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Analyzing the 2022 FIFA Global Transfer Report – Equalizer Soccer



Photo copyright Kim Klement for USA TODAY Sports

Today FIFA released its yearly Global Transfer Report summarizing all of the transfer data they gathered in Women’s soccer throughout 2022. The biggest takeaway from the report is the continued growth and investment in women’s soccer globally as seen in the increase in total transfers, fees around the transfers, and clubs involved. 

There were a total of 1,555 transfers and 500 clubs involved throughout the world up from 1,303 and 410 in 2021. The main activity throughout the year happens from July to September, reflecting the European off-season and mid-season trade window for the North American leagues. The secondary peak occurs in the January trade window, which is mid-season for most European leagues and right at the start of North American leagues returning from the off-season.

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The Pride are back in purple, and they have another story to tell – Equalizer Soccer




Dr. Wanda Renee Mills hardly ever cries. Her mom, who she describes as tough as an ox, taught her that. Be strong, don’t cry, and know that you are blessed.

When Mills got the final cut of the video that the Orlando Pride released on Wednesday, however, she shed some tears as she watched images of her mother flash on the screen. Her mother was Mary Ann Carroll, a legendary Black artist who broke gender barriers in the 1950s when she traveled throughout Florida with a group called the Highwaymen.

“My joy is talking about my mother,” Mills told The Equalizer. “It is imperative to not let her legacy of promoting others, looking after others, reminding everyone — mostly girls, but everyone — you can be anything you want. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”

Carroll’s mantra shapes the ethos of the Pride’s new primary uniform for 2023, the Highway Woman Kit. The shirt is relatively unassuming — subtle brush strokes in a lighter shade of purple from the jersey’s base — but it is what it represents that means something to Mills, the Pride and — they hope — the wider community.

“We try to have a strong narrative and inspiration in all of our kit designs, but particularly with the Pride, we’re looking for empowering women’s stories that geographically intersect with our community and the club,” said Mark Lowyns, the club’s creative director.

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What to expect from The Equalizer in 2023 – Equalizer Soccer




That’s us speaking with NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman (Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports)

What an exciting year ahead. The new National Women’s Soccer League season is upon us. The 2023 World Cup starts in four months.

The Equalizer is the best place to keep up with all the daily news around the NWSL and the United States women’s national team. Our coverage is increasingly global and we will have loads of content around the World Cup, the fourth one that we’ll cover as a collective media outlet. We regularly produce exclusive content, from breaking news via our deep network of sources, to analysis you can’t get anywhere else. Storytelling is at our core, and I feel strongly that we do that as well as anyone in the space.

That might mean bringing you inside the mind of a player, like Bekki Morgan did recently in her interview with Racing Louisville defender Carson Pickett. Or, it could mean we dive deeper into the player-safety reforms taking place league-wide and what it means for players, as Jenna Tonelli did earlier this month. It could play out as a blend of exclusive reporting and deeper context you won’t get anywhere else, like my recent stories on the NWSL’s internal dialogue around its calendar problems. You’ll get the long version of how the Utah Royals saved the NWSL, abruptly folded, then were reborn, plus first access to insight from NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman. Blair Newman will keep providing exquisite tactical analysis on topics like OL Reign’s defensive shape, or why Naomi Girma might be the most important player for the United States at the World Cup.

If you subscribe to The Equalizer Extra, you already know this and hopefully you’ve read those stories among the many we produce regularly and exclusively for subscribers. If you don’t subscribe, we’re currently offering a first year of annual subscription at $23 — over 60% off our base price — to invite you to join. Sign up and you will get our entire season of NWSL coverage, with experts scattered throughout the U.S., plus our best-in-class U.S. women’s national team coverage. We’ll have boots on the ground at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer.

Regardless of which category you fall into, I think it’s important to be transparent about who we are and what we will do, and to get feedback from you all.

We began this journey in 2009 as a small website dedicated to women’s soccer news. For a long time, we aggregated and chased all news because literally nobody else did. The landscape has changed for the better, and basic information is easier to find. Now, we leverage our experience of cumulative decades covering the game at various outlets to bring you context and insight you can’t get elsewhere. That shift began in earnest in 2018, when we moved to a freemium subscription model. 

If you can afford to subscribe, you help us keep so much of our content free for everyone, including new fans discovering the sport (and yes, you still get the best content exclusively as a subscriber). Plenty of our base-level reporting is free. Subscriptions are the reason we exist as a site of a dozen-plus regular, paid contributors, and they allow us to go out and do the work to bring you these stories. So much of that you never see: phone calls to chase sources and get interviews, research, travel. Sometimes you will see it, like this weekend, when I’ll be in San Diego and Los Angeles on back-to-back nights for NWSL opening weekend, bringing you content from on the ground (with bigger stories to come from the trip in the coming months).

With all that said, and to be explicit, we are not strictly a “news site.” We cover news and we break a whole lot of it still, but we also aim to bring you the why and how, to answer the question: What does this mean?

So, some housekeeping notes as you follow along with us this season. We will adapt and improve as we always do, so things can certainly change, but here’s the brief version of what you can expect from us.

What’s coming each week?

In short, plenty. NWSL coverage that dives into pressing topics at a league level, teams that are struggling, players that are thriving. Real, independent coverage. Our goal is to vary that in form and make sure we have a national footprint in that coverage. Inherently, some teams will demand more of the conversation than others, but you can expect regular coverage of every team. Again, that isn’t a team ‘beat’ that updates every piece of news, but it means keeping you informed on the big picture and trends for each team, and providing you with reading material you didn’t know you needed. These will consist of multiple items daily in addition to the regular rotation below. We’re quality over quantity, but we deliver plenty of both.

What that looks like on a guaranteed basis:

·       I’ll be writing a weekly column that thinks critically about a pressing topic in the women’s game. I’ve covered this league since inception, founded this site 14 years ago, and have covered the past two World Cups on the ground from start to finish. I’ve written for ESPN, SI, NBC, Fox, and managed a newsroom at FourFourTwo (in addition to building this site). I’ll bring you real-time analysis with that experience as my foundation.

·       Every Tuesday and Friday morning, you’ll get our 4.8-star-reviewed podcast in your ears with a small rotation of our EQZ experts, including myself.

·       Blair Newman has a professional scouting background and provides some of the best, regular analysis on the women’s game out there and publishes roughly twice per week at EQZ.

·       Twice per week, we’ll email you a high-level roundup of our best stories.

Other changes

Our comments section has long been an issue with a select few people who sometimes created hostile environments. I will personally take ownership that we have not come up with a better solution than Disqus, and the automated moderation that didn’t really work. We’re still a small staff (I am our lone, full-time member) and we can’t see everything, but yes, we should have done more.

As of this week, we’ve turned off comments on future articles until we find a better solution. We have viable options, but they too require moderation levels that we are not yet positive we can commit to, and until we can, we don’t want to start something half-hearted.

Some people will not like that comments are gone. I’ve seen remarks through the years that The Equalizer’s comments section is what made the site great in the early years. That is a gross misunderstanding of the work we’ve put in above the fold to bring 14 years worth of news and analysis to this sport. Yes, we once had a day where there were 500 comments on an article. That does not mean those were better days, or better articles. Our content today remains incredibly valuable to anyone new to the space or following along closely.

Other perks

In 2019, we organized a unique trip that has not been replicated, partnering with a travel agency to give you access to us and some familiar faces around the women’s game while watching soccer and seeing a new country. We did it in France, and we’ll do it again in New Zealand and Australia this summer. Those of you who subscribe already got access to the discounts on your trips, and we’re looking forward to seeing you there. If you’re interested in going, there’s still time to get involved.

There’s much more to come. Our record of storytelling and reporting speaks for itself in terms of quality, and our mission is to continue setting that standard in the present and future. This letter is probably longer than intended already, and it only really scratches the surface.

If you’re ready to subscribe, I personally invite you to do so at our discounted, $23 annual rate (for your first year) and join us on this journey. We’ll only be offering this rate for roughly another week, to mark the start of the NWSL season.

Please contact us at info [at] equalizersoccer [dot] com if you have questions or feedback and we’ll do our best to read and answer as much as we can.

If you go to just about any NWSL stadium this season, you’ll see one of us there along the way. The header photo for this article is my colleague, Dan Lauletta, and I talking to Berman in Philadelphia in January, ahead of the 2023 draft. You’ll see us at U.S. women’s national team games, in New Zealand and Australia for the World Cup, and online.

Wherever we go, we are there because of you, our subscribers.

Thank you.

Jeff Kassouf

Founder, The Equalizer

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NJ/NY Gotham FC, North Carolina Courage, San Diego Wave — American Soccer Analysis




By J.J. Post

I started writing Gotham’s preview for ASA in 2021, so this will be my third time around manning this piece for the site. The theme of each edition has been, for better or for worse, similar: optimism. 

2021 focused on the club’s rebrand and new image on the back of a promising Challenge Cup performance during a unique COVID-affected season. 2022 discussed how Gotham could build off their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade.

2023’s preview will be optimistic because… well, things can’t really get much worse. 2022 was a nightmare season for Gotham on the pitch. 2022’s xGA overperformance crashed down to earth without all-league keeper Kailen Sheridan in net for the first time in years. Gotham conceded the most xG in the league (50.05) and conceded 52 actual goals, good for the second worst mark in the league.

The offense lagged as well, as Gotham generated the second lowest total xG and scored the fewest goals outright. The team didn’t score a single goal in the month of September (before exploding for three in the season’s final game). A misfiring forward line and struggling midfield created a less than potent attacking combination. They finished last in ASA’s total team G+ differential table. 

As you might imagine, the results were not pretty. Gotham’s final win of the 2022 campaign came on July 8th. Their record over the final 17 games of the season was 1-1-15. 

As you might also imagine, Gotham got busy over the offseason. Here’s a position by position breakdown of the roster and who the team will be expecting to step up in 2023.


A central question entering last season for Gotham was how exactly the team would replace the excellence of Kailen Sheridan. With Sheridan in San Diego, Gotham had a hole the size of 5.31 expected goals at ‘keeper. The team attempted to fill that hole with a platoon system – with two league-tested veterans Ashlyn Harris and Michelle Betos sharing minutes in net.

As you might assume from the first five grafs of this article, that plan… worked less than perfectly. Neither goalkeeper ever fully won the starting position, and neither came close to the xG defying heroics that came to define Sheridan’s tenure. Now, holding most goalkeepers to Sheridan’s standard is near impossible, especially in front of the leaky defense Harris and Betos were charged with commanding. But it’s hard to imagine Gotham wasn’t looking for better than the G-xG values of 3.17 from Betos and 4.83 from Harris.

As such, goalkeeper became the first position on the roster where Gotham made significant changes. Abby Smith, most recently a backup with the Portland Thorns, was brought in on a three year deal to give Gotham a fresh face between the sticks. Smith’s data from the previous two seasons is limited given her deputy role, but the limited data that does exist is positive – or perhaps negative? Smith posted a -1.35 G-xG in 2022, good for the 5th best mark in the league.


Veteran USWNTer Kelley O’Hara was signed to shore up a backline that lost former league defender of the year Caprice Dydasco to a late season trade. Just one returning Gotham defender recorded a positive G+ score in 2022. O’Hara fits that description. Gotham also dipped into the pool of New Jersey-raised NWSL talent and brought home Kristen Edmonds, an ex-Rutgers star who carved out key roles in Western New York, Orlando, and Kansas City over her last nine years in the league. Edmonds graded positively on ASA’s G+ tables as well, posting her best results in the all-important “interrupting” category.

Away from the stat sheet, the pairing should bring some additional experience and consistency to a unit that lost two of its most senior members in Estelle Johnson (now with the North Carolina Courage) and Gina Lewandowski (retired). 

Elsewhere in the defense, Gotham will mostly be sticking with their existing guns and hoping for a step forward and more consistency. Mandy Freeman quietly enjoyed a strong 2022, the one constant for Gotham amidst an often inconsistent backline. If Freeman can establish a strong partnership with Edmonds, there should be a major boost in the defensive numbers in Harrison. Ali Krieger offers another veteran presence in the center of the park. 

Imani Dorsey has been through everything with Gotham at left back, and should be in line for another season of heavy usage this year. Elsewhere at fullback there’s Ellie Jean, who has ample international experience but never fully found form in 2022, and Sabrina Flores, who enjoyed a breakout 2020 campaign but has struggled for minutes since. Bruninha rounds out the list, bringing some promise and potential to a largely veteran core in her first full season in the league.

Player to watch: Nealy Martin. Martin, who spent two years with Racing Louisville after a standout career at Alabama, was one of Gotham’s first acquisitions of the offseason. It remains to be seen what her role will be in new coach Juan Carlos Amorós’ system – Martin was a rotational player for Louisville who only played roughly 600 total minutes – but Gotham clearly saw something they liked and moved quickly to bring her in off waivers. One of the few young faces in a largely veteran defensive group, Martin could be in line for serious minutes if any of Gotham’s older centerbacks require rest.


Gotham also made it a point to try and strengthen their midfield over the offseason. Perhaps the biggest “addition” to the center of the park for the club is Allie Long, who should slot right into the starting XI. Long took the 2022 season off due to maternity leave, and Gotham’s midfield was noticeably shakier without her metronomic and hyper-accurate passing at the base of the operation. She should immediately add a calming presence and defensive solidity to a unit that was run ragged in many of the team’s worst results last year.

Elsewhere in the ball-winning department, locker room leader McCall Zerboni is back for another season. One of the league’s most respected culture-setters off the pitch, the three time NWSL champ’s ball-winning efforts have yet to wane with age. 

What Long and Zerboni can’t solve, however, is Gotham’s creativity problem. Last season, per FBRef, NJ/NY ranked dead last in total progressive passes. It wasn’t especially close either – Gotham was one of just two clubs to not break the 700 PrgP mark – and the other club (Orlando Pride), still easily outpaced them.

Gotham, unsurprisingly, knew they needed to get more creative. Victoria Pickett was brought in via a mid-season trade and brought with her a boost to the attacking midfield corps. General manager Yael Averbuch used her only pick in the first three rounds of the NWSL draft on Jenna Nighswonger, a national-title winning midfielder who’s at her best progressing the ball. 

Kristie Mewis will also have a major role to play in Gotham’s midfield becoming more dynamic in 2023. Mewis produced just 2 goals and 3 assists in NWSL play in 2022, and her xG and xAG (per FBref) of 2.0 and 3.7 don’t show a significant underperformance of underlying numbers either. So what changed for Mewis, who had produced at least 7 xG+xAG per season since FBref began its database? At age 30, Mewis should be entering the back end of her prime, not tailing off. Amorós’ new system, which has been hinted to place an emphasis on pressing and direct passing, could be key in bringing Mewis back to her best. 

Player to watch: Yazmeen Ryan. Ryan was the first of two major draft day acquisitions by Averbuch (more on the second later). Capable of playing either along the front line out wide or through the middle as an attacking midfielder, Ryan could fit into Amorós’ plans in a number of different ways. Ryan showed flashes of being a top tier chance creator for Portland and in her college days at TCU, but couldn’t break into the Thorns XI on a full-time basis. She’s in line to get a chance to take her game, and Gotham, to another level in 2023.


On the note of draft day additions, Gotham’s banner offseason acquisition was Lynn Williams. As far as attack-changing additions go, Williams is about as good as you can get. A USWNT staple at the peak of her powers, Williams notched 9+ goals each of her last four full NWSL campaigns. She’s got speed (and is willing to use in in a press), she’s got a final touch, and she could be the missing piece that unlocks the rest of Gotham’s attacking trio: Midge Purce and Ify Onumonu

Anyone who’s watched NWSL in the last three or so years knows the name Midge Purce. After a baffling miscasting at fullback early on in her Gotham career, Purce has spent the last several years being the main source of light on otherwise struggling front lines in Harrison. Purce led Gotham in G+ in 2022, and was in first place by light years.

Purce accounted for 2.5 goals added in 2022. The teams’ next five best players by G+ didn’t even account for half of that combined. The addition of Williams could finally be the complimentary piece that helps Purce’s obvious brilliance translate to better on pitch results.

Player to watch: Ify Onumonu. Ever under the radar, 2022 set up to be a breakout year for Onumonu. The perpetually underrated center forward had enjoyed a career year in 2021, and it stood to reason that her form would continue into 2022. But as Gotham struggled overall, so did Onumonu. She still did all the little things that make her a quality striker right – she holds up and connects play well, and wins aerial duels at an excellent rate – but the finishing touch eluded her. She found the back of the net just three times, and her xG lagged well below her 2021 numbers as well (down to 4.70 from 7.56 per ASA’s database). Gotham adding another quick forward who can run the channels could amplify the best aspects of Onumonu’s hold up game, and the new-look midfield should give her plenty of chances to find the back of the net herself.

Ultimately, Gotham is a team that needs to nail their acquisitions at every level of the field if they want to flip their fortunes from last place to playoff contention. Their success this season will come down to how well Juan Carlos Amorós can implement a new style, and how much of an impact the likes of Edmonds, O’Hara, Ryan, and Williams can make from game one onwards. 

The summer months will likely be the most vital for Gotham, as they’re slated to lose their entire front three to the Women’s World Cup. Gotham isn’t without attacking depth – Delanie Sheehan showed promise in her rookie campaign, Taylor Smith looked the part of a shrewd waiver addition last summer, and Nahomi Kawasumi has been a useful squad member for years. Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir was acquired from the Norwegian top flight as well to bring another fresh face to the existing attacking options. But no matter who it is, someone will need to step up and carry the load of losing three international caliber players over the summer months. 

By Arianna Cascone

The North Carolina Courage have never existed without Debinha. Or Abby Erceg, for that matter. Now, they’ll have to figure out how. After a dynamic offseason that saw the Courage lose several key players and return players that accounted for only 56% of their 2022 regular-season minutes, a new-look North Carolina is set to take the field in 2023. 

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