent. “[Hatch] is happy for the new challenge,” said Riley. “That’s the way she is.”

Finally, Dunn looks poised to add even more attacking power to an already dominant North Carolina side. Dunn, the 2015 NWSL MVP, will join Williams, the 2016 MVP, and McDonald, tied for second in regular season goals in NWSL history, on the forward line. “[Dunn]’s excited to get in a competitive environment again,” Riley said. “To play with these players she knows so well, knows from the national team. … My goal is to make sure she’s as good as she can be.”

Pugh’s brace helps U.S. to 5-1 win over Denmark

The USWNT kicked off 2018 in style

Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh celebrate during the U.S. women's national team's 5-1 win over Denmark. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Mallory Pugh bagged her first career brace. Savannah McCaskill and Tierna Davidson earned their first caps. And the U.S. women’s national team earned their first win of the year, 5-1 over Denmark Sunday night in San Diego to kick off the 2018 season.

Former Portland Thorns FC forward Nadia Nadim got Denmark on the board first with a header goal in the 14th minute. Nadim joined Manchester City of the FA WSL this offseason after four seasons in the NWSL.

But it was all U.S. after that.

Just three minutes later, the U.S. made it 1-1 thanks to a goal from none other than Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan.

The second goal came in the 19th minute, courtesy of — who else — Julie Ertz. The Red Stars midfielder scored in her first game since being named the 2017 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year.

Pugh played a short corner back to Abby Dahlkemper, who served a long ball into the box. Stanford defender Tierna Davidson, earning her first USWNT start and cap, headed it on towards goal. Ertz then chipped it over Denmark goalkeeper Stina Lykke Petersen to give the U.S. the 2-1 lead.

Morgan and Ertz finished 2017 on a tear and continued their hot streak into this year.

After that, it was the Mallory Pugh show. The Spirit forward capitalized on defensive turnovers to earn her seventh and eighth international goals.

Her first was a rocket shot in the 47th minute.

Her second came in the 65th minute.

McCaskill earned her first senior cap in the game, subbing in for Andi Sullivan in the 70th minute. McCaskill was the No. 2 overall pick by the Boston Breakers in the 2018 NWSL College Draft last week. Sullivan went No. 1 overall to the Washington Spirit.

Sullivan started the game, her eighth international cap. The new Spirit midfielder went down in the second half with a shoulder injury after a collision but returned to the field quickly after being checked out on the sideline.

New Sky Blue FC midfielder Carli Lloyd (part of last week’s three-team mega trade) should’ve had her 99th international goal in the 80th minute. Her header appeared to go over the line, but referee Karen Abt called no goal.

No matter though for the U.S. They scored just seconds later when Crystal Dunn made it 5-1 in the 81st minute. New Houston Dash forward Christen Press (also part of last week’s mega trade) had her shot saved, but Dunn tapped in the rebound.

Dunn was traded to the North Carolina Courage by the Washington Spirit last week. She returns to the NWSL this season after spending last year with Chelsea L.F.C.

Next up for the U.S. women’s national team: the SheBelieves tournament in March.

Pair of mega trades sends Lloyd to Sky Blue, Kerr to Chicago, Press to Houston

Three teams, two trades, big shakeups to the rosters of Sky Blue, Red Stars, Dash

(L-R) Carli Lloyd, Sam Kerr and Christen Press (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Philadelphia — Sky Blue FC already had the 4th and 5th picks coming into Thursday’s NWSL College Draft, and made their selections early in the morning. But then NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy announced that Sky Blue would also be on the clock for the No. 6 pick … which had been the property of the Houston Dash.

Something was brewing — and that something was a pair of enormous trades. At the time it was first revealed, the trade was only listed as picks and “players to be named later” — but the full scope of the trade was made official on Friday morning.

The details:

First, the Red Stars traded forward Christen Press, the seventh pick in this year’s draft and a 2018 international roster spot to the Houston Dash in exchange for forward Carli Lloyd, forward Janine Beckie and the sixth and 24th picks in this year’s draft.

Then, the Red Stars traded Lloyd, Beckie, forward Jen Hoy and the sixth and 13th picks in this year’s draft to Sky Blue FC in exchange for forward Sam Kerr, midfielder Nikki Stanton and the 15th pick in this year’s draft.

“[Kerr] is a player that any team in the league would jump to get,” Red Stars coach Rory Dames said in a Red Stars statement after the trade was made official. “She is a young and eager forward that has proven to be one of the best in the world. Then we get [Stanton], who for us can be a solid 6 or 8 and really push our current mix of players. We couldn’t be happier to have both Sam and Nikki in Chicago.”

At the end of the day, a blockbuster, mega set of trades that shakes up the core rosters of three teams and brings even more intrigue to the upcoming NWSL season. With only a month until preseason begins, many rosters are looking quite different.

Three of the players involved in Friday’s trade are among the NWSL’s all-time top scorers.

Kerr is, of course, coming off one of the most outstanding seasons in NWSL history. She won the MVP and Golden Boot awards after scoring a record 17 goals last season. She’s the league’s all-time leading goal scorer, with 43 goals in five NWSL seasons with Sky Blue and the Western New York Flash.

“Let’s get it [Chicago Red Stars],” Kerr wrote on Instagram shortly after the trade was announced.

Lloyd, a former Rutgers star, returns to New Jersey and Yurcak Field. She has 27 career goals in five NWSL seasons with the Houston Dash and Western New York Flash. She previously played for Sky Blue FC of Women’s Professional Soccer in 2010.

“A big Thank You to the Dash fans! You have welcomed me with open arms and have been the best fans to play in front of! Lastly, I would like to thank my teammates. I have cherished my time with each and every one of you,” Lloyd wrote in a long statement posted on Twitter on Friday. “While this has been a bittersweet moment at this juncture of my career, I am ready to come home to NJ, be with my husband and live in our home together. I’m super excited to be able to play for Sky Blue and to return back to my Alma Mater.”

Press scored 11 goals in 2017, fourth best in the NWSL. She has 35 career scores in 60 regular season games over four NWSL seasons, all with the Chicago Red Stars. Press is tied for second in the regular season goal-scoring category, behind only Kerr. Press joined the Red Stars and the NWSL in 2014.

“For three and a half years Christen did everything we asked her to do,” Dames said. “We can’t thank you enough for her time here, but we had run our course together and mutually agreed it was time. Her time that she gave to this club and this city is invaluable and we wish her the best of luck in Houston.”

Beckie, a first round pick of the Dash in 2016, had spent two seasons in Houston, tallying five goals and three assists.

“To the Houston Dash, thank you for giving me two years of growth and memories, I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have represented this city. Change comes with the territory in this profession. It’s time for a new challenge and a new journey,” Beckie wrote in a post shared on social media Thursday night. “To the east coast I go! Thank you [Sky Blue FC] for the chance at a new start, I am very excited to get started! Much love, H-Town.”

Hoy was selected in the fourth round by the Red Stars in the 2013 inaugural NWSL College Draft. Over five seasons, all in Chicago, she scored 15 goals and 10 assists.

“Jen was someone that has been with us since the beginning,” Dames said. “Her commitment to this team and organization has been top class and I can’t thank Jen enough for everything.”

In four seasons in the midfield for Sky Blue FC, Stanton appeared in 41 games with one assist.

The Dash and Sky Blue FC had already been involved in major player trades this offseason. Just last week, Houston sent midfielder Andressinha to Portland in exchange for Savannah Jordan. Two days before the draft, the Dash traded down from the third pick to the sixth (the one they eventually moved in the trade that brought them Press), acquiring Lindsay Agnew in the process. On December 29, Sky Blue dealt Kelley O’Hara, Taylor Lytle and a draft pick to Utah in exchange for Shea Groom, Christina Gibbons and the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

The Red Stars jumped into the busy NWSL offseason with their pair of trades this week and ended up acquiring the reigning league MVP in Kerr.

In 2017, the Chicago Red Stars finished fourth and made the playoffs, but fell in the semifinal on a late goal to the Courage. It was their third-straight semifinal loss. Sky Blue FC finished in sixth place, six points out of a playoff spot. The Dash finished in eighth place.

Preseason in the NWSL begins in exactly one month on February. The league will kick off its first games the weekend of March 24-25.

This story has been updated with additional player reaction.

Draft Recap: NWSL welcomes its newest members on busy day in Philly

Sullivan, McCaskill, Quinn go 1-2-3

Two new members of the Chicago Red Stars, goalkeeper Emily Boyd and defender Indigo Gibson. (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com)

By Lauren Green

Philadelphia — The 2018 NWSL College Draft was the next career step for 40 players on Thursday. For some, it will be a journey with a familiar face in the professional ranks.

Duke University had six players drafted, including two in the first five picks with Rebecca Quinn heading to the Washington Spirit (No. 3 overall) and Imani Dorsey to Sky Blue FC (No. 5 overall).

Dorsey, the first player selected who was in attendance at this year’s draft, made the nearly eight-hour drive on Thursday morning from Durham, N.C., to Philadelphia, P.A., the site of the draft, after she had multiple flights canceled.

“It’s snowing in Durham right now so my flight got canceled,” Dorsey said. “Then I booked another flight and that got canceled. I booked another flight and that got moved to 10 a.m. today. My assistant coach Erwin was like ‘Hey, I’m still here. Let’s drive.’ The conditions in North Carolina were very scary, but it was smooth sailing [once we got to Virginia].”

Within about 15 minutes of Dorsey’s selection, two trades were announced, which, among other things, left Sky Blue FC with three picks in row in the first round. The trade sent the No. 6 and No. 24 picks to the Chicago Red Stars plus two players to be named later and the No. 7 pick, an international slot and a player to be named later to Houston. The Red Stars then sent the No. 6 and No. 13 picks to Sky Blue plus three players to be named later. The full details of that trade have yet to be officially announced.

In the meantime, Dorsey was thrilled with a different trade—one that reunited her with a former teammate.

“The fact that I’m going to Sky Blue and getting to play with my former teammate Christina Gibbons makes me so happy,” Dorsey said. (Gibbons, a second-year NWSL player out of Duke, was traded by Utah Royals FC to Sky Blue FC on December 29.)

Sky Blue FC also added a pair of Mountaineers with the No. 4 and No. 6 picks selecting Michaela Abam and Amandine Pierre-Louis.

Dorsey isn’t the only Duke player  who will have a familiar face alongside them on the field in their rookie season. The Washington Spirit drafted a pair of Blue Devils—Quinn in the third spot and Schuyler Debree at No. 11 overall.

“I’m so happy. Especially this year, we’ve gotten a lot closer. … [Quinn’s] probably the best player I’ve ever played with,” Debree said.

Thanks to the pair of trades that happened Thursday morning, the Chicago Red Stars had to wait until the second round to make their first picks of the day. The Red Stars used two of those picks to select  another pair of teammates—this time from the West Coast in California-Berkley goalkeeper Emily Boyd and defender Indigo Gibson.

“We have an amazing connection on the field and we’ve been dreaming about this since we were little, so I’m really excited. It will be fun to play with [Boyd],” Gibson said.

Earlier in the day, as expected, the Washington Spirit selected Andi Sullivan with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and soon after, the Boston Breakers added South Carolina product Savannah McCaskill to their roster.

Boston Breakers head coach Matt Beard expects that McCaskill will potentially be competing for a starting spot immediately.

“What I like about her is her movement. Just her understanding of when to drop, when to pull off a shoulder. She doesn’t just score simple goals, she scores some great goals as well,” Beard said. “Last year on occasions we created good chance. We just didn’t take the chances and I feel Savannah is a player who can do that. I think she’s going to have a great future in the NWSL and on the national team because she scores goals.”

Both Sullivan and McCaskill are currently in camp with the U.S. women’s national team and were unable to attend the draft in person, but recorded video messages that were shared after their selections.

The Washington Spirit were also busy before the draft, dealing the rights to forward Crystal Dunn to North Carolina in exchange for Taylor Smith and Ashley Hatch. Jim Gabarra’s squad also grabbed the No. 3 pick in a trade with Houston that sent Canadian international Lindsay Agnew and the No. 6 pick to the Houston Dash.

With that third overall pick, Gabarra selected Quinn. Hatch and Smith, plus Mallory Pugh, Sullivan and Quinn will form the core of a young Spirit squad in 2018.

“What we went through last year where we were struggling to field enough players to play to now where you’ve got competition two and three deep at every spot,” Gabarra said. “It’s going to be important with our league having 10 stable teams now, rosters are really difficult to make.”