Vanessa DiBernardo, Chicago Red Stars midfielder and team captain, has informed the team that she does not plan to re-sign with the club. The Naperville native has been a part of the Red Stars since she was drafted in the first round of the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) draft.
“Chicago will forever have a place in my heart, but it’s time for me to start a new chapter in my career. Being a Red Star for the past 9 seasons has been more meaningful than I could have ever imagined,” said DiBernardo. “I’m thankful to many people who have supported me on my journey, but I especially want to thank my teammates for making my time in Chicago so special. I’m also grateful for the staff who pushed me to be the best player I could be. And finally, I want to thank the fans. You’ve been through a lot with us over the years, and if it wasn’t for your constant support, we wouldn’t be where we are today. I have faith this club is headed in the right direction, and I will be cheering it on from afar.”
As a former Red Star and now as the Associate General Manager, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Vanessa grow from a rookie to the leader she is today,” said Michelle Lomnicki, Red Stars Associate General Manger. “Vanessa is the definition of a Chicago Red Star and we’ll support and cheer her on from afar, wherever her career takes her next.”
DiBernardo has been a constant presence for the Red Stars since joining the team in 2014. Over her tenure, DiBernardo became the club leader in regular-season appearances, starts (155 and 140) and minutes (12,465). She also is second in regular-season assists with 22, behind Yuki Nagasato (23). DiBernardo is one of two players to have appeared in every playoff game for the Red Stars during the team’s historic seven consecutive playoff appearances.
The midfielder played in every game during the 2022 NWSL regular season, scoring one goal and assisting on one other. In September DiBernardo was named to the NWSL’s Best XI for the month. That was the third time in her career DiBernardo was named to a NWSL Best XI of the month team (July 2019, August 2018).
Prior to joining the Red Stars, DiBernardo played for the University of Illinois from 2010-2013. She ended her college career ranked third in school history with 43 goals, was twice a candidate for the MAC Hermann Trophy and in 2012 was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and Big Ten All-Tournament Team. In 2020 DiBernardo was inducted into the University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame.
During her time with the club, Vanessa helped define what it meant to be a Red Star with her hard work, selflessness and leadership. The Red Stars are grateful for everything Vanessa has brought to the club throughout the years and wish her the very best in the next stage of her career.
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