While it’s not a 100 percent women’s soccer edition of Blue Notes, there is a lot of NWSL and WoSo news today! Let’s get to it.
KC Current Miss Out on Dumornay
Let’s start with the bad news. During the summer, the Kansas City Current were linked to then 18-year-old Haitian forward Melchie Dumornay. She had a breakout CONCACAF W Championship performance for Haiti and was on the radar of teams all around the world.
It appears she won’t be coming to Missouri though. The Washington Post’s Steven Goff is reporting that she’ll join French giants Olympique Lyonnais, which are the team that controls the OL Reign in the NWSL.
Hearing Olympique Lyonnais might have won the battle to sign Haitian star Melchie Dumornay, 19. KC Current was NWSL frontrunner but late push by OL seems to have made the $ difference. She’s out of contract with Reims this summer.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) January 5, 2023
They are far and away one of the best teams in the world, but it’s a shame that Dumornay isn’t plying her trade in America or with the Current. Despite that, the Current are still in a strong position heading into 2023.
The Current Re-Sign a Rising Star
Despite missing out on Dumornay (probably, nothing is official yet), the Current created some good news of their own by locking up Alex Loera to a long-term contract. Loera, who was already signed through 2024, has extended her deal through 2025. Perhaps with a raise?
Originally a fourth-round pick (36th overall) in the 2021 NWSL draft, Loera returned to Santa Clara under the unique COVID rules of that year and debuted as a rookie in 2022. She showed why many speculated she would have been a first-round pick in 2022 by being a contender for rookie of the year.
This feels like a very good bit of business from the Current as a large portion of their team is locked up through 2024 with Loera joining Hailie Mace as young stars signed through the 2025 season.
“I was lucky enough to end up in KC by chance, thanks to the draft, so when I had the choice to stay three more years it was an easy one,” said Loera. “I am so grateful to Matt and the coaches, Cami, and ownership for my new contract so that I have the ability to work toward bringing home a NWSL championship to Kansas City and our incredible fans who support and love us.”
Loera lined up primarily at center back in 2022 but she shined playing defensive midfielder and on set pieces. I look forward to many more years of her in KC.
Three USWNT Call Ups for KC
To keep the KC Current news going, the team announced call-ups for Hailie Mace, AD Franch and the returning Lynn Williams for January Camp. They have two friendlies against New Zealand that will be the start of the 2023 World Cup preparations before the She Believes Cup (which is set to take place in February).
The United States are set to travel to New Zealand for the games with the matches taking place on January 17th (9:00 PM CT) and January 20th (9:00 PM CT). They’ll be playing in some of the same stadiums they’ll play in during the World Cup this summer when the US looked to defend their back-to-back titles.
Mace and Franch had been called in recently, but Williams missed all of the 2022 season with a hamstring surgery. This will be the first chance for Current fans to see Williams play since she went down with injury during the Challenge Cup in 2022.
“We’ve been thinking about and planning for the World Cup for a long time, but when the calendar turns to the World Cup year, for sure it brings some renewed focus and energy as the tournament starts in less than 200 days,” said USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “To get to bring the team to New Zealand in January and play in our World Cup venues has so many benefits so we are going to make sure we maximize our time together, make this trip as productive as possible and enjoy a unique experience as many of our players have never been to New Zealand before.”
One interesting complication is these games are only going to be on HBO Max. Personally, I have HBO now because of a Black Friday deal, but buying yet another streaming service to watch games later in 2023 is less than appealing.
Blockbuster NWSL Trade
The NWSL draft is a week from yesterday and things are really starting to heat up. A four-team trade involving the first, second and fifth overall picks changed hands on Thursday.
- Angel City FC parted ways with $450,000 in allocation money, plus and the 5th overall pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2024 for the rights to pick first. They are rumored to be taking high school senior Alyssa Thompson, who made her senior national team debut recently but was not a part of the aforementioned call-ups. She hasn’t yet declared for the draft but is a Southern California native. She has until the 9th to declare.
- The Portland Thorns received $200,000 of that allocation money and ACFC’s picks and gave up 2021 first round pick Yazmeen Ryan.
- Ryan passed through Angel City on her way to NJ/NY Gotham, who received the other $250,000 in allocation money from ACFC in exchange for the first overall pick. They then sent $350,000 in allocation money to the Orlando Pride for the second overall pick.
Angel City appears to have paid significantly and Claire Watkins thinks Gotham are the biggest winners by only giving up $100k to slide back a spot and get a great chance creator in Ryan and likely still their top target in the draft.
With Orlando still holding the third pick, they will likely get whoever they would have gotten at 2nd overall with Thompson only likely to declare for the draft to end up in Los Angeles. This could also load their coffers for a run at Brazilian midfielder Debinha to pair with Marta if they are able to re-sign her. So much for my Debinha to KC Current plans. There are also rumors Debinha wants to go to Europe to be able to play in Champions League.
Angel City are betting big on Thompson becoming a star, but in the short term it’d seem this won’t put them over the line. And Portland likely are needing that allocation money to handle all the contracts of the many USWNT players on their roster with Lindsay Horan returning from loan in France.
For anyone wondering, this doesn’t appear to have any bearing on the KC Current and their draft directly, other than another prospect should fall with Thompson joining the list. In a somewhat complicated trade, the Current are set to get Gotham’s second best first round pick. Even if Gotham hadn’t traded back into the two spot, the 10th pick still would have moved to the Current.
Kansas City own eight picks in next week’s draft. One first, three seconds, one third and three fourths. Here is a full run down of all the picks and how they were acquired. Expect more trades!
The First Known Sporting KC Preseason Game
It’s not much, but we’ve got one game on the docket. The Portland Timbers released their preseason schedule, and it includes a game against Sporting Kansas City.
The teams will meet on January 21st and are being hosted by Phoenix Rising FC. As Mike points out below, they leave for Arizona on January 9th and spend a month before returning for 10 days just before the season starts.
#SportingKC haven't announced their full slate of preseason games yet, they report to KC tomorrow and depart for Arizona 1/9. They're there until 2/8 then return 2/15-2/24. We do have 1 game announced though, on 1/21 against Portland.https://t.co/zVUCMWbIEi— Mike (@downthebyline) January 5, 2023
- New signing Nemanja Radoja arrived a day ahead of the start of preseason. Looking good in that Sporting Indigo.
- MLSsoccer.com’s Matt Doyle released his exhaustive rundowns of all the Western and Eastern Conference teams and their offseasons so far as well as a projected depth chart. He thinks 1st round pick Stephen Afrifa will make the team, makes some wild CB speculation and isn’t ruling out an Alan Pulido buyout, which we explained the math on yesterday.
- MLS veteran Sacha Kljestan retired.
The @LAGalaxy have signed free-agent midfielder Jose “Memo” Rodriguez to a one-year contract through the end of the 2023 MLS season with a club option for 2024 and 2025. Rodriguez, 27, had 21 goals and 15 assists in 148 games for Houston Dynamo FC (2015, 2017 – 22).— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) January 5, 2023
- Atlanta United transferred Alan Franco to Sao Paulo in Brazil. The move is reportedly for $2.33 million for 80 percent of Franco’s rights.
- Inter Miami CF are also “in serious talks” with Atlanta to acquire Josef Martinez per Tommy Scoops.
BREAKING: Inter Miami are in serious talks with Atlanta United over former MLS MVP Josef Martinez. Nothing agreed yet, but discussions ongoing.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) January 5, 2023
Martinez, 29, has 98g/16a in 134 MLS apps. Battled injuries last few years, but still had 9g/4a in 1500 mins in 2022. pic.twitter.com/tWq8mVn7j5
- Overall, there was an unbelievable number of transactions around MLS today, so I recommend just scrolling through the official transfer tracker.
- And let’s end it on the KC Comets shouting me out with my Beginner’s Guide to the Kansas City Comets and the MASL. You should read it!