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On- and off-field turmoil sunk the Red Stars in 2023. Now, it’s time to rebuild.

The Chicago Red Stars dealt with a lingering sale that was only finalized in September, free agency departures and inconsistencies in 2023.

© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Red Stars had a rough go of it this National Women’s Soccer League season. It was the first time the team finished under 0.500 since the league started and they ended a seven-season playoff streak, finishing in 12th place.

The Equalizer takes a deeper look into Chicago’s season, from the impact of free agency and the sale of the team, to why the future looks bright in the Ricketts era.

“I feel unfulfilled by the season because I feel like I didn’t get as much out of it as I wanted to get out of it,” Arin Wright stated, after Sunday’s match against OL Reign. “So while I’m happy about seeing the growth of certain players and this team from day one, there is a bit that’s the hardest part about ending the season now is I just, I want more and you don’t get anymore.”

Free Agency

The 2022-23 offseason was the beginning of free agency in the NWSL, and it was quite a learning experience for many teams. The Red Stars felt the pain of learning the worst of any team in the league by having the most free agents depart their team in the league, with four. They were able to re-sign Yuki Nagasato and Wright, but lost a large chunk of their starting lineup, with Morgan Gautrat, Vanessa DiBernardo, Rachel Hill and Danielle Colaprico leaving.

Losing those pivotal players — compounded with Kealia Watt retiring and Mallory Swanson getting injured in April with the national team — made a real impact to their attack and ability to transition between the lines.

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