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NWSL news roundup: why not think about trades to come?

Players are searching for meaningful game minutes anywhere they can get them.

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Quarterfinals Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

If you’ve been listening to the way the wind is blowing, the sun has risen on a lot of NWSL player movement. Some of them are still running in the shadows, damn the fans and damn the reporting. Here’s the latest in NWSL news.

Never going back again

Rose Lavelle to Manchester City is now official, and it broke as part of a trade, with Lavelle’s rights being acquired by OL Reign from the Washington Spirit for $100k and a first round draft pick, plus possible future allocation money (presumably predicated on Lavelle returning to NWSL). On the surface this feels like a Spirit win; they get a ton of money for a player who was leaving anyway while OL Reign get the mere possibility Lavelle will eventually come back, a timeline which is as much a mystery as when the United States will stop being a hot coronavirus mess. But given that OL Groupe has probably sneezed out $100k at random, and the fairly well-known pressure USSF exerts on its NT players to eventually return to the domestic league, and the aforementioned coronavirus mess, there may be more on balance here. There’s just not a lot of NWSL games happening in the forseeable future and with the things the way they are, which top international talent can the Spirit really lure with that $100k right now (well...see below)? Both teams are putting pieces in place for the future, not the now.

Other moves:

Orlando Pride has a lot of players going on loan:

  • Emily Sonnett is headed to Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan through November 2020.
  • Jade Moore is also on loan to Atlético Madrid in Spain’s Primera Division until February 15, 2021.
  • Erin McLeod is on loan to Ungmennafélag Stjarnan in Iceland’s Urvalsdeild Kvenna through October 20, 2020.
  • Camila is on loan to Sociedade Esportiva in Palmeiras in Brazil until December 22, 2020.

Sky Blue FC’s Nahomi Kawasumi is on loan to INAC Kobe in Japan’s Nadeshiko League 1 from August 15 to December 31.

NC Courage’s Hailie Mace is on loan to Kristianstads DFF in the Damallsvenskan through November 2020.

OL Reign players on loan:

  • Rebecca Quinn is on loan to Vittsjö GIK in the Damallsvenskan through the end of 2020.
  • Jess Fishlock will return to the WSL with Reading.
  • Nicole Momiki joins Linköpings FC in the Damallsvenskan.
  • Lauren Barnes is going to Kristianstad, also in the Damallsvenskan.

Chicago Red Stars announced these five players going on loan:

  • Rachel Hill - Linköpings FC, Damallsvenskan
  • Cassie Miller - Apollon Ladies, Cypriot First Division (Cyprus)
  • Emily Boyd and Makenzy Doniak - HB Køge, Elitedivisionen (Denmark)
  • Kayla Sharples - Kuopion Palloseura, Kansallinen Liiga (Finland)

Don’t stop

The North Carolina courage have re-upped contracts with Lynn Williams and Jess McDonald. Williams is now signed through 2023 and McDonald through 2021. Head coach Paul Riley has also signed a contract extension, running through 2022.

Second hand news

Now that the Lavelle deal is done, the Big Rumor in NWSL is that Kelley O’Hara is about to make her own move from Utah to the Washington Spirit, as initially reported by The Athletic.

Wait, what was that about the Spirit and top talent? The thing is, though, that O’Hara, dealing with her own injuries, has actually had even less time on the field for her club than Lavelle since 2018. In 2018 she had 517 minutes over eight games, in 2019 she had 242 minutes over four games, and at the Challenge Cup she played 64 minutes over two games for a total of 823 minutes over two-and-a-half-ish season. Lavelle played 424 minutes over 11 games in 2018, 450 minutes over six games in 2019, and 208 minutes over four games in the Challenge Cup, for 1,082 minutes total. Although we don’t know these players’ respective recovery statuses, it does seem like the Spirit are trading one oft-injured player for another.

Go your own way

Orlando issued a press release that they have returned to individual training this week at their Sylvan Lake Park grounds. The release said that the club “awaits guidance on the future of 2020 NWSL play.” The Reign also sent out a press release about resuming small group training this week, with full team training to follow starting August 24. The heavy implication is that the league is contemplating more games in the fall, possibly setting up mini-bubbles so that teams can play each other regionally.