It’s been a busy week for the Chicago Red Stars, but there are still some big questions waiting to be answered going into the beginning of preseason.
Yuki is Back
The Red Stars made their first acquisition of 2022 on Tuesday, bringing Yuki Nagasato back from Racing Louisville after one season. The Red Stars parted ways with a third round draft pick in 2023, as well as an international slot.
Though now 34, Nagasato has still shown she has plenty left in the tank, starting 18 games for Louisville this past season. In her last full season in Chicago, 2019, she racked up 8 goals and 8 assists playing in behind Sam Kerr and helping the Red Stars reach their first championship game.
If Nagasato can rediscover her form from two years ago in her second stint in Chicago, the Red Stars will have one of the most dangerous attacking players in the league at their disposal.
As the USWNT turns it’s focus towards World Cup Qualifying in the summer, head coach Vlatko Andonovski called 4 Red Stars into the team’s annual January camp.
Tierna Davidson has become a regular for the National Team since the last World Cup, and was included in this team. Mallory Pugh also returns to the team following a resurgent 2021 season; though she missed out on the November camp in Australia due to vaccination policy, Pugh is still at the front of Andonovski’s plans as she featured throughout the fall.
Alyssa Naeher missed the entire second half of 2021 following an injury in the Olympic Semifinal against Canada, but she returns to the gold and will likely continue to be the team’s number one when she returns to full fitness. However, she will have to contend with Casey Murphy, who had a breakout November camp.
Morgan Gautrat is back with the USWNT for the first time since the post-World Cup victory tour. Like Pugh, she had a resurgent 2021, which deservedly put her back into the national team picture.
Though there will be no matches attached to this camp, the USWNT will play in the SheBelieves Cup next month with matches against Czechia, New Zealand, and Iceland.
Coaching Search + Acting Head Coach
The Red Stars announced last month that goalkeeping coach Rade Tanasković will serve as acting head coach while the coaching search is conducted. Julianne Sitch was named acting assisting coach.
The coaching search has been going on for around two months, but with training camp just 18 days away, the head coaching position is still vacant, and waiting for a permanent occupant. With that being said, the Red Stars expect to announce a head coach before the end of the month.
In order to ensure that the club makes the right hire for reasons both on and off the field, players, coaches, and stakeholders have all been consulted throughout the search process. With a few additions, the will Red Stars have a roster more than capable of competing for the championship once again.