With preseason upon us, the NWSL offseason is officially winding down.
This offseason saw everything, including multiple drafts, wild trades, international transfers, unexpected free agency moves, and key re-signings. Because every single team was busy in the last couple of months, we’re highlighting each team’s most exciting offseason move to help cut through the noise.
Let’s get to it.
Most exciting move: Keeping Jun Endo
Angel City’s most exciting move happened early in the offseason when the club and attacker Jun Endo mutually agreed to exercise Endo’s one-year option to keep her in Los Angeles through the end of the 2024 season. Endo has been a key part of Angel City’s attack over the last two seasons, mostly because she’s exceptional in possession. She rarely gets dispossessed, which became evident to the rest of the world during last summer’s World Cup.
At just 23, Endo is approaching her prime, too, which makes her extra year as an Angel – and in the NWSL – even more exciting.
Most exciting move: Drafting Savy King
The Bay’s roster is still relatively thin, with only 16 players listed on the club’s website. While there are more moves on the horizon, selecting defender Savy King out of the University of North Carolina in the 2024 NWSL Draft takes the cake so far.
A nominee for the 2023 U.S. Soccer Young Player Female of the Year, King played center back in UNC’s three-back system, but she also has experience slotting in as an outside back. As the Tar Heels’ most reliable defender last season, King won 80.7% of her defensive duels and 73.7% of her aerial duels. To add to those numbers, King also averaged 3.6 interceptions per game and 3.03 clearances per game.
The 18-year-old is a sharp passer and excels at breaking lines, and will be a versatile option for a brand-new team trying to make a statement in 2024.
Chicago Red Stars
Most exciting move: Re-signing Mallory Swanson
Mallory Swanson’s new contract is, without a doubt, the most exciting thing to happen in Chicago’s busy offseason. Swanson signed a league-maximum five-year deal, which is massive for a team that was downright awful in 2023. Even as Swanson works her way back to match fitness after a knee injury sidelined her for most of last season, she’ll still be an elite attacking option for new coach Lorne Donaldson.
Swanson scored 11 goals for Chicago in 2022 and added another six assists while recording 34 key passes. She also led the entire league in value added from her dribbling on a per 96-minute basis that year – her 0.18 goals added via dribbling per 96 is the highest value for a regular starter in American Soccer Analysis’ entire database, which dates back to 2016.
Simply put: Swanson is one of the best players in the league, and the Red Stars are lucky to have locked her down.