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NWSL Transactions Tracker: Summer 2020

Looking for National Women’s Soccer League news on who signed where or who got traded? Check back for updates here on all the transactions. Trades and major signings are on top but scroll down past the break for a team-by-team rundown of comings and goings. For our 2019-2020 Transaction Tracker, click here.

HEADLINE MOVES AND ANALYSIS

September 10, 2020

Utah Royals FC acquire Michele Vasconcelos from Chicago Red Stars in exchange for $55,000 in allocation money
Royals analysis: The Royals are short on players and likely won’t have Christen Press until after the Olympics, if at all in 2021. In Vasconcelos they have acquired a high-upside, attacking player who was born in Sandy, Utah, the same town where she will now be playing home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium. Vasconcelos is not the type of player a team will build an offense around but she can be a contributor and will be rejoining Craig Harrington, the Royals head coach who was an assistant with the Red Stars before this season. The allocation money may have been earmarked for the Dzsenifer Marozsan/Sarah Bouhaddi signings that never came to pass over the summer. — Dan Lauletta
Red Stars analysis: Vasconcelos was a typical Red Stars product. Drafted in the 2nd round, she missed her rookie season because of what she acknowledged was an unexpected pregnancy. But the Red Stars stuck with her and she became an important bench player for the squad in 2018 and 2019 until a torn ACL cut her season short. Nearly four years after drafting Vasconcelos, the Red Stars have turned the investment into $55,000 in allocation money. What they’ll do with that cash is anyone’s best guess and will ultimately be the determining factor in what kind of trade this turns out to be. — Dan Lauletta

September 9, 2020

Christen Press and Tobin Heath sign with Manchester United
Analysis: The Portland Thorns will retain the rights to Tobin Heath when she returns to the NWSL. The Utah Royals FC will retain the rights to Christen Press when she returns. Press and Heath are among many internationals and NWSL players making the jump overseas to Europe, following her USWNT teammates Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett. Manchester United is a newer club in the WSL, competing in only the club’s second season in the league.  — Rachael Kriger
Yuki Nagasato makes history
Chicago Red Stars analysis: Yuki Nagasato is making history in Japan. Nagasato is the first woman to sign with a men’s team in Japan, joining Hayabusa Eleven, an amateur men’s club which features in the Kanagawa Prefecture League. Nagasato’s rights will be retained by the Chicago Red Stars. She joined the Red Stars in 2017, and has made 52 appearances since. Her loan in Japan will end prior to the 2021 NWSL preseason.  — Rachael Kriger
Denise O’Sullivan on loan with Brighton & Hove Albion
North Carolina Courage analysis: Denise O’Sullivan, the MVP of the North Carolina Courage last year, will finish the 2020 season on loan with FA WSL club Brighton & Hove Albion. Her loan will last until Dec. 31, 2020. The Irish international parts the NWSL for the remainder of the year with some fond words from head coach Paul Riley. “Brighton will be a great home for her and we wish her all the best for her loan club and country as she continues to identify herself as one of the most gifted and complete midfielders in world soccer,” Riley said. — Rachael Kriger

August 31, 2020

Houston Dash re-sign Rachel Daly to extension through 2023
Dash analysis: The Houston Dash have locked down Rachel Daly through 2023, marking a three-year extension. There is no official indication if allocation money was used to re-sign Daly. Daly was recently crowned a champion at the NWSL Challenge Cup with the Dash, where she scored three goals and provided two assists.  — Rachael Kriger

August 16, 2020

OL Reign acquire Rose Lavelle from Washington Spirit in exchange for 2022 1st round pick, $100,000 in allocation money, and future allocation money based on Lavelle’s playing status in NWSL
Reign analysis: The Reign made this deal knowing Lavelle was likely heading out of NWSL and she has since signed to play for Manchester City. The Reign will retain her league rights and clearly would not have given up a future first-round pick and at least $100,000 in allocation money if they didn’t have full faith of a return to the states sooner than later. Even if their French coach Farid Benstiti ultimately chooses to build outside the draft, first-round picks are valuable commodities. However you break it down, though, a healthy Rose Lavelle has the game to turn any midfield into one of the best in the world, and the final analysis of this trade will come down to how well and how often Lavelle appears for the Reign. — Dan Lauletta
Spirit analysis: The Spirit did well to get a pretty good haul for Lavelle’s rights, and it is one that could help both now and later. Despite a slow start to the allocation money era, we still assume that teams that trade for a pile of it do so with the intent of investing it back in the on-field product. What exactly the Spirit do with this $100,000 is anyone’s best guess, but the club in the age of Steve Baldwin has been far more ambitious than in years gone by. The 2022 draft pick is impossible to put a value on since we don’t know how many teams will be drafting that year and the COVID-19 cancellations of the 2020 college soccer seasons across the country will have untold impact on the player pool. Still, it never hurts to have extra 1st round picks and the Spirit now have the jump on 2022. — Dan Lauletta
Rose Lavelle signs with Manchester City
Analysis: Lavelle not only followed Sam Mewis to Europe she followed her all the way to Manchester City. This will give the English club two-thirds of the starting midfield from last summer’s World Cup final. That could be an invaluable asset for the U.S. as the COVID-enforced wilderness period for the national team enters its sixth month. As for Lavelle, we’re still waiting for her to be healthy enough for long enough to be a weekly force. Perhaps a move to England will be just what she needs to find that. The smart money says she’ll be back in the NWSL sometime after the Olympics. — Dan Lauletta
Racing Louisville FC name Christy Holly head coach
Analysis: The only coaching vacancy to this point was filled early, giving Holly plenty of time to settle in before he is tasked with specifically selecting players both from other NWSL sides and from the world of discovery. Holly was relatively unknown when he got the Sky Blue job in 2016 and coached/coaxed that team to a respectable finish despite working with precious few resources. Things went south in 2017 and officially he stepped down in mid-August. Holly had made good use of the years since latching on with U.S. Soccer where he has helped out at the youth level and served as a scout for the senior team ahead of the World Cup. On soccer grounds, he figures to improve in his second go-round as a head coach. He speaks often about culture which was not well at the end of his Sky Blue tenure, but if he can set Racing on the right course this could turn out to be a sneaky good hire for the league’s 10th team. — Dan Lauletta
Sam Mewis signs with Manchester City
Analysis: With no games on the schedule for club or country and the murkiness of the CBA language in the absence of a standard NWSL season, Mewis jumped at the chance to join English power Manchester City where she will play in the Champions League and likely compete for domestic trophies. The deal is believed to be for one season with an option, which means Mewis would be able to return to North Carolina after the Olympics, or if that doesn’t happen sometime around late June. The Courage are deep in midfield but no one can lose a player as good as Mewis and not feel it. Still, there is a long way until opening day 2021 and the Courage may do some shuffling around since they figure to be the most vulnerable to the expansion draft. The move should be a good one for Mewis since it will get her games in a different environment. Some of those games will be against excellent competition. Note this is neither a transfer nor a loan since Mewis is contracted to U.S. Soccer and not specifically to the Courage. — Dan Lauletta

Chicago Red Stars moves

Yuki Nagasato makes history by joining men’s amateur side Hayabusa Eleven (Japan)
Rachel Hill to Linköpings FC (Sweden)
Cassie Miller to Apollon Ladies FC (Cyprus)
Emily Boyd to HB Køge (Denmark)
Makenzy Doniak to HB Køge (Denmark)
Kayla Sharples to Kuopion Pallesuera (Finland)
Analysis: The Red Stars have never been shy about developing their players and this set of loans is indicative of that. Hill will get a much different experience in Sweden as she has in Australia in recent years and Boyd should get a chance to get regular reps at Køge. Sharples showed she had potential but also her inexperience during the Challenge Cup. All of these players are expected back in time for preseason. — Dan Lauletta

Houston Dash moves

Shania Ashouri (FWD) and Jaci Jones (MF) signed to short-term contracts for the NWSL Fall Series
Cece Kizer signs a two-year contract extension through the 2022 season; on loan with Kolbotn IL in Norway for the rest of 2020
Lauren Silver signed to a short-term contract for the 2020 season
Kayla McCoy removed from 23-player roster due to a knee injury suffered in training
Katie Naughton and Megan Oyster re-sign through the 2021 season, with an option for 2022
Rachel Daly signs extension through 2023
Analysis: Scroll up for full analysis from Rachel Kriger.

North Carolina Courage moves

Ari Romero signs a short-term contract for the 2020 season
Kristina Maksuti signs for 2020 Fall Series (from Germany)
Peyton Perea signs for 2020 Fall Series (from Spain)
Debinha signs extension through 2022, plus one-year option (allocation money used)
Jessica McDonald signs extension through 2021
Lynn Williams signs extension through 2023 (allocation money used)
Sam Mewis signs with Manchester City (England)
Hailie Mace loaned to Kristiandstads DDF (Sweden)
Lindsay Agnew loaned to KIF Örebro (Sweden)
Paul Riley signs extension through 2022
Analysis: Mewis is one of the best in the NWSL and figures to be one of the best in England as she tries to help Manchester City get over a run of seconditis. Mace, however, is an intriguing move. She was superb in limited minutes during the Challenge Cup and is very likely to be in the mix with the U.S. next cycle. In other words, every minute of match play counts. The contract extensions are only good things, including Riley who was going year-by-year when he first went to North Carolina. Recent signing Maksuti could become the first Albanian international to play in the NWSL. — Dan Lauletta

OL Reign moves

Celia Jiménez has joined Olympique Lyonnais on loan through June 2021
Kimberly Hazlett, Sam Hiatt and Miranda Nild sign short-term contracts for Fall Series
Megan Rapinoe has opted out of the NWSL Fall Series
Adrienne Jordan’s deal with OL Reign is over, as she is now with UD Granadilla Tenerife
Darian Jenkins signs extension through 2022, the joins FC Girondins de Bordeaux on loan until February 2021
Alanna Cook loan is officially over, Cook back with Paris Saint-Germain (France) | Aug. 28, 2020
Rose Lavelle rights acquired, signs with Manchester City (England)
Jodie Taylor transferred to Lyon (France)
Rebecca Quinn loaned to Vittsjö GIK (Sweden); signs extension with Reign through 2021
Lauren Barnes loaned to Kristianstads DFF (Sweden)
Nicole Momiki loaned to Linköpings FC (Sweden)
Jess Fishlock loaned to Reading FC (England)
2022 1st round pick, $100,000 in allocation money traded to Spirit
Analysis: Taylor becomes the first OL Reign player to move directly to the mother ship in France and a month in already has a Champions League medal. All of these agreements are scheduled to expire well in advance of 2021 NWSL preseason. As it stands, the agreement only extends until the end of 2020, so Taylor may well be back in the Pacific Northwest and fully battle tested by the time the Reign begin a 2021 season. Rapinoe opting out of the Fall Series should not have come as a surprise but it may be worth starting to think about how much more soccer she has left in the tank. — Dan Lauletta

Orlando Pride moves

Carrie Lawrence (DF), Ally Haran (DF), Zandy Soree (MF), Deneisha Blackwood (MF), Jordyn Listro (MF), Savanah Uveges (MF) and Kate Howarth (FWD) all signed to short-term contracts for the Fall Series
Chelsee Washington (MF) & Brittany Wilson (GK) have signed through the 2021 season, option for 2022
Taylor Kornieck loaned to the Frauen Bundesliga. Club to be announced soon
Emily Van Egmond loaned to West Ham United (England)
Alanna Kennedy and Shelina Zadorsky loaned to Tottenham (England)
Carson Pickett loaned to Apollon (Cyprus)
Emily Sonnett signs with Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC (Sweden)
Erin McLeod loaned to Ungmennafélag Stjarnan (Iceland)
Camila loaned to SE Palmeiras (Brazil)
Ali Riley loaned to FC Rosengård (Sweden)
Jade Moore loaned to Atletico Madrid (Spain)
Erin Greening waived
Analysis: Sonnett joins a growing group of U.S. Soccer contracted players taking advantage of the down time by heading to Europe for what is more than likely something short-term. Like McLeod and Riley, she has yet to play for the Pride having been acquired last offseason before the team was unable to travel to the Challenge Cup due to COVID-19 positives. — Dan Lauletta

Portland Thorns FC moves

Tobin Heath signs with Manchester United (England) for 2020-21 season
Celeste Boureille on short-term loan with FC Fleury 91 (France)
Analysis: . Tobin Heath has signed with Manchester City for the current WSL season, joining USWNT international teammate Christen Press in wearing red. On the other side of Manchester are fellow international teammates Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis. Meanwhile, Boureille is looking to help a French team in the hopes of making Champions League — and one day upsetting Lyon. — Rachael Kriger

Sky Blue FC moves

Kaleigh Riehl loaned to Paris FC (France) until February 2021.
Evelyne Viens loaned to Paris FC (France) until February 2021
Jennifer Cudjoe signs multi-year extension
Nahomi Kawasumi loaned to INAC Kobe (Japan)
Elizabeth Eddy loaned to Vittsjö (Sweden)
Analysis: Two fairly small-term agreements here highlighted by Kawasumi heading home to Japan for the remainder of 2020. That should help sharpen some of the skills that have made her so good since she burst on the scene here in 2014. Cudjoe’s extension may make her the player who gained the most at the NWSL Challenge Cup.— Dan Lauletta

Utah Royals FC moves

Rachel Corsie signs extension through 2022, on loan with Birmingham City FC (England) until March 5, 2021
Analysis: This agreement gives Jonsdottir an opportunity to play at home in Iceland for the first time since she departed Stjarnan eight years ago. That was likely too good an opportunity to pass up. The question for “Gunny” is whether her somewhat emergency-based use on the back line was the start of a new day for her or simply that, a cameo based on need. Corsie should have her hands full with the improving talent in the FSL.— Dan Lauletta

Washington Spirit moves

Rose Lavelle traded to OL Reign
2022 1st round pick and $100,000 allocation money acquired from OL Reign
Analysis: The Pugh/Lavelle era has ended with both talented but oft-injured tandem having been traded seven months apart. See above for full analysis of this trade. — Dan Lauletta

–Isabella Valeriano Munson contributed to this report