Established in 2007, the Chicago Red Stars began as one of seven teams competing in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) League, which lasted from 2009 to 2011. Long-time Chicago Fire President and General Manager Peter Wilt and WUSA coach and GM Marcia McDermott were brought in to solidify the team’s roots in the new league. The first two Head Coaches of the Red Stars during WPS were Emma Hayes and Omid Namazi.
In 2011, under single owner Arnim Whisler, the Red Stars joined the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). This time around, the Chicago women’s team selected Rory Dames, a Chicago native, as the head coach. In addition to a few former WPS players, the Red Stars added stars from the WNT U20 and U23 teams and other collegiate standouts. The Red Stars finished the season with a 10-1 record, coming in second to the Orange County Waves in the Championship match.
The next year, the team joined the WPSL Elite with seven other teams, including former WPS clubs Boston Breakers and Western New York Flash. Alyse LaHue returned to the team as the team’s second-ever General Manager. In a league that was a step up from the WPSL, the Red Stars again excelled to the Championship match, but fell just short of the league title to the Flash. The same year, the Red Stars won the 2012 USASA’s National Women’s Cup.
In November 2012, it was announced that the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) would be formed for a 2013 season. That year the Chicago Red Stars joined seven other teams in the NWSL—the Boston Breakers, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit and the Western New York Flash.
The 2013 roster included Maribel Dominguez and Dinora Garza, players who had been allocated to the Red Stars from the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), Erin McLeod and Carmelina Moscato from the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), and Shannon Boxx from the U.S Women’s National Team. The Red Stars finished 6th in the regular season standings during their inaugural year.
In 2014, the Red Stars would enter their second season in the NWSL and strengthen their numbers with USWNT player Christen Press, Canadian National Team veterans Karina LeBlanc and Melissa Tancredi, and first round college draft picks, Julie Johnston and Vanessa DiBernardo. Julie Johnston would come out of the 2014 with a historical year in league and become the first Red Star to earn NWSL Rookie of the Year.
The 2015 year would bring the program to new heights. With the return of U.S. Women’s National Team Member Lori Chalupny, Shannon Boxx, Christen Press and recently added Julie Johnston, the Red Stars boasted the most USA players on a team. The draft would add three sensational rookies in Arin Gilliland, Danielle Colaprico and Sofia Huerta, who would all be named to the 2015 NWSL Second-Best XI. During the summer, the international stars returned to their respective countries teams to compete in the World Cup. The USWNT would cruise past Japan in the finals, ultimately winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. After an amazing run in the NWSL regular season the Red Stars would place second in league play and host their first NWSL post-season game in team history. Danielle Colaprico would win NWSL Rookie of the Year, marking back-to-back Red Stars winning the prestigious award.
In 2016, the Red Stars have added even greater depth to a strong roster for their fourth season in the NWSL. The return of Press, Johnston, DiBernardo, Colaprico, Huerta and Gilliland along with the addition of USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher the Red Stars will look to continue on with their success from the 2015 season.