Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.
A surprising twist in the soccer world as some of our 2019 Women’s World Cup Champs make tough decisions. While the NWSL begin their fall series, five United States Women’s National Team players have other plans in mind. Alex Morgan along with Tobin Heath, Christen Press and others have committed to playing in the European League. As COVID-19 has not been in constant control, the U.S. players began to have second thoughts in staying home.
Mewis Takes the First Step
The first to move was Center Midfielder Samantha Mewis. At the beginning of August, she transferred from North Carolina Courage to Manchester City. While her former NWSL team took the championship title in 2018-2019, Manchester City also had their fair share of victories. In 2019, Manchester City came in second place to Chelsea by one point. This year, Manchester City is confident to win the FA Super League with their new addition. Head Coach Gavin Makel says, “Bringing Sam to the club is a huge coup for us…she is a highly technical and extremely athletic midfield player who will help the team push on in what is a new era for the Club.”
Lavelle Shadows Mewis
Following Mewis’ footsteps, Midfielder Rose Lavelle will also play for Manchester City. Playing overseas, Lavelle’s rights were acquired to OL Reign in a trade with Washington Spirit. Lavelle’s former NWSL team will be gaining OL Reign’s first round draft pick of 2022. They will also gain $100,000 in allocation money and additional allocation prepared upon Lavelle’s playing status for NWSL.
Because of the unsure game schedule from COVID-19, the midfielder immediately signed to play outside of the NWSL. CEO of OL Reign, Bill Predmore accepted the sacrifice to wait for her arrival. “While we would have loved to have Rose join our club today, she fits perfectly into our long-term vision for the squad.” Predmore continues, “…We are willing to…exercise the needed patience and do whatever work is required to realize our goal of bringing Rose to OL reign in the future”. With this in mind, Mewis and Lavelle begin their training with Manchester City for their fall league.
Press and Heath Come Back to Europe
As things continue in Man. City, other USWNT players made their appearance in Manchester United. Beginning September, Outside Winger Tobin Heath and Forward Christen Press have signed to play abroad to the United Kingdom. Former Utah Royals player Christen Press and former Portland Thorns player Tobin Heath are no strangers to the European League. Christen played for Göteborg FC in 2012 and 2018, and for Tyreso 2013-14. Tobin had her short debut with Paris St. Germain in 2013-14. Joining Manchester United for the 2020-21 FA Super League, it is believed that the two players will not return to the NWSL until after the 2021 Summer Olympics.
Morgan Heads to London
Shortly after Press and Heath’s move, USWNT Forward Alex Morgan decided to play in London for the 2020-2021 season. With Mewis and Lavelle travelling to Manchester City and Press and Heath with Manchester United, Morgan took a bold move to transfer from NWSL team Orlando Pride to Tottenham Hotspur FC as a loan player.
Although her contract consists of playing for the last four months of the year, Tottenham has given her the option to stay until the season ends in May. Just like the two Man. United newcomers, Morgan has also had her fair share of playing in the European league. Signing with Lyon back in 2016-17, she played for the second half of the season while Lyon took the Champions League title. Although Orlando Pride is expecting her return in March for the NWSL pre-season, it is still undefined if her journey will take her back home in March, or continue as a Spur until May.