The Chicago Red Stars made some roster announcements over the weekend, with a batch of “official” signings, new contracts, and a few departures.
The flood of announcements started on Friday with the “official” signing of Katie Johnson, who they traded for in January in the run-up to the NWSL College Draft.
The Mexican international will provide another attacking option for a club that will be coping with key absences during a World Cup year.
Soon after, the Red Stars announced that New Zealand international Rosie White would not be returning to the club, saying that she would be focusing on training for the World Cup. White joined the Red Stars last year via the Dispersal Draft after the Boston Breakers folded. She made 12 appearances for the club in 2018, scoring one goal.
In a release from the club, White expressed her gratitude to the club while emphasizing her need to focus on her international career. “It’s time for me to open a new chapter in my career and redirect my focus for the World Cup and Olympics in what will be an exciting time for Team New Zealand. I am sad to say I won’t be returning to the Red Stars, as my main focus will be for my country. I wish my teammates all the best of luck.”
Both the club and White will re-evaluate the possibility of a return to the team after the World Cup.
Following the news of White’s departure, the club announced that they had re-signed Yuki Nagasato, Danielle Colaprico, and Arin Wright (née Gilliland).
Colaprico and Wright are entering their fifth seasons with the club, having been selected in the 2015 Draft. Colaprico earned Rookie Of The Year honors that season.
A staple in Chicago’s midfield, Colaprico made 25 appearances (with 22 starts) in 2018 and earned a place on the league’s Second XI. During the NWSL off-season, Colaprico was part of the Sydney FC squad that won the W-League Championship for their 2018/19 season.
Wright made 25 appearances (24 starts) for Chicago in 2018 in a season that saw her played in non-defensive roles. She tallied four assists on the year and played with W-League outfit Newcastle Jets during the NWSL offseason.
This will mark the third season for Nagasato, who joined the club back in 2017. Injury kept the Japanese international out for the first half of her inaugural season as a Red Star, but still recorded two assists and a goal in her 7 game appearances.
Nagasato was instrumental to Chicago’s offense last season. During her 23 appearances, she recorded four goals and seven assists. Her chemistry with star striker (and newly-appointed Australia captain) Sam Kerr helped propel the Red Stars to their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. The combined for ten goals last season.
My 3rd season for CRS here we go! https://t.co/ytokyLAqS8— Yuki Nagasato (@Yuki_Ogimi) March 3, 2019
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, an announcement from both club and player made official what many fans had been dreading since last year— Stephanie McCaffrey was retiring from professional soccer.
McCaffrey missed almost the entirety of the 2018 season after being diagnosed with a neurological disorder. Following months of consultation with doctors and her family, she made the difficult decision to put her health first.
McCaffrey was drafted by the Red Stars in 2015 but was soon traded to Boston. She returned to Chicago in a midseason trade in 2016 shortly before the Summer Olympics. She marked her “return” by scoring two goals in back-to-back games, including the gamewinner against FC Kansas City in her first game with Chicago.
During her time as a Red Star, McCaffrey established herself as an upstanding teammate and an irreplaceable presence in the locker room. She also worked to make an impact on the wider community through her nonprofit organization Hidden Gems Soccer. She plans to attend business school and expand her organization.
The Red Stars kick off their preseason on March 9th in a closed-door friendly against the University of Missouri. They’ll then head to the West Coast for the third annual Portland Thorns Spring Invitational, where they’ll face the aforementioned hosts, Reign FC, and the USWNT U23s. Chicago’s games will take place on March 24th, 27th, and 30th. The regular season begins on April 13th when the Red Stars travel to take on the North Carolina Courage.