By: NWSL Editor
2024 NWSL International Signings: E. Bahr, J. Beattie, D. Castellanos, M. Clegg, J. Fleming, R. Kundananji and S. Manner

A look at the international talent joining the NWSL in 2024

With the start of the 2024 NWSL regular season around the corner, clubs continue to bolster their rosters. As teams have added talent throughfree agency , trades and the 2024 NWSL Draft , many clubs have also brought in players from overseas.

With the start of the 2024 NWSL regular season around the corner, clubs continue to bolster their rosters. As teams have added talent through free agency, trades and the 2024 NWSL Draft, many clubs have also brought in players from overseas.Below is a collection of notables about some of the international players set to join the NWSL in 2024.

Elexa Bahr (Colombia) – Racing Louisville FC

25-year-old Colombian forward Elexa Bahr joined Racing Louisville FC on a two-year contract, strengthening the club’s attack under new head coach Bev Yanez. Bahr has featured regularly for Las Cafeteras, including three matches during Colombia’s run to the final match in the 2022 Copa América Femenina, and she was also on Colombia’s 2023 Women’s World Cup roster. She most recently played for América de Cali in Colombia, where she scored six goals across 17 matches, leading the club to a runner-up finish in the league’s knockout tournament last year. Bahr will be the first Colombian to play in NWSL since Lady Andrade in 2016 (Western NY Flash). Born in the United States, she will not occupy an international roster slot.

Jen Beattie (Scotland) - Bay FC

Bay FC acquired Scottish defender Jen Beattie from Arsenal, bolstering a back line that already includes 2021 NWSL Defender of the Year Caprice Dydasco. Beattie has succeeded on some of the biggest stages in Europe, winning three FA Women’s Continental Cups, four FA Cups and a Super League title in her time with Arsenal and Manchester City. Beattie debuted for Scotland’s Women’s National Team in 2008 at age 16 and scored 24 goals in 124 appearances before retiring from international play in 2023. During her 15-year international career, she helped Scotland qualify for the 2017 UEFA Women’s European Championships — the team's first major tournament — and the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela) - Bay FC

Bay FC inaugural roster features Manchester City forward and 2018 NCAA champion Deyna Castellanos. Prior to joining Manchester City in the Women’s Super League, the 24-year-old played three seasons with Atlético Madrid, recording 23 goals and four assists in 58 appearances. Castellanos has also recorded 22 goals for Venezuela’s national team in 38 appearances. The talented forward had a successful collegiate career at Florida State, earning three All-ACC First Team selections and helping the Seminoles to their second national title. And while representing Venezuela at the 2018 U-17 Women’s World Cup, Castellanos scored from the halfway line against Cameroon to secure the win. Her wonder goal finished no. 2 overall in voting for FIFA’s annual Puskás Award (goal of the year).

Milly Clegg (New Zealand) - Racing Louisville FC

Racing Louisville brought in more young talent to their roster, signing 18-year-old forward Milly Clegg to a three-year contract, making her the youngest signing in club history. Clegg earned a spot on the New Zealand Women's World Cup roster at last summer as a 17-year-old, after representing the Football Ferns at the U-17 and U-20 Women's World Cups in 2022. The rising star spent last season with Wellington Phoenix of Australia’s A-League Women, finishing as a finalist for A-League Women Young Footballer of the Year with four goals in 16 appearances.

Jessie Fleming (Canada) - Portland Thorns FC

Canadian Women’s National Team captain Jessie Fleming joined Portland Thorns FC on a transfer from Chelsea, teaming up with Christine Sinclair, who last held the title. Fleming, who made her first appearance for the Canucks in 2013 at age 15, was recently named Canada Women’s Player of the Year for the third consecutive year. The 25-year-old midfielder has earned 123 caps, appearing in three World Cups and two Olympics. Fleming scored two goals during Canada’s gold medal run at the 2020 Olympics. The Canadian star is a proven winner, guiding Chelsea to three consecutive Super League titles and three consecutive FA Cups in four seasons. A former UCLA Bruin, Fleming was a two-time MAC Hermann Trophy finalist and a three-time All-American.

Racheal Kundananji (Zambia) - Bay FC

Zambian forward Racheal Kundananji signed with Bay FC through 2027, with her transfer fee from Madrid CFF setting a world record. Kundananji appeared in 14 matches in the 2023-24 season before her transfer, notching eight goals and four assists. Last season, the 24-year-old scored 25 goals, the second highest total in the league. Kundananji previously played for BIIK Kazygurt in Kazakhstan, winning consecutive league titles in 2019 and 2020. Internationally, the Copper Queens star debuted at the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, recording a brace in her first game. Kundananji scored a goal for Zambia in a win against Costa Rica during the 2023 World Cup.

Sofia Manner (Finland) – Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride added depth at goalkeeper this off-season, bringing in Sofia Manner from FC Honka of Finland’s top division. Manner earned the Finnish league’s Goalkeeper of the Month honors twice in 2023 and was named Player of the Month in April. The Helsinki native recorded 10 clean sheets last season, allowing just 23 goals in as many matches, the fewest in the league. Before joining FC Honka, Manner played college soccer at Stony Brook University where she won America East Goalkeeper of the Year twice and earned 20 shutouts, finishing her collegiate career ranked third in the program’s history. Manner is just the third Finnish player to join NWSL.

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