NWSL held its draft on Thursday, with Stanford star and U.S. women's national team midfielder Andi Sullivan going first overall to the Washington Spirit. But the big takeaway from the day was a seismic trade that sends three superstars to new locations.
Reigning league MVP Sam Kerr, two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd and U.S. national team star Christen Press are all on the move following a three-team deal involving Sky Blue FC, the Houston Dash and the Chicago Red Stars. The deal was first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The three clubs were part of draft-day trade that included multiple picks and players to be named later. As it turns out, those players–at least three of them–are franchise stars. Canadian international Janine Beckie is also involved, leaving the Dash and joining Lloyd on Sky Blue FC.
NWSL confirmed the deal on Friday along with the details:
Kerr, a 24-year-old Australian international, won the league's Golden Boot with Sky Blue FC a season ago with 17 goals, and she was joined on the league's Best XI by the 29-year-old Press, who excelled with the Red Stars during a 11-goal campaign that included five match-winning scores.
For the 35-year-old Lloyd, the move represents a homecoming. The New Jersey native and former Rutgers standout will play at her alma mater–Sky Blue FC's home games are at Rutgers–after splitting last year between Manchester City Women and the Dash.
The trade comes just days after another set of U.S. internationals were sent on the move. The North Carolina Courage acquired the rights to forward Crystal Dunn from the Spirit in exchange for Taylor Smith and Ashley Hatch on Monday. Dunn was playing most recently for Chelsea's women's team in England.