2018 is shaping up to be the Year Of Blockbuster Trades for the Chicago Red Stars.
First, Chicago is sending Sofia Huerta and Taylor Comeau to Houston in exchange for their first round pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft and the rights to former Red Star forward Christen Press.
Chicago then traded Christen Press and Sam Johnson to Utah in exchange for Brooke Elby and several draft picks, including the overall number one pick in 2019 and future first round picks in the next two NWSL drafts.
Per the official release from the club:
The Chicago Red Stars acquired the rights to Christen Press and a conditional first-round draft pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft from the Houston Dash in a trade for forward Sofia Huerta and defender Taylor Comeau, the club announced today. In a second transaction, Chicago has traded Press’ rights to the Utah Royals FC, along with Red Stars defender Samantha Johnson, in exchange for Brooke Elby, the number one overall NWSL College Draft pick in 2019, a first-round draft pick in 2019, along with conditional first and second-round picks in the 2020 draft and the first-round pick in 2021.
Press, of course, has been at the center of one of the biggest stories of the 2018 season. After being sent to Houston in a blockbuster three-way trade that ended up with Chicago signing 2017 NWSL MVP Sam Herr and midfield linchpin Nikki Stanton, Press made it clear that she had no intention of playing for the Dash. She then spent the next few months playing in Sweden, waiting until an opportunity to return to the NWSL that suited her presented itself.
Huerta was drafted by the Red Stars in 2015, posting strong enough performances to earn a nomination for Rookie Of The Year that season. She established herself as a top attacking and goalscoring threat for Chicago.
Taylor Comeau came to Chicago in 2016, initially as midfield depth before transitioning to a defensive role with more minutes. Heading into 2018 Comeau had become a reliable option as a wide defender, and her tireless work on and off the ball has been crucial for Chicago this season.
Samantha Johnson joined the Red Stars in 2014 after impressing in open tryouts. She’s been a staple of the Red Stars’ backline, and a fan favorite, ever since. Johnson will be remembered fondly by Red Stars fans for her hard work, her hustle, and her physical style of play.
Brooke Elby is the newest addition to the Red Stars’ roster. The veteran defender originally joined Utah in the dispersal draft following the dissolution of the Boston Breakers. The North Carolina alum will likely fill the same niche Comeau occupied as defensive and midfield depth.
Time will tell if Chicago has more plans or announced signings for this season. If not, they look ready and primed for next season in the event of rumored multi-team expansion for the NWSL.