Tuesday saw the beginning of the first-ever NWSL free agency period. Those who have played six or more years can now renegotiate or sign with other clubs if their contracts are expiring or have option years in their contract. So far it has been slightly tame in the number of signings to start. But if other professional sports are any indication, We should be in for an interesting off-season in what will be a historic first NWSL free-agency period.
The First NWSL Free Agency Has Officially Started
— NJ/NY Gotham FC (@GothamFC) November 16, 2022
Players With New Teams
So far only two players have made a move away from their old club in the first NWSL free-agency period. But that doesn’t mean that the impact of free agency hasn’t already been felt. Two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Kelley O’Hara will be joining Gotham FC. The 34-year-old wingback will be returning to New York where she spent five years playing for Sky Blue FC. The leadership O’Hara brings on and off the pitch should benefit a Gotham side that finished in last place in 2022.
New Zealand international Katie Bowen is leaving the North Carolina Courage. Bowen, who played her entire club career in the U.S., will be moving to Melbourne City FC in Australia’s A-League. The move comes after Bowen was granted an early release after playing just two challenge cup matches for North Carolina.
THE GOAT IS STAYING IN SOCCER CITY 🐐
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) November 2, 2022
Players Who Have Re-Signed
At the victory celebration for their championship win last month, Portland Thorns star Christine Sinclair (Sinclair’s FIFA 23 rating is 83 as covered by Connor Marshall) made a big announcement. The Canadian legend will remain in Portland for the 2023 season with a one-year extension. Since then a host of other free agents have made the decision to resign from their current clubs. In addition to the signing of Kelley O’Hara, Gotham FC resigned three players from last year’s squad.
In the first NWSL free agency period, Gotham will retain Mandy Freeman, Ifeoma Onumonu, and Taylor Smith. The Chicago Red Stars resigned Yuki Nagasato and Arin Wright. And the Houston Dash will bring back Canadian international midfielder Sophie Schmidt on a two-year deal.
Players Still Undecided in the First NWSL Free Agency Period
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There are still 37 players who have yet to make a decision on their future. Some of those names are among the world’s biggest stars. Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, and Julie Ertz are noticeable US National Team members that are still on the market. Brazilian Debora and Canadian Desiree Scott are also among the international stars that are still free agents.
The first NWSL free agency period is another giant step in the right direction for the league. Giving players the ability to choose their destiny and have control of their future is a right that was established in American sports nearly half a century ago. It only seems fitting that the most prominent women’s soccer league should have this option. I’m sure this should be an exciting time for soccer fans as some of our favorite players reveal what the next chapter of their careers might be.
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