On January 18, 2018, midfielder Nikki Stanton was part of a blockbuster, three-team trade that brought her and Sky Blue FC teammate Sam Kerr to Chicago together.
When news of her moving to Chicago was public, she was currently playing overseas in Australia’s W-League; a league most NWSL players join during the offseason to continue their competitive play. Stanton and Kerr both played for Perth Glory. But being across the world didn’t stop her from being excited for the new city.
“I’ve always liked Chicago, the way they play,” said Stanton. “I’ve heard they are a real professional club so I was real excited.”
Most news outlets focused on the “blockbuster” part of the trade, where Christen Press, Carli Lloyd and Kerr were involved, bypassing the names of Stanton, Janine Beckie and Jen Hoy. Despite all six players being beneficial to their former teams, the national team players saw more of the spotlight.
“It was always those three names, but at the same time, we’re packing our lives too; changing teams and cities. We’re still here too, trying to show our worth to the teams and prove ourselves.”
And Stanton has done just that, proving herself a threat, earning the second most minutes from the midfield behind Danielle Colaprico. Stanton has taken on the most duels on the team, showing her aggressive side in Chicago’s veteran midfield lineup.
“When I heard I was traded to Chicago, I looked at their midfield, and it’s obviously so stacked. It’s one of the best midfields in the league. I’m just happy I can help and I want to do whatever I can for this club.”
Despite moving to a new team, Stanton had some familiar faces welcome her to the team. Midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo and Alyssa Mautz both played with Stanton for Perth Glory in the offseason in 2017. The veteran players helped their former teammate and friend feel at home in the new city.
“Coming into any team is hard, especially a team that has had such a consistent roster for so long. But coming in and already having that friendship with Vanessa and Mautz it’s been an easier transition working my way into the Red Stars.”
Stanton’s new neighbors are also her teammates, making it easier to get to know the girls on her team.
“It’s me, Sam [Kerr], Danny [Colaprico], Mautz, Rosie [White] and Yuki [Nagasato]. It’s so much fun! We have pizza nights, face-mask nights, dance parties. We watch the NWSL games together. I knew Mautz and Danny from prior, but Rosie jumped in and has made an awesome impression. We’re all obsessed with the game Monopoly Deal, so we play that a lot.”
Stanton has brought some familiar things with her from her last team, including the act of fostering animals. An avid dog lover, Stanton’s house in New Jersey fostered a dog, using their social media to promote her with the hope to get her adopted. Recently, she has done the same thing in the new city, fostering a pup.
“In New Jersey, we fostered a dog and I found that it’s such a rewarding experience. I’m not really in a place to own a dog at the moment, so I reached out to Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago. Within three days, I was fostering a little, tiny pitbull named Piper. We are really trying to promote her and get her adopted because she wasn’t really showing well in the shelter, getting stressed out. We are spoiling her, giving her all the love that any dog would want.”
Catch Stanton and the rest of the Chicago Red Stars as they head to Stanton’s home state of Washington to take on Seattle Reign FC for the first time this season. The match kicks off at 9 p.m. CT, on Saturday, May 19, and will be broadcast live on the NWSL app and go90 app.