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The Lowdown: NWSL roster updates, news and notes

Photo: Houston Dash.

The first of two deadlines for roster cuts was Monday and even though many teams were already under the March 1 limit of 32 players, there have still been some updates and news. Below is the latest roster from each of the 10 NWSL squads along with the latest news and notes from around the league. Final rosters are due April 2 and are required to be between 22 and 28 players.

Chicago Red Stars

Goalkeepers (4): Emily Boyd, Melissa Lowder (NRI), Cassie Miller, Alyssa Naeher

Defenders (9): Camryn Biegalski, Tierna Davidson, Zoe Goralski, Sarah Gorden, Casey Krueger, Tatum Milazzo (NRI), Kayla Sharples, Bianca St Georges, Arin Wright

Midfielders (10): Aerial Chavarin (NRI), Danielle Colaprico, Vanessa DiBernardo, Julie Ertz, Morgan Gautrat, Zoe Morse, Cassie Rohan (NRI), Nikki Stanton, Ella Stevens, Sarah Woldmoe

Forwards (9): Makenzy Doniak, Alissa Gorza, Rachel Hill, Katie Johnson, Sarah Luebbert, Alyssa Mautz, Mallory Pugh, Dani Rhodes (NRI), Kealia Watt

Things to watch: The Red Stars made news Monday morning with the introduction of a slew of new investors — 16 to be exact — the club hopes will propel them into the future as one of the leading teams in NWSL. Among the prominent names are ESPN personality Sarah Spain, along with Michael Schofield and Kendall Coyne Schofield. Michael plays for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and Kendall is a professional hockey player who won a gold medal for the United States in 2018. The night before the announcement, Coyne Schofield scored a goal in the first women’s professional hockey match ever played at Madison Square Garden.

On the field, Bianca St Georges underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week after being injured training with Canada ahead of SheBelieves. The Red Stars say St Georges is expected back in time for the NWSL regular season, slated to kick off in May following the Challenge Cup.

The Red Stars also have some injury news out of the college draft. Third round pick Brianna Alger, playing the Spring season with Washington State, has a knee injury and could miss the entire NWSL season. And second-string keeper Emily Boyd was injured in the offseason and is not likely to play in 2021.

Non-roster invite Ena Sabanagic is the only player on the February 1 camp roster not still listed.

Houston Dash

Goalkeepers (3): Jane Campbell, Amanda Dennis, Lindsey Harris

Defenders (6): Deneisha Blackwood, Allysha Chapman, Katie Naughton, Megan Oyster, Ally Prisock, Annika Schmidt

Midfielders (12): Shea Groom, Haley Hanson, Maegan Kelly, Amber Marshall (NRI), Kristie Mewis, Christine Nairn, Emily Ogle, Cami Privett, Maegan Rosa (nee Kelly), Gabby Seiler, Sophie Schmidt, Zandy Sorre (NRI), Bri Visalli

Forwards (7): Michelle Alozi (NRI), Bridgette Andrzejewski, Rachel Daly, Jamia Fields, Veronica Latsko, Nichelle Prince, Katie Stengel

Things to watch: The Dash did not make a single change to their roster from the one they put out February 1. However, Maegan Kelly has gotten married and will now play as Maegan Rosa.

The Dash did get their preseason schedule off and running Sunday, defeating the University of Texas, 5-0. Veronica Latsko opened the scoring followed by Rosa. Katie Naughton then converted to make it 3-0 after 25 minutes. Latsko added a second before recently acquired Emily Ogle finished it off.

Lindsey Harris and Amanda Dennis split the game in goal as they battle to be Jane Campbell’s number two this season. Neither has played a minute of competitive NWSL action.

Kansas City NWSL

Goalkeepers (4): Nicole Barnhart, Carly Nelson, Abby Smith, Tristin Stuteville (NRI)

Defenders (9): Elizabeth Ball, Katie Bowen, Rachel Corsie, Kate Del Fava, Taylor Leach, Michelle Maemone, Sydney Miramontez, Maddie Nolf, Gabby Vincent

Midfielders (9): Alli Hess (NRI), Jaci Jones (NRI), Lo’eau LaBonta, Chloe Logarzo (NYR), Diana Matheson, Addie McCain, Ashley Nick (NRI), Victoria Pickett, Desiree Scott

Forwards (10): , Kristen Edmonds, Darian Jenkins, Jaycie Johnson, Mariana Larroquett, Brittany Ratcliffe, Amy Rodriguez, Arielle Ship, Raisa Strom-Okimoto, Michele Vasconcelos, Mallory Weber (NYR)

Things to watch: Kansas City NWSL lined up against an opponent for the first time over the weekend and overwhelmed Orlando FC Royals of United Women’s Soccer, 14-0. Maddie Nolf scored in the open in minute and was joined by eight teammates that added goals. They were Darien Jenkins, Michele Vasconcelos, Katie Bowen, Amy Rodriguez, Brittany Ratcliffe (3), Jaycie Johnson (2), Raisa Strom-Okimoto (2), and Addie McCain.

McCain, the 17th pick in this year’s draft, and Victoria Pickett, the 15th, were both announced as having signed multi-year deals with the club ahead of the latest roster announcement. Veteran Kristen Edmonds has also been added as a contract player after opening preseason as a trialist. She is listed as a forward after being with the defenders when the initial camp roster landed. Tristin Stuteville has been added as a non-roster goalkeeper and saw a little more than 10 minutes of action against the Orlando Royals.

The competition takes a major step upward Wednesday when Kansas City plays the Orlando Pride.

Despite the 14-goal explosion against the UWS version of Orlando, head coach Huw Williams is still preaching defense, as told to Aly Trost.

Rashida Beal, Meg Brandt, Courtney Classen, Taylor Lytle and Chestley Strother have all left camp.

North Carolina Courage

Goalkeepers (3): Casey Murphy, Samantha Murphy, Katelyn Rowland

Defenders (11): Lindsay Agnew, Schuyler DeBree (NRI), Diane Caldwell (NYR), Abby Erceg, Hailey Harbison, Kaleigh Kurtz, Merritt Mathias, Sinclaier Miramontez, Carson Pickett, Taylor Smith, Ryan Williams

Midfielders (8): Debinha, Angharad James (NYR), Hailie Mace, Denise O’Sullivan, Peyton Perea (NRI), Cari Roccaro, Havana Solaun, Meredith Speck

Forwards (5): Elizabeth Addo, Rylee Baisden, Kristen Hamilton, Jessica McDonald, Lynn Williams

Things to watch: The Courage parted ways with four players since the start of preseason. Non-roster invited Abby Elinsky, Danica Evans, Shade Pratt and Lauren Silver have all departed camp Silver is now with the Pride. The team also added two players. Carson Pickett was acquired in a trade with the Orlando Pride and signed Welsh midfielder Angaharad James. James has yet to arrive in North Carolina, nor has offseason signing Diane Caldwell.

On the field the Courage defeated Wake Forest, 6-0 in a preseason friendly Friday night. It was newcomer Pickett who scored the opening goal of the contest. The others were credited to Jessica McDonald, Hailie Mace, Elizabeth Addo, Rylee Baisden and Elinsky.

OL Reign

Goalkeepers (3): Karen Bardsley, Cosette Morche, Ella Dederick (NRI)

Defenders (8): Lauren Barnes, Amber Brooks, Steph Cox, Machaela George, Madison Hammond, Sam Hiatt, Smith Hunter (NRI), Celia Delgado Jimenez

Midfielders (11): Angelina, Shirley Cruz (NYR), Jess Fishlock (NYR), Morgan Goff (NRI), Kelcie Hedge, Sophie Hurst (NRI), Allie Long, Kristen McNabb, Quinn, Dani Weatherholt, Rosie White

Forwards (12): Murphy Agnew (NRI), Bethany Balcer, Mia Corbin (NRI), Sofia Huerta, Tziarra King, Nicole Momiki, Miranda Nild (NRI), Leah Pruitt, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Schoenstadt (NRI), Jasmyne Spencer, Ally Watt

Things to watch: , The Reign announced a 34-woman roster though several players are not currently training with the team. Notably Jess Fishlock who is not expected to join the club until after the start of the Challenge Cup. Her loan arrangement with Reading expires April 5 after which Fishlock will join Wales for the international window before joining the Reign.

Another player delayed in arriving is Shirley Cruz who has been held up traveling to the United States and is expected to report sometime next week. Ally Watt and Kelcie Hedge are both carrying injuries suffered last season and have yet to train.

The Reign also recently bolstered their inexperienced goalkeeper corps by acquiring Karen Bardsley on loan from Manchester City. Before Bardsley’s arrival the Reign did not have any goalkeepers in camp with NWSL experience.

“Karen is a player with very big experience. She has played in many important games and knows what it takes to win big matches,” Reign coach Farid Benstiti said at the time of her deal.

Bardsley, who played in WPS and was part of Sky Blue’s 2009 championship side, will see her loan agreement expire at the end of June. Benstiti confirmed the club has another keeper lined up to join the club after that.

Another addition to camp is Murphy Agnew, an undrafted discovery player out of Harvard. Agnew, who still may play this fall for Harvard, was named 2019 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year.

Katie Talbertand and Shea Moyer were cut from camp and Morgan Andrews was waived.

Orlando Pride

Goalkeepers (4): Gabby English (NRI), Ashlyn Harris, Erin McLeod, Brittany Wilson

Defenders (9): Ally Haran (NRI), Ali Krieger (FED), Carrie Lawrence, Phoebe McClernon, Courtney Petersen, Konya Plummer (INT), Toni Pressley, Ali Riley, Lauren Silver (NRI)

Midfielders (8): Meggie Dougherty Howard, Gunnhildur Jonsdottir, Taylor Kornieck, Jordyn Listro, Jade Moore, Erika Tymrak, Marissa Viggiano, Chelsee Washington

Forwards (5): Abi Kim, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Marta, Crystal Thomas

Things to watch: The Pride entered preseason talented but thin up top especially with the likelihood that Alex Morgan and Marta will both be at the Olympics. They have since made two signings. Crystal Thomas, waived by the Spirit shortly before preseason, was brought in as a trialist and has since inked a contract. The club has also signed 2020 draft pick Abi Kim. The 26th overall pick was injured early in preseason last year and wound up playing in Italy for Fiorentina.

The Pride also brought in goalkeeper Gabby English, and defender Lauren Silver who was with the Courage at the start of preseason. The goalkeeper situation in Orlando took an interesting twist when Kailen Sheridan was injured during SheBelieves Cup. If that injury keeps Sheridan off the Olympic roster it would open the door for Erin McLeod — who was allocated by Canada — to be in Tokyo. That could leave the Pride without either of their top two keepers for the bulk of the summer.

The Pride said goodbye to Carson Pickett in a trade with the Courage that yielded the NWSL rights to Jodie Taylor.

A five-match preseason schedule kicks off Wednesday against Kansas City NWSL who are training in Florida at the moment. The other NWSL opponent is the Washington Spirit on March 20.

Portland Thorns FC

Goalkeepers (3): Bella Bixby, Adrianna Franch, Shelby Hogan

Defenders (8): Kelli Hubly, Meghan Klingenberg, Natalia Kuikka, Emily Menges, Meaghan Nally, Madison Pogarch, Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Westphal

Midfielders (6): Celeste Bourielle, Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, Raquel Rodriguez, Angela Salem, Christine Sinclair

Forwards (5): Simone Charley, Marissa Everett, Tyler Lussi, Sophia Smith, Morgan Weaver

Things to watch: The only change from last month is the addition of Shelby Hogan which Mark Parsons teased shortly after camp opened.

The offseason addition of Crystal Dunn has made the Thorns favorites to return to the top of NWSL in 2021.

Racing Louisville FC

Goalkeepers (4): Brooke Ballinger (NYR), Michelle Betos, Katie Lund, Shelby Money (NRI)

Defenders (8): Julia Ashley, Molly Dwyer (NRI), Emily Fox, Brooke Hendrix, Nealy Marti (NRI), Addisyn Merrick, Kaleigh Rhiel, Erin Simon

Midfielders (8): Chinyelu Asher (NRI), Grace Bahr (NRI), Lauren Milliet, Noelle Higginson (NRI), Alex Kimball (NRI), Freja Olofsson, Taylor Otto, Savanah Uveges (NRI)

Forwards (10): Jorian Baucom (NRI), Vanessa Kara (NRI), Emina Ekic, Alex Genas (NRI), CeCe Kizer, Cheyna Matthews (NYR), Katie McClure, Savannah McCaskill, Yuki Nagasato

Things to watch: Racing’s camp roster sits at 29 and includes Freja Olofsson. The club expects the Swedish midfielder to be a box-to-box type mid which will be key as the first-year expansion side takes the pitch for the first time. Expansion draft pickup Kaleigh Rhiel is also available this month after wrapping up her loan deal in France.

“Incrementally, we’re seeing good cohesion and the quality improving on a weekly basis, which is really exciting as we edge our way closer to the Challenge Cup,” head coach Christy Holly said.

Yuki Nagasato and Emily Fox have also reported to Louisville, Fox after a spell training with the United States ahead of the SheBelieves Cup.

On Saturday, Racing Louisville FC lined up as a team for the first time and defeated University of Louisville, 4-0 behind a hat trick from CeCe Kizer. Lauren Milliet added the fourth goal.

“We’ve been getting our chemistry on the field,” Kizer said after the match. “I’m just making my runs into the box, being on top of the ball and putting it in the back of the net.

Anika Kallash is the only player from the start of training camp no longer listed as being in the squad.

Sky Blue FC

Goalkeepers (4): DiDi Haracic, Megan Hinz, Mandy McGlynn, Kailen Sheridan

Defenders (7): Imani Dorsey, Caprice Dydasco, Sabrina Flores, Mandy Freeman, Estelle Johnson, Gina Lewandowski, Erica Skroski

Midfielders (11): Taylor Aylmer (NRI), Nicole Baxter, Grace Cutler (NRI), Jennifer Cudjoe, Elizabeth Eddy, Nahomi Kawasumi, Sodam Lee, Dominique Richardson, Claire Winter, Kenie Wright, McCall Zerboni

Forwards (5): Carli Lloyd (NYR), Paige Monaghan, Ifeoma Onumonu, Midge Purce, Evelyne Viens (NYR)

Things to watch: The big news around Sky Blue is the health of goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. On Tuesday the club announced the goalkeeper underwent surgery on her right quad. The injury occurred while playing for Canada during the SheBelieves Cup.

“Surgery went really well, and I am excited to start my recovery process,” Sheridan said through Sky Blue. “I will be pushing myself to come back stronger and better than ever!”

The announcement said that there is not yet a timetable for recovery. While that keeps all options open it certainly reads as if Sheridan is unlikely to be ready for the start of the NWSL Challenge Cup on April 9.

Sheridan has been the team’s first choice goalkeeper since being drafted 23rd overall in 2017. DiDi Haracic is the only other keeper on the roster with NWSL experience.

Carli Lloyd and Evelyn Viens, both of whom played at SheBelieves, have also yet to report to camp. Mikaela Howell, a forward who was a non-roster invite, is no longer with the team.

Washington Spirit

Goalkeepers (3): Aubrey Bledsoe, Devon Kerr, Sydney Schneider

Defenders (7): Tori Huster, Natalie Jacobs, Tegan McGrady, Paige Nielsen, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Samantha Staab,

Midfielders (7): Dorian Bailey, Bayley Feist, Jordan DiBiasi, , Anna Heifferty Julia Roddar (NYR), Andi Sullivan, Saori Takarada

Forwards (7): Averie Collins, Ashley Hatch, Trinity Rodman, Ashley Sanchez, Mariana Speckmaier, Furtuna Velaj (NRI) , Kumi Yokoyama

Things to watch: The Spirit roster is exactly the same as it was when camp opened a month ago. As we said last time, the team does not even have to make any cuts ahead of opening day. That could lead to the Spirit being more cohesive than any other team on April 9, or it could lead to some complacency without much of a fight for roster spots.

There was one subtle change and that is Tori Huster being listed as a defender instead of a midfielder. Huster, an original member of the Spirit, has played a variety of roles over the years so it remains to be seen if this switch is more tactical or clerical. And of course there is no mandate for coaches to adhere to the roster layout.

Meanwhile the team has relocated to Florida where it will train at Palm Beach Atlantic University through March 21.

“We are thrilled to be training in the Palm Beaches in partnership with Palm Beach Atlantic University and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission,” co-owner Michele Kang said. “Our players will benefit greatly from a world class outdoor facility in perfect weather for training as many other sports teams have enjoyed for years. We are committed to provide a high-quality preseason preparation environment for our players.”

The Spirit have three friendly matches scheduled in Florida including one against the Orlando Pride on March 20.

Free Kicks

— No commentary required here but please see the first reply.

— Just when it looked like the soap opera that has been NWSL expansion had calmed to a stable storyline, a curveball arrived late last Friday when the ownership group slated to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Sacramento pulled the plug. Multiple sources have suggested that the MLS news will not impact the NWSL expansion side in Sacramento from moving forward, but nearly a week later the league has been mum. It does further highlight the odd nature in which Sacramento was soft announced by the league with zero promotion from within or even a formal statement about who is at the front of the ownership group.

— On the other side, Angel City FC continue to roll toward their 2022 debut. On Tuesday the club announced Birdies — a direct-to-consumer footwear brand — as its first sleeve sponsor.

— The NWSL in conjunction with US Soccer and the Canadian Soccer Association announced 32 players who have been allocated as Federation Players for the 2021 season. See the full list here.

— The Washington Spirit have hired Lindsay Barenz as the team’s President of Business Operations. Barenz previously worked in the front office with the Utah Royals and for NWSL. She was instrumental in creating the league’s current media rights agreement with CBS and Twitch.

“I am so excited to join the Spirit, a club that stands for excellence on and off the field,” she said. “We are just beginning to realize the potential – the financial and social impact potential of women’s soccer. I am proud to be a part of this transformation and realization with a team like the Spirit.”

— The latest round of testing of NWSL players and team staff returned zero positive tests.


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