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Chicago Red Stars forward, Mallory Swanson, was named to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) June Best XI of the Month, presented by Amazon Prime, the league announced today.

Swanson receives Best XI of the Month honors for the first time in 2024 and seventh time in her career, with four earned in a Red Stars kit. Previous recognitions for the attacker include March and April of 2018, May and July of 2021, and May and June of 2023. In June’s four matches, Swanson scored three goals, as many as she accumulated in the first 9 matches of 2024, ranking her fourth in the NWSL Golden Boot race with seven goals on the season. Playing all but one of the 360 minutes in June, Swanson led the Red Stars in shots (8), chances created (5) and passes in the final third (36). Additionally, Swanson leads Chicago in expected goals (5.99), shots (30), chances created (20), and final-third passes (145), while her team-high 10 goal contributions place her fifth in the NWSL.

Swanson’s three June goals, accumulating just 1.6 expected goals, were all scored in stunning fashion; Just six minutes into Chicago’s June 14 match against Kansas City, Swanson arced a shot perfectly between the keeper’s outstretched arm and leg into the back of the net. In North Carolina June 23, Swanson flicked the ball forward to herself off the back of her own heel from a throw-in in the 12th minute, flying from midfield into the box and beating three defenders to score in the space of 12 seconds. In San Diego June 28, after receiving the ball in open space from rookie Jameese Joseph during the 67th minute, Swanson took just one touch to control the ball before angling a shot off the crossbar to score. Swanson’s third goal in as many matches went on to earn the Colorado native NWSL Goal of the Week honors July 2.

The NWSL Best XI of the Month, presented by Amazon Prime, is selected each month of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis, and the NWSL’s on-air broadcast talent. The full June Best XI of the Month, presented by Prime, can be found below:

Goalkeepers: Anna Moorhouse (ORL)

Defenders: Elizabeth Ball (KC), Jenna Nighswonger (GFC), Casey Krueger (WAS), Izzy Rodriguez (KC)

Midfielders: Croix Bethune (WAS), Rose Lavelle (GFC), Lo’eau Labonta (KC)

Forwards: Barbra Banda (ORL), Temwa Chawinga (KC), Mallory Swanson (CHI)

Chicago Red Stars forward, Mallory Swanson, earned her second-consecutive National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Goal of the Week award, the league announced today.

In the opening minute of first-half stoppage time of Chicago’s July 6 home match against the Houston Dash, Dash midfielder and former Red Star, Yuki Nagasato, passed the ball to teammate Ramona Bachmann. Immediate pressure from Red Stars Bea Franklin and Tatumn Milazzo held Bachmann off from moving the ball out of Houston’s defensive end. Bachmann attempted to pass backward and reset the play to gain advantage, but Chicago midfielder and rookie, Leilanni Nesbeth, ran forward to intercept the ball. Immediately identifying Mallory Swanson with yards of open field behind her, Nesbeth took a one-touch pass that angled itself tightly behind Nagasato and into the empty space. Tracking the ball, Swanson promptly reversed course and dribbled more centrally while Houston’s defense frantically backtracked. As the Dash back line closed in, Swanson spotted a gap between two defenders and rocketed off a powerful left-footed shot just outside the 18-yard box. Houston goalkeeper, Jane Campbell, dove left to attempt a save, but the ball was lofted too high to stop, flying into the top left corner of the net.

Swanson’s fourth goal in as many games ties the longest single-season goalscoring streak in Red Stars history (Sam Kerr in 2018, Jen Hoy in 2014) and marked the Colorado native’s 50th regular-season goal contribution (33 goals, 17 assists). At 26 years and 68 days old, Swanson is the fourth-youngest player in NWSL history to reach the milestone, behind Sophia Smith, Sam Kerr and Lynn Williams. Swanson earns the Goal of the Week honor for the second-consecutive week, receiving the award in Week 14 for her 67th-minute goal against San Diego Wave FC June 28. Chicago rookies set up both award-winning goals, with Jameese Joseph recording the assist June 28 and Leilanni Nesbeth earning the assist July 6, the first assist by a Bermudian national in NWSL history. Additionally, Swanson is the second Red Star to win back-to-back weekly NWSL honors, following defender Tatumn Milazzo earning NWSL Save of the Week awards, presented by Deloitte, in Weeks 4 and 5.

Swanson and Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher now join the United States Olympic Women’s Soccer Team for a pair of send-off matches prior to the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Red Stars next host New Jersey/New York  Gotham FC July 20 at 4:00 p.m. CT to open 2024 NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup play at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois. The Red Stars will welcome two-time Olympian and new signing, Julia Grosso, three-time Olympian Naeher and two-time Olympian Swanson back to Chicago September 8, hosting the Orlando Pride at 5:00 p.m. CT. Tickets to all Chicago Red Stars home matches can be purchased at chicagoredstars.com/tickets.

The Chicago Red Stars today announced the signing of Canadian Women’s National Team (CANWNT) midfielder, Julia Grosso, to a three-year contract through the 2026 season. Having recently been named to the Canadian Women’s Olympic Soccer Team roster, Grosso will join the Red Stars in market following the Olympics and receipt of her P-1 Visa.  

“I’m happy to welcome Julia to Chicago,” said Chicago Red Stars general manager, Richard Feuz. “Julia’s experience with Juventus FC, and internationally with Canada, will be a crucial addition to our midfield. Her background with a top European club, combined with her knowledge of North American soccer, will help strengthen the backbone of our team as we strive to reach new heights.”  

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Red Stars and can’t wait to hit the field every weekend and give it my all,” said Grosso. “I’ve heard that Red Star fans are super passionate, so I’m excited to be a part of that. I’m looking forward to playing alongside the talented players in Chicago for the rest of the season and beyond!” 

Internationally, Grosso debuted in the Canadian system at 13 years old for the Canadian Under-15 Women’s National Team in 2014, going on to play for the under-17 and under-20 national teams. Earning her first senior CANWNT call up ahead of two friendlies against the United States in November 2017, Grosso recorded her first cap November 12, 2017. The Vancouver, BC, native was named to Canada’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad but did not register any minutes before the CANWNT exited in the round of 16. 

Part of the CANWNT roster for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Grosso scored the penalty kick that won Canada the gold medal. In 2022, Grosso scored three goals in the CONCACAF W Championship tournament, with her first two goals coming in the form of a brace against Trinidad and Tobago. Grosso’s third goal came against Panama, was the game’s lone goal and qualified the CANWNT for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. In 2024, Grosso has appeared in five of Canada’s nine matches, converting a penalty kick in Canada’s April 9 shootout against the United States and most recently starting in the CANWNT’s June 1 friendly against Mexico. 

On the club level, Grosso joins Chicago from Juventus FC of the Serie A Women’s League in Italy. The midfielder spent an impressive three seasons with the Italian side, winning the 2022 Copa Italia, Series A league title and the Supercopa. In Grosso’s second season with Juventus, the Canadian was named the Serie A Midfielder of the Season with four goals in 34 matches across all competitions. Grosso made 76 appearances and scored 10 goals over her time with Juventus. Grosso previously spent time in the United States at the collegiate level for the University of Texas, scoring 21 goals across 60 appearances for the Longhorns between 2018-2021. 

During the Olympic break, the Red Stars will participate in the 2024 Summer Cup and take on NJ/NY Gotham FC in their first match of group play July 20. Tickets are available now at chicagoredstars.com/tickets.  

The Chicago Red Stars have removed Sami Feller from the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) season-ending-injury list. Feller will be available for selection ahead of the Red Stars’ match against the Houston Dash tomorrow at SeatGeek Stadium.  

Feller joined the Red Stars in 2023 as a non-rostered invitee and earned a contract with the club. The Colorado native played college soccer at the University of Denver where she started in 88 of the 94 matches she played, scored 34 goals and made 32 assists. While at Denver, Feller earned multiple honors including United Soccer Coaches All-West Region First Team (2020), United Soccer All-West Region Second Team (2019, 2021) and United Soccer Coaches All-West Region Third Team (2018).  

The Red Stars take on the Houston Dash Saturday, July 6, at SeatGeek Stadium at Noon CT. The team will then take a week off before returning to prepare for the NWSL X Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup where they will play two home matches against New Jersey/New York Gotham FC July 20, followed by a match against Chivas Femenil July 26. Tickets for all Red Stars home matches are available now at chicagoredstars.com/tickets

Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, and forward, Mallory Swanson received National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Week 14 honors, the league announced today. Naeher earns NWSL Save of the Week, presented by Deloitte, while Swanson earns the NWSL Goal of the Week award for their respective performances in Chicago’s 3-0 shutout of San Diego Wave FC June 28.

In the 51st minute of the June 28 road match, San Diego Wave forward, Jaedyn Shaw, worked her way into space a few yards outside the 18-yard box. With space, Shaw sent a strong shot from distance towards the upper right corner of the net. To Shaw’s misfortune, Alyssa Naeher was laser focused on the shot from the center of the line. Naeher sprang into action, jumping towards the ball and managing to get a hand on the ball to tip it just above the crossbar with a full extension at the last second. The save preserved Chicago’s 1-0 lead over the Wave and, ultimately, the clean sheet for Chicago.

Goal of the Week recipient Mallory Swanson would double the scoreline Naeher kept steady in the 67th minute. The goal’s lead up began with Red Stars rookie forward, Jameese Joseph, following San Diego’s back line passing the ball around outside their defensive third. Joseph moved forward from the midfield as the Wave’s Hanna Lundkvist looked to pass the ball towards San Diego’s attack, applying pressure and forcing the Wave defender to change direction. Joseph seized the moment with Lundkvist’s back turned to her, the rookie bringing herself shoulder-to-shoulder with her opponent, challenging for the ball and coming away with possession. Both Joseph and a wide-open Mallory Swanson put on bursts of speed as Swanson called for the ball, identifying yards of open space in the box beyond the last defender ahead of Joseph. An easy pass from Joseph placed the ball perfectly at Swanson’s feet, and after taking a single touch to control the ball, Swanson hammered a left-footed shot just outside the left corner of the six-yard box. San Diego goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan found herself backpedaling as the shot whistled in, looking like it might fly just above the net, but the ball lowered just enough to glance off the crossbar and into the back of the net. Swanson’s sixth goal of 2024 helped Chicago win the match with a 3-0 clean sheet and advanced Swanson into fourth position for the Golden Boot Race.

The Goal of the Week honor is Swanson’s first such award of her career and marks the first time a Red Star has earned the honor since 2019 (Sam Kerr, Week 16). Naeher’s eighth career Save of the Week honor is the keeper’s second in 2024, following her Week 1 Save of the Week win March 20. Naeher is the second Red Star to earn two Save of the Week honors in 2024, joining fellow Week 15 Save of the Week nominee, defender and Orland Park native, Tatumn Milazzo, who won back-to-back Save of the Week awards in Weeks 4 and 5.

Naeher, Swanson and the Red Stars return home from a three-week road trip to host the Houston Dash July 6. Gates open at 11 a.m. CT for Kids Day celebrations at SeatGeek Stadium July 6 before kickoff at 12 p.m. CT. Tickets to Chicago Red Stars home matches can be purchased at chicagoredstars.com/tickets. Following the match, three-time Olympian Naeher and two-time Olympian Swanson will join the United States Olympic Women’s Soccer Team for a pair of send-off matches prior to departing for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Chicago Red Stars defender, Natalia Kuikka, has been named to the Finnish Women’s National Team roster ahead of their upcoming matches against Norway and Italy.

Kuikka will represent Finland in final group stage qualifying matches for the 2025 Women’s European Championship as the team takes on Norway July 12 and Italy July 16. Most recently, Kuikka started in both of Finland’s qualifying matches against the Netherlands May 31 and June 4. The four-time Finland National Player of the Year played a full 90 minutes in both the 1-0 loss May 31 and the 1-1 draw June 4.

For the Red Stars this season, Kuikka has started in all 15 regular-season matches, accumulating 1,305 minutes. Kuikka currently leads the National Women’s Soccer League with 99 clearances and her team-high 18 blocks rank her second in the league. Additionally, Kuikka’s 80.47 percent passing accuracy is the highest among Red Stars appearing in eight or more matches in 2024.

Following the end of the international window July 16, Kuikka will rejoin Chicago ahead of the team opening group stage play in the 2024 NWSL x Liga MX Femenil Summer Cup. The Red Stars will first host fellow NWSL club, Gotham FC, July 20 at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois, before hosting Liga MX Femenil side, Chivas de Guadalajara July 26. Tickets to all Red Stars home matches, including Chicago’s Kids Day match against the Houston Dash July 6 at 12:00 p.m. CT, can be purchased at chicagoredstars.com/tickets.

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