The Chicago Red Stars made a trade for Savannah McCaskill on Wednesday. The Chicago Red Stars acquired McCaskill from Sky Blue FC in exchange for the club’s highest first-round pick and the club’s second-round natural pick from Utah Royals FC in the 2020 NWSL College Draft.
In a press release from the club, head coach Rory Dames said of McCaskill:
“We were looking for another player with different attacking qualities than what we currently have to continue to improve our attacking options, we believe Savannah checked the boxes we were looking for to improve both our team on the field and our locker room.”
McCaskill is the most recent of players to leave Sky Blue FC. Since December 2017, a total of 19 players have been traded, waived, signed elsewhere, or retired.
Sky Blue FC announced a coaching change before the 2018 season as they brought on Denise Reddy. Since her time with the club, Sky Blue FC has played 32 games, and won only once. The club made headlines for reports of low standard club conditions, lack of proper facilities, and sub-standard housing. Shortly before the 2019 season it was announced that then GM Tony Novo was no longer with the club.
For as much as Sky Blue FC has been trying to work through their club issues, the Red Stars have become a bit a sanctuary for former Sky Blue FC players. A multi team trade on draft day 2018 brought Sam Kerr and Nikki Stanton. The week leading up to draft day 2019, the Red Stars announced a trade for Katie Johnson. Now, they welcome McCaskill to the roster.
“It was an exciting feeling,” said McCaskill of the initial trade.
“Definitely an exciting moment, but also at the same time, I had to say goodbye to some of my closest friends back in New Jersey and that was very bittersweet, but one that had to happen. Overall it was a positive, positive, move.”
While change is never easy, it’s sometimes necessary in an effort to reach one’s goals. McCaskill is no different in viewing the recent trade as an opportunity, for pursuing goals on a club level, and on a personal level.
“I’ve obviously been wanting a change, so that wasn’t a secret. But just to be able to come into a new environment and kind of get a fresh start was something that I was really, really, looking forward to.”
“To grow my career and kind of try and get back in with the National Team. That’s kind of my over all goal.”
McCaskill is ready to make an impact while being able to continue her development at a club level, and finally believes she is in the right place professionally to do that. In just a few days with the club, she can notice differences with being in a new environment.
“I do. I really do. And I think Rory is a great coach for that [development]. He shoots you straight, as far as I can tell in the two days that I’ve been here. And I think that’s going to help anyone build their game and go into the next level.”
It’s not just the difference in coaching, or training, or routine, but over all club transition that McCaskill complimented and expressed gratitude for. As she explains the chaos of getting news of the trade, but being able to focus on herself while her new club worked on getting her to her new city.
“I mean I have to commend everyone at Chicago Red Stars,” said McCaskill.
“Because I found out at 10am, on Wednesday that I was going to be traded and within an hour, hour and a half I had already had a flight, my car was getting shipped, I had a place to stay. Everything was taken care of on a professional level.”
“It’s just been a very smooth transition, emphasized McCaskill. “And that’s something that should be the standard for all clubs. I can’t say that it is, but it definitely was nice for them to take care of me, and all the details, and I just kind of had to focus on packing my stuff and getting on a plane.”
Chicago Red Stars have actually had McCaskill on their roster radar dating back to the 2018 draft. Rumors resurfaced again last season when Chicago was making a midseason trade that ultimately involved Utah and Houston as the other teams that moved Christen Press, Brooke Elby, Sofia Huerta, Sam Johnson, Taylor Comeau, and various draft picks.
The Red Stars have been notorious in regard to their club culture, often making sure that along with good talent and good skill sets, that they draft and trade for “good people” said Dames in post training comments.
McCaskill could be available for selection this weekend and make her Red Stars debut come Sunday against Reign FC.
“We will know more after today and tomorrow,” said Dames.
For McCaskill, she will be ready to play for Chicago in whatever capacity they wish to use her this weekend. Saying only “Absolutely” when asked about whether or not she could be ready to start on Sunday.
“She will give us more options, different options, out there on the pitch. She’s already looking good for us in training,” said Dames. Who believes McCaskill can help provide different offensive looks for the Red Stars in the final third.
“I definitely think that I can help create chances and help score goals,” said McCaskill. “I think that’s kind of my strong suit. I like to create. I like to get into the final third. Test backlines, slip people in. I think those are the biggest things that I bring to the table.”
“Hopefully that’ll help this team score more goals, and start winning games again,” said McCaskill. “I think this weekend is going to be a huge, huge, test for that.”
Despite coming in midseason, McCaskill has the benefit of familiar faces on the Red Stars squad. Having already played against them during last season, she has actually played with several players outside of Chicago.
A whole NWSL season in Sky Blue FC with Katie Johnson, U.S. National Team camps with Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, Morgan Brian, and Tierna Davidson - with whom she shares a USWNT first cap. McCaskill has also played with, and won a championship with Danielle Colaprico, as they lead Sydney FC to a Grand Final victory during offseason in Australia’s W-League. All the familiarity has brought a level of comfortability in a short time.
“Just kind of being around all the familiar faces, and having friends on the field and off the field, helps. But also, I know how hard they work and how much this team wants to win games. So, just kind of having that familiarity on and off the field definitely makes the transition a lot smoother.”
While representing the National Team is a dream for every professional soccer player, McCaskill is focused on being in Chicago, and has big aspirations for being a Red Star. She might get the chance to show her efforts this weekend. If she plays, she’ll be donning an “Elevated Kit” with McCaskill #9.
“I just want to try and help this team win the championship. Win the regular season. Win the final. Whatever I can do to help this team get there, and win, is my goal.”