Three of NWSL’s biggest stars swapped teams in a draft-day trade on Thursday. Two-time FIFA World Player of the year, Carli Lloyd, has moved from the Houston Dash to Sky Blue FC, 2017 NWSL MVP, Sam Kerr, went from Sky Blue to the Chicago Red Stars, and USWNT forward Christen Press has swapped Chicago for Houston.
Other players and picks were involved in the trade. Red Stars received the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft, used to select Megan Buckingham, plus Nikki Stanton. The Dash picked up an international roster spot and the No. 7 overall pick, used to select Haley Hanson. Sky Blue added Janine Beckie and Jen Hoy, plus the No. 6 and No. 13 overall picks, used to select Amandine Pierre-Louis and Casey Murphy.
Kerr’s contract was up with Sky Blue, and with her incredible form for club and country, she likely could have played outside of the United States for more money. Not knowing if it could re-sign her, it made sense for Sky Blue to make a trade. The New Jersey-based team will see the acquisition of hometown hero Lloyd as a huge boost to its business, while adding four other quality players could help its playoff push. However, Stanton could also be a huge loss to its midfield.
Adding Kerr meant it made sense for Chicago to explore what it could get in return for its incumbent starting forward, Press. She finished with 11 goals and four assists last season, while Kerr finished on 17 goals and four assists. Red Stars head coach Rory Dames said that he and Press mutually agreed that it would be best for them to part ways:
Rory Dames on Christen Press: "Christen and I together had run our course." Says she asked to leave and he agreed, decision was mutual.— John D. Halloran (@JohnDHalloran) January 18, 2018
While Lloyd was named the best player in the world by FIFA in 2015 and 2016 — and was a finalist again in 2017 — she rarely replicated her national team form in Houston. The Dash likely felt that Press solved more of its problems on the field than Lloyd would next season. In addition, the club now has a spare international slot to sign a player from abroad.