Tribal Football

The Week in Women's Football: USL Super League shenanigans; breaking down the 8 teams

The Week in Women's Football: USL Super League shenanigans; breaking down the 8 teams
The Week in Women's Football: USL Super League shenanigans; breaking down the 8 teams
The Week in Women's Football: USL Super League shenanigans; breaking down the 8 teamsTribalfootball
This week, we look at news from the second Division I league in America—the USL Super League, which starts in mid-August—including new player signings, while some clubs have built their rosters but are holding back on releasing their names for strategic purposes, which is not a helpful and media-friendly approach for new teams.

We also look at results for a couple of stories that we covered recently, namely the last three qualifiers from Africa for the 2024 U-17 Women’s World Cup later this year (and we present the first round groups after the recent draw) and the final standings and scorers for Spain’s Liga F, with Atletico Madrid pipping Levente for the third 2024-25 UEFA WCL spot. We also review the German top two tiers for 2023-24 in our continuing look at European leagues (see: The Week in Women's Football: Reviewing English, Scottish & Spanish Leagues; Barca win Quad -



USL Super League Update as the new league starts in mid-August

The eight teams for the USL Super League’s inaugural season have been signing more players of late, but the majority of teams have announced only a few signings. We expressed concerns about this in a recent column. has learned from multiple sources that at least two team’s rosters are entirely set but the teams are not yet releasing their names to the media. The reason given is that, with essentially eight expansion teams, these clubs do not want to give too much of a lead time to their opposition for scouting purposes.

It is a little KGB-ish and does that really help the league to grow? It goes counter to a league that, to date, has been very media-friendly, open and helpful. We are left waiting for more complete roster looks with the league’s opening weekend coming rapidly in mid-August.

What is becoming clear with the signings we have reviewed so far is that the Super League teams are valuing professional experience, even if it is just a year or two, with signings coming from clubs all over Europe and even the Australian A-League Women clubs (including Wellington Phoenix among others).

True rookies from colleges in the NWSL are rare and the days of a four or five year college player making a professional roster in America are becoming scarce, particularly as the NWSL has been signing younger players over the past few years, even signing high-schoolers who have performed well this year. That trend is holding up with the Super League, with professional experience valued, and the USL is also looking at an academy route to give players experience without compromising their college eligibility (see more below), as is done with the summer semiprofessional leagues (WPSL, UWS, W League).

The Super League Fall schedule (from mid-August through mid-December) will see each club play a balanced 14-match schedule—seven at home and seven away—followed by a similarly balanced 14-match schedule in the Spring. The Spring Schedule will kick off in February. In total, the inaugural USL Super League season will consist of 112 regular season matches. Four-team, single-elimination playoffs will determine the inaugural USL Super League champion late next Spring.


We look at news for each of the eight teams, including signings and other items of interest, below.


Brooklyn FC

The first signing for Brooklyn is Puerto Rican international Sydney Martinez. She was stellar as Puerto Rico upset Haiti 1-0 in the W-Gold Cup Qualifying Playoff which covered live in February, making 11 saves including a penalty kick in the second half from Haiti that would have tied the match. Puerto Rico then played well in the group stage before losing out on a knock-out match after a random draw with Costa Rica. Martinez was the USL W League Final MVP, won the league’s Golden Glove award and team captain for the inaugural W League Champions South Georgia Tormenta FC in 2022 and then played  for Norwegian club IK Grand Bodø. Martinez, who grew up in Rincon, Georgia, is a very good signing by the new club.

Current Juventus forward and USMNT international Timothy Weah (the son of former world star George Weah who played for Liberia, PSG, Olympique Marseille, Manchester City and AC Milan and now is the President of Liberia) has joined the BKFC ownership group. Timothy Weah originally broke through at Paris Saint-Germain in 2018, winning Ligue 1 twice and the Trophée des Champions once. 

He also won the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup double while on loan at Celtic in 2019. Weah added another Ligue 1 title and Trophée des Champions crown with Lille in 2021. Weah was first capped by the USMNT in March 2018. Weah was a part of the squad that won the 2021 and 2023 CONCACAF Nations League Finals and played at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Finals in Qatar. Timothy Weah grew up in Brooklyn.


Carolina Ascent

The Carolina Ascent in Charlotte has been ahead of the other new teams in making their signings known, focusing on players with international experience as well as those from North Carolina. Their new signings include:

Midfielder Taylor Porter (26) previously played with the NWSL Thorns where she won the 2022 league title, the 2021 NWSL Shield for regular season champion, and 2021 Women’s International Champions Cup. She originally started with the Thorns in 2021 as a national team replacement player and also played with the Orlando Pride, Spartak Subotica of Serbia, and Tenerife of Spain, after time at N.C. State University.

Forward Rylee Baisden (30) played with Perth Glory FC in the A-League Women in Australia in 2022-23, scoring five times in seven matches, but then missed the rest of the season due to an ACL injury. Baisden previously played with Brisbane Roar in 2019-20, tried out with the Houston Dash in the Spring of 2020 before playing with the N.C. Courage from 2020-22, scoring one goal with one assist in 18 games across all competitions.

We talked to Baisden a few years ago as she attempted to use her initial A-League Women experience to land a spot in the NWSL (see: Baisden is also an accomplished photographer and works with drones as part of that business.

Midfielder Jill Aguilera (26), another Puerto Rican international, made 36 appearances for the Chicago Red Stars during the NWSL regular season and he NWSL Challenge Cup. She played at the University of Arizona.

Defender Kelly Ann Livingstone (25), during the 2023 NWSL season, signed with the Seattle Reign after playing the 2022-23 season with Fortuna Hjørring in Denmark. A 2022 NWSL Draft selection, Livingstone joined NJ/NY Gotham FC on her first professional contract after playing at Georgetown University.

Defender Emily Moxley (23) played for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at UNC-Wilmington; she spent the first part of the 2024 season with the NWSL’s Orlando Pride. Moxley was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, but eventually moved east to play high school and club soccer in Cary, North Carolina. She competed on the NC Courage Academy club team and was ranked as a Top 100 player in her high school class by TopDrawerSoccer.

Defender Cannon Clough (28) is another North Carolina native who has signed with her hometown team and played with the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. The defender has been playing for clubs in Australia for nearly five years, notably winning the Queensland NPL Championship with Lions FC. She scored once for Canberra United last season in 19 games and previously had played a season each with the Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar in the A-League Women. 

Forward Mia Corbin (26) joined the Ascent after a tremendous 2023-24 season with Brisbane Roar in the Australian Liberty A-League Women. She recorded eight goals and four assists while starting all 22 matches and was a revelation last season for a struggling Roar team. She is a native of Washington State and played for the University of California Bears.

Coach Philip Poole explained his rational for signing Poole: “Mia is a player I watched very closely in the early stages of our recruitment. Scoring goals at the professional level is the hardest thing to do. When you find a player who has scored on three different continents and has shown improvement year on year, you can’t help but be really impressed. Once I connected with Mia and had the chance to get to know her, I was convinced that she would be a great fit here in the Carolinas.” 

Before moving to Australia, Corbin played the second half of the 2022/23 season with Parma Calcio in the Italian Serie A Femminile, scoring three goals and two assists in just 12 matches. Corbin also starred in the Costa Rican Liga de Fútbol de Primera División with Alajuelense, where she won the 2022 Golden Boot with 20 goals and captured a pair of league championships. She was also a member of the U.S. U-19 Women’s National Team player pool. This will be Corbin’s first professional stint in the States.

B Hylton (17) became the first USL Academy signing in the USL Super League’s history and will get chance for first team training and game action while retaining her NCAA college eligibility. On the men’s side, USL Academy signings have been part of the USL professional leagues for more than a decade. They were first introduced in the USL Championship in 2013, allowing clubs to add talented pre-professional players to first team rosters while allowing the player to retain their NCAA eligibility. It’s a model that, since its introduction by the USL, has been adopted by other professional leagues in the United States. 

Hylton has been one of the standouts in the Development Player League while competing for the Charlotte Development Academy. Hylton was the DPL’s first National Player of the Year, has been a two-time DPL All-Star Selection, and helped her team win the 2023 DPL U19 National Championship. At the high school level, Hylton earned NCSCA All-Region, NCISAA All-State, and NCISAA First Team All-Conference honors three times along with NCSCA All-State recognition twice. In her high school career, she had 42 goals and 23 assists through three seasons. Meanwhile, she scored 39 goals and 31 assists through three seasons at the Charlotte Development Academy.

Hylton’s signing is the first USL Academy signing ahead of the league’s inaugural season kickoff in August, but she’s unlikely to be the last. As clubs build out their rosters, you should expect to see some more USL Academy signings appear, before the season starts or after the season is underway, for players to earn opportunities to join the eight inaugural clubs. 

Goalkeeper Meagan McClelland (23) joins from Danish club Odense Boldklub Q. She recorded six clean sheets in eight appearances to close out the 2023/24 season in Northern Europe. McClelland played for three NWSL clubs and most recently won the 2023 NWSL Championship with NY/NJ Gotham FC. She also represented the US Youth National Team from the U-17 through the U-23 levels.   

North Carolina native and forward Ashlynn Serepca (24) returns to the U.S. after playing a season with Austria’s FC Pinzgau Saalfelden in their second tier, where she scored 16 goals in 12 games. Serepca played three seasons for the University of Virginia before finishing at the University of Alabama. She is sixth all-time in Alabama history with seven game winning goals in only two seasons and played in the NCAA playoffs. She was also  a U-16, U-17 and U-18 U.S. National Team Member and was named a three-time Regional Player of the Year (2015, 2016, 2017). She helped the Carolina Rapids to the 2017 USYS National Championships, the 2016 US Club Soccer National Championships and ODP (Olympic Development Program) runner-up. 


Dallas Trinity FC

Dallas Trinity is the new name of the Super League franchise that will start this fall and play in downtown Dallas’s historic Cotton Bowl, agreeing to a deal with the city for at least the first two seasons. The team’s crest and colors were also announced in May; the crest includes a stylized Pegasus at the center, long a symbol of the city of Dallas. The team’s primary colors are sunrise maroon, prairie gold, and live oak green. Other elements of the prairie gold crest include the ties to the (Trinity) river that runs through North Texas; the four forks are the legs of the Pegasus and the background color of sunrise maroon serves as a reminder that the sun rises every day and that it is time to get to work on the task at hand. 

The General Manager is Chris Petrucelli, who coached the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL in 2022, just missing the playoffs, but finished at the bottom of the table in 2023 and did not return for the 2024 season. He previously had long stints as women’s head coach at Notre Dame University, the University of Texas and Southern Methodist University, as well as the head coach of the U.S. U-21 WNT in 2003-2004.

New signings include veteran American defender Amber Brooks, who played in 195 NWSL games since 2014 and won 2 NCAA College Cups at the University of North Carolina. She earned one cap with the USWNT and played at multiple youth levels—she also played in Australia at Adelaide United for two seasons and Bayern Munich in Germany.

Hailey Davidson (23) will return to her hometown as one of Dallas Trinity’s newest signings. The defender is joining the club after spending last season with New Zealand’s Wellington Phoenix, playing in 21 matches for the third year team that was competitive most of the season and in the playoff race. She previously played with Mallbacken in Sweden.

Prior to her professional career, Davidson played two seasons at the University of Oklahoma before transferring to the University of Pittsburgh, where she played for current Nigerian WNT head coach Randy Waldrum. 

Other signings include defender Maya Gordon is a recent Louisiana State University graduate, where she played  in 86 matches. Forward Haley Berg (25), a U.S. youth international, is another Texas native coming to the club. Berg played for the University of Texas Longhorns from 2017-2021, scoring 24 goals in 73 appearances.

The midfielder has spent the last three years in Europe playing for clubs in Spain, Denmark, Iceland, and most recently in Istanbul, Turkey with Fenerbahçe S.K., scoring three goals in 16 matches. Her only professional club experience in the States was with the Houston Dash in 2022, signing in June of that season but did not play in any matches.

Forward Allie Thornton (26) is another native of Texas and played four years with SMU in Dallas. Thornton started in all but one of her 79 games as a Mustang while recording 37 goals and nine assists. She is joining the Trinity after playing in Belgium with Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht, winning two Belgium Championships (2022-23 and 2023-24) Prior to that, she played for Issy and Le Havre (HAC Feminines) in France. Goalkeeper Sam Estrada also played at Southern Methodist, concluding her SMU career sixth all-time in save percentage (.785) and seventh in goals-against average (1.17). 


Fort Lauderdale United

Fort Lauderdale United FC’s first player signing is an American-born and raised defender who plays internationally for Tonga—Laveni Vaka (22). She was raised in Sandy, Utah—where the NWSL Utah Royals and MLS Real Salt Lake are based—and played collegiately at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She was selected by Bay FC in the 2024 NWSL Draft in the fourth round (#55 overall). Internationally she first played for Tonga in 2018 in the OFC Women’s Nations Cup, which doubled as the 2019 WWC Final qualifiers.

Since 2019, Tonga has played 17 matches, with 4 wins, 2 ties and 11 losses. They defeated Tahiti 2-0 at the Women’s Pacific Games in November 2023 and Vanuatu 2-1 at the Oceania Women’s Olympic Games Qualifiers in February 2024. Tonga has been more competitive in the region over the past two years and hopefully the days of double digit losses are gone, with their biggest defeats a 3-0 loss to New Zealand at the Olympic Qualifiers this year and Samoa 4-1 last year at the Pacific Games, with their three other losses over the past two years being by one or two goals.

Another signing is midfielder Felicia Knox, who played at the University of Alabama. She was a 2022 All-American and SEC Midfielder of the Year. Additionally, Knox was selected by Angel City FC in the NWSL draft earlier this year, in the third round (#37 overall but the first draft pick for the L.A. side this season). ort Lau

Midfielder Darya Rajaee is a Florida native who played at the University of Central Florida in Orlando for five seasons. She then played in Europe with FFC Turbine Potsdam in the Frauen-Bundesliga and SF Damaiense in Portugal for Liga BPI. 

Bermuda international forward Nia Christopher is expected to lead the front-line for Ft. Lauderdale United this season. She started playing for Bermuda’s full national team while in high school and went to Towson State University in Maryland. In 2021 (in the Spring because of COVID) she had the third-highest goal-scoring season in Towson State history with 13 goals, starting in all 18 games. She finished fifth all-time in career points (61), second in goals (27) and tied for game-winning goals (10).

Defender Sheyenne Allen joins United after a season with Portugal’s Club De Albergaria, where she scored three goals in 14 games for a team that finished ninth in the 12 team league in 2023-24 with a 5-2-15 (W-T-L) record with 17 points, one ahead of Famalicao with 16 points. Famalicao did defeat Albergaira in the last match of the season 1-0 at home but still went into the relegation playoff with Vilaverdense (15 points) against second division opponents, while Ouriense (10 points) was automatically relegated after finishing at the bottom of the league.

In the playoffs at the end of May, Famalicao and Vilaverdense both stayed up, with Famalicao overwhelming Vitoria Guimaraes 8-2 on aggregate over two legs, while Vilaverdense edged Amora 2-1 on aggregate. Allen played at Brown University in Rhode Island by helping the team to its first Ivy League title and NCAA Championship appearance in over 20 years; she won three Ivy League titles in her career.

Goalkeeper Cosette Morché (27) has played in Sweden with Eskilstuna United, Valencia in Spain and Issy and Montpellier in France, where she played in six matches last season for Montpellier. She was on the NWSL’s Reign’s roster in 2021 but did not play in any games. Prior to her professional career, the goalkeeper spent two years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she tallied 189 saves and six shutouts. Morché continued her collegiate career at Texas A&M, where she recorded 20 shutouts.

Annelise (Anna) Henderson (24) spent three seasons at the University of Louisville before joining the University of Central Florida Knights. Henderson is joining Fort Lauderdale after spending the last year with Sweden side Mallbackens IF and Club Santos Laguna in Liga MX Femenil, where she had four goals in 11 games during the 2023-24 Clausura. She has Swedish heritage and could play for the U.S. or Sweden.  Henders


Lexington SC

Lexington Sporting Club has appointed Michael Dickey (60) as the team’s head coach for their first season. He coached Jordan’s WNT in 2017-18, including in the Asian Women Cup when Jordan was host in 2018, which doubled as the regional qualifiers for the 2019 WWC.

That year, the side achieved its highest ranking in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, entering the Top 50 for the first time. Dickey has also been an assistant coach for the U.S. U-17 WNT at the 2008 Women’s U-17 World Cup where the side finished second, including U.S. internationals Crystal Dunn (Gotham FC), Kristie Mewis (west Ham United in England), Sam Mewis (now retired), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit), Morgan Gautrat (Orlando Pride), Midge Purce (Gotham FC), and Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell. 

Dickey most recently resided in nearby Louisville, Ky., where he served as the Director of Coaching & Player Development at Mockingbird Valley Premier SC, where he designed and implemented development programs for coaching staff and players while ensuring adherence to strategic player development approaches during coaching sessions.

Reports are that the Lexington FC roster was all set in June for the mid-August kickoff, but they won’t release details until later, though player agents are talking about their signings. We will wait until the club officially announces them and will update readers later over the next few months.


Spokane Zephyr FC

Spokane’s first two signings were Canadian midfielder Wayna Balata (22) and Washington State native and defender Makena Carr (23). Balata, played five seasons at  Southern Methodist University, scoring 16 goals with five assists across 56 matches.

She is a Canadian youth international; and the native of Montreal played at the 2018 U-17 World Cup in Uruguay, where Canada finished fourth after losing to ultimately second place side Mexico 1-0 in the semifinals and 2-1 to New Zealand in the third place match. 

She also represented Canada at the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic. Carr, who was drafted 43rd overall by Seattle Reign FC in the 2024 NWSL Draft, spent three years at the University of Washington before finishing at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California. She grew up in Newcastle, Washington, east of Seattle.

Midfielder Taylor Aylmer, who won a NWSL Championship with the Washington Spirit in 2021, is heading west to join Spokane Zephyr FC for its inaugural season. Aylmer grew up in New York State and played soccer at Rutgers University in New Jersey, appearing in 85 matches. Aylmer started the 2021 season with NJ/NY Gotham FC before signing with the Washington Spirit, where she appeared in 32 matches across two seasons. In 2023, she joined Åland United in Finland’s Kansallinen Liga. Aylmer appeared in 12 matches in Finland, scoring one goal and one assist, before returning to the U.S. and signing with NWSL club Racing Louisville FC.

Another Canadian coming to Spokane is defender Julianne Vallerand (22), who played five seasons at the University of West Virginia and scored 16 goals with six assists in 80 matches. She is from Terrebonne, Quebec and played for the U-15, U-17, and U-20 Canadian Youth National teams, winning two CONCACAF medals (a silver in 2016 with the U-15’s and a bronze in 2018 with the U-17’s). Vallerand competed with fellow Zephyr teammate Wayny Balata, who grew up an hour away in Montreal. Vallerand was also on the squad for the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay in 2018. 

The Zephyr signed center midfielder Emma Jaskaniec (23), who was drafted 26th overall by the Utah Royals in the 2024 NWSL draft, after spending five seasons at the University of Wisconsin. In 91 matches for the Badgers, she accumulated 37 goals and 15 assists.  

Defender Jodi Ülkekul (26) is returning to Spokane to join Zephyr FC after playing for the Gonzaga University women’s soccer team from 2015 to 2018, where she first joined the team as a walk-on (a non-scholarship player). Ülkekul led Gonzaga’s backline, starting in 69 of her 74 matches, and recording seven goals and eight assists. Ülkekul played overseas with CD Castellón in Spain and AS Roma in Italy prior to her stint with the NWSL’s Seattle Reign FC where she was a national team replacement player and was with the club this pre-season.

Alyssa Bourgeois (22) was selected by the Houston Dash earlier this year with the 47th overall pick in the NWSL draft; she played collegiately for Santa Clara University. 

Midfielder Jennifer Vetter (24) comes to Spokane after a stint with Portugal’s Racing Power FC in Seixal, who finished third in Liga BPI in 2023-24 with 43 points from a 13-4-5 (W-D-L) record, behind champions Benfica (56 points) and Sporting Lisbon (54 points), where she played 29 matches and scored 14 goals. Vetter’s collegiate career was spent with Minnesota State University, where she led her team in goals in her final two seasons, accumulating 31 goals in those years. Overall, she ranks third all-time at MSU with 57 goals and 132 points, including 24 game winning goals.

Midfielder Mollie Rouse (25) joins Spokane after a season with English club Sunderland AFC Women, playing 13 games last season for her club that finished third in the Championship (Division 2) with 41 points, behind champions Crystal Palace with 46 points and Charlton on 45 points. Prior to her stint with Sunderland, she played a season for Turbine Potsdam in Germany and other English Championship sides. She had 24 caps with England’s youth national teams across multiple age groups. Rouse is returning to the U.S. since finishing her collegiate career at the University of Central Florida in 2019.  

Spokane also signed two goalkeepers in Hailey Coll and Izzy Nino. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Coll was previously part of Seattle Reign FC and played at Oregon State University. Nino joins Zephyr FC after a stint with Australia’s Newcastle Jets FC, where she collected three clean sheets and a 78.8 save percentage through 22 matches to help the Jets make the playoffs for only the third time in 16 seasons. She played collegiately  at the University of Michigan.

Oddly, Spokane plays their seven home matches within their first eight games (finishing with a match at home on October 27 against Tampa) with their final six matches of the Fall season all on the road. I think this was done because the winters can be quite cold in Eastern Washington (below zero Fahrenheit at times) with lots of snow (this writer grew up in the city). In the original NASL, cities like Minneapolis/St. Paul and some of the five Canadian markets had their home schedules back-loaded to later in the spring and summer, so teams would start the season on the road.

It’s interesting that Northern-based clubs Brooklyn (though they had four home games in a row from mid-October to mid-November) or D.C. did not have the same thing done to their schedule. I will talk to Zephyr officials but if the weather gets really bad in November/December, I imagine the team could stay on the road in the South and base practices at a warm location, with their last five games in Carolina, Lexington, Dallas, and the two Florida cities. Spokane will need to start strong with their home matches or the road matches could be brutal on their point total, but then all the teams are new and tough to predict at this point.


Tampa Bay Sun

Tampa has signed Natasha Flint (27) of Liverpool, who played with Celtic of Scotland on loan for parts of the last two seasons and has played for England at youth national team levels: (see more at: The Week in Women's Football: Reviewing English, Scottish & Spanish Leagues; Barca win Quad - She won a league title with the Glasgow side this season and is an experienced striker and a very smart signing by the Sun.

American Hannah Keane (31) is another experienced forward who scored 29 goals during her time at San Diego State University, the fifth-most in program history. Keane most recently played for Australian club Western United, where she won the A-League Golden Boot Award with 14 goals in 2022-23 and added 10 goals in 2023-24. Prior to Western United, Keane played in Spain with Sporting de Huelva, in Portugal at Braga and in Germany with FF USV Jena.

Striker Ashley Clark (30) is another offensive addition to the Suns for the 2024-25 season. Clark played four seasons at Campbell University, where she started 76 of 79 matches and scored 46 goals. Clark will be returning to the U.S. after captaining Olympique de Marseille in France in the second tier, which just missed promotion to the top league this season, finishing in a tie for second with Nantes on 44 points from 22 games; Nantes were promoted with champions Strasbourg (51 points).

Midfielder Carlee Giammona (23) played at Alabama and Pepperdine collegiately, starting 44 games with 16 goals and 11 assists for the latter. She played with Liga MX Feminil club CF Monterrey (scoring 9 goals in 34 matches in Liga MX Femenil for the club during the 2022-23 Clausura and 2023-24 Apertura regular season and playoffs) before joining Glasgow City of the Scottish Women’s Premier League, where she played with Flint and won a title in 2023-24, scoring eight goals in 11 matches.

Midfielder Wasila Diwura Soale (27) is a recent graduate of Louisiana State University and started with Ghana Women’s Premier League club Sekondi Hasaacas Ladies. She played for Wake FC in Holly, North Carolina of the USL W League in its inaugural season. She has played for Ghana at the youth and senior level.

Defender Amanda Kowalski (26) was the Chicago Red Stars top rookie in 2022 when she scored three goals in 17 regular season matches. Through five seasons at Butler University, the defender made 91 appearances and recorded 16 assists along with six goals. Joining her on the backline is Brooke Denesik (27) who recently played in Denmark for Aalborg BK. Previously, she appeared for Frauen-Bundesliga side MSV  for three seasons and for BIIK Kazygurt of Kazakhstan, where she recorded 12 appearances in the UEFA Women’s Champions League and won three league titles. She played in college at Texas Tech University.

Goalkeeper Ashley Orkus (25) joined from Fjardabyggd/Hottur/Leiknir in Iceland’s second tie (1 Deild Women). Orkus started her collegiate soccer career for the University of Tennessee, before transferring to Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) where she was named SEC Goalkeeper of the Year three straight seasons from 2020-2022. 


Washington D.C. Power

The Washington D.C. Super League franchise will be known as the Washington Power. Team president Jordan Stuart said in a press release: “Power FC’s identity is deeply rooted in the dynamic spirit and resilience of its hometown, Washington, DC. As our nation’s center of power, Washington, D.C. bears a unique responsibility. The responsibility to lead. To effect change. To inspire. This energy drives Power Football Club.”

The club also announced the hiring of former D.C. United player Frederic Brillant as their first head coach. Brilliant (38), a native of France, played professionally for 16 years as a defender, including four seasons for D.C. United and two with New York City F.C in MLS after many years in Belgium. After retiring he became a Loudoun United (USL Championship) and D.C. United (MLS) assistant coach. He was most recently an assistant coach with the expansion Utah Royals club in the NWSL.

The Power may play at least some of their matches at D.C. United’s Audi Field home, which is also where the NWSL’s Washington Spirit plays. Originally, the thought was that the Power would be in suburban Viginia (Leesburg) where Loudon United of the USL Championship plays (also owned by D.C. United) and the base of United’s training complex. The Loudon United operating group didn’t want to operate another club however. After averaging 10,886 fans last year, the NWSL Spirit is drawing 11,639 this season. 

The Spirit, which is owned by Y. Michele Kang, has a lease at Audi Field through at least 2026. The D.C. United owners are investors in the Power and just a landlord to the NWSL’s Spirit, but we saw this same situation in the first year of the NWSL when the Seattle Reign was playing Downtown but the suburban W-League team in Tukwilla was averaging over 1,000 fans a game and had had players in the past such as Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, plus the branding of one of North America’s iconic soccer teams, which is celebrating 50 years since its founding in 1994, when this reporter was living in the State.

Many fans in those first few seasons were not sure whether the Sounders Women or the Reign was the top tier team for women’s football. That shouldn’t be as much of an issue with the Spirit, who have been playing at Audi Field for a few seasons and are more established, but the Power—now by playing at least some games at Audi Field—will be a direct competitor to the Spirit for fans, media attention and sponsorship dollars.


U-17 African Qualifiers

Zambia is becoming Morocco’s bogey team, knocking them out of the Olympics this summer in the last round and also doing the same thing in the U-17 WWC Qualifications last month. On June 8, Morocco lost the first leg at home (3-1) in Lusaka. In the return match in Berkane on June 15, Morocco and Zambia played out a scoreless tie, so Zambia won on aggregate 3-1 to advance to the U-17 FIFA WWC Finals later this year.

The next day, on June 9, Kenya U-17’s defeated Burundi away 3-0 in Addis Ababa and Nigeria defeated Liberia 4-1 away in Monrovia. In the returns on June 16, Kenya defeated Burundi 2-0 in Nairobi to win the tie on aggregate 5-0. Also on June 16, Nigeria defeated Liberia for a second time in a week by a 2-0 score to take the tie 6-1 on aggregate and qualify for their seventh U-17 finals (out of eight held), finishing an all-time best third in the last tournament in 2022 in India.

The draw for the tournament was held on June 22 in Santo Domingo, D.R. The eighth edition of the tournament will comprise 32 matches from October 16 through November 3 in Santo Domingo and Santiago de los Caballeros. The groups were set as follows:

Group A: Dominican Republic, Ecuador, New Zealand, Nigeria

Group B: Spain (reigning champions), USA, Korea Republic, Colombia

Group C: Korea DPR, Mexico, Kenya, England

Group D: Japan, Poland, Brazil, Zambia


Spain’s Liga F ends with Atletico Madrid clinching the third 2024-25 WCL spot

A few weeks ago, we discussed Spain’s Liga F with just a few games remaining in the campaign, with Barca clinching the title with weeks to spare, and a close race for the third and the last European spot and the final scorer’s table (see:  The Week in Women's Football: Reviewing English, Scottish & Spanish Leagues; Barca win Quad -

Barcelona finished with an undefeated record of (29-1-0) record for 88 points and scored 137 goals versus 10 allowed for a goal differential of +127. The two Madrid rivals Real and Atletico—in second and third on 73 points and 61 points respectively—also qualified for the 2024-25 UEFA Women’s Champions League. Atletico finished fourth last season to Levante and missed out on Europe’s premier club event but this season they narrowly edged out Levante (60 points), along with Athletic Club of Bilbao (53 points) and Madrid CFF (50 points) in the race for that last WCL spot.

Atletico Madrid defeated Villareal 1-0 on July 15 with a 75th minute goal by Nigerian international Rasheedat Ajibade (24)—who scored her tenth goal in thirty matches in her fourth season with the club following two seasons in Norway with Alvadsnes—while Levante defeated Madrid CFF 3-0 in the final round matches for the season.

The top scorers in the Liga F were Norwegian international Caroline Graham-Hansen (29) with 21 goals, just edging her club teammate and 2023 WWC Winner Salma Paralluelo (20), who had 20 goals. In third was Cristina Martin-Prieto (31) of Seville and Spain with 17 goals; she completed her second season in Seville after five seasons with Tenerife. In fourth with 16 goals was 2023 WWC Winner for Spain Alba Redondo (27) of Levante.

In fifth with 14 goals was Norwegian international forward Synne Jensen (28) of Real Sociedad, who completed her third season in Basque Country after moving from Norway, where she had played her entire career except for one season with Wolfsburg in Germany in 2015-16 and spent time on their Frauen-Bundesliga side as well as their second team in the 2 Frauen-Bundesliga.

Tied for sixth were a trio of players on 13 goals: Spain’s Shelia Guijarro (27) of Atletico Madrid—who was in her first season in the capital city after leaving Villarreal, where she played since 2018—Barcelona’s Claudia Pina (22) with 12 goals (who won a FIFA U-17 WWC in 2018 in Uruguay but was one of the protesting players after the last Women’s EURO in England and was not called into the national side for the 2023 WWC Finals; she has also won two UEFA Champions League titles at Barca) and Danish international Signe Brunn (26) of Real Madrid (in her first season after playing the last two seasons with Olympique Lyonnais of France and a few games on loan with Manchester United).

Three players finished the top ten scorers list tied with 11 goals: Anita Marcos (23) of Valencia—who won two European titles with Spain’s U-19 national team in 2017 in Northern Ireland and 2018 in Switzerland and is in her second season at the club—Kayla McKenna (27) of Jamaica and Villarreal (who was born in the U.S., played at Duke University and for the Houston Dash in the NWSL before playing the last two seasons for Rangers in Scotland before her move to Villarreal ahead of the 2023-24 season) and Gabi Lunes of Levante and Brazil, who was in her first season with the club after two with Madrid CFF and six seasons at home with Corinthians of Sao Paulo.



Bayern Munich won the Frauen-Bundesliga title this season with an undefeated season from a 18-3-0 record for 57 points, with Wolfsburg second on 50 points, followed by Eintracht Frankfurt in third on 41 points—the same order as last year and again the three teams advance to the UEFA WCL in the Fall. SGS Essen (35 points) and Hoffenheim (34 points) and Bayer Leverkusen (31 points) still have a little ground to make up next season to achieve a WCL spot.

Nuremberg (12 points) and MSV Duisburg (4 points) were both relegated, to be replaced by two sides from the eastern portion of the country: Turbine Potsdam (49 points) and Carl Zeiss Jena (48); Meppen (47 points), Andernach (46 points) and Hamburg (44) were all in the hunt late in the season. 

Polish international Ewa Pajor—who just recently joined Barcelona of Spain for the 2024-25 season for a reported $500,000 fee—won the Frauen Bundesliga Golden Boot with 18 goals, followed by German international Etonam Anyomi (24) of Eintracht Frankfurt—who has over 20 senior caps for her nation and could have played with Togo and Ghana through parentage—and Bayern’s German international Lea Schuller, who both had 11 goals. Schuller has eclipsed 55 caps and won three Frauen-Bundesliga titles in Bavaria. Tied for fourth on ten goals were German youth international Vanessa Fudalla (22) of Leipzig and Pajor’s fellow Polish international Nikola Karczewska (24) of Bayer Leverkusen.

Hamburg had the second division’s leading goal scorer in German U-19 international forward Larissa Muhlhaus (21) with 20 goals, while club teammate Dana Marquardt (26) of Germany was tied for fourth on 11 goals with German youth international Leonie Stohr (21) of Andernach. In second with 13 goals was German forward Luca Birkholz (20), who finished her fourth season with Carl Zeiss Jena. In third was Polish international Julia Matuschewski (27) of Sand with 12 goals. Tied for sixth was Carolin Schraa (32) of Andernach and Lisa Wich (33) of Weinberg on 10 goals each 

At Hamburg the side also had two interesting young imports in 17-year-old forwards Almudena Sierra of Peru (who played in 13 matches) and Arjela Lako of Albania (who was born in Germany and has been with the club’s youth teams since the 2021-22 season).

The German Cup winner in 2023-24 was Wolfsburg over Bayern Munich (2-0), with first half goals by Germany’s international Julie Brand (21) and Dutch defender Dominique Janssen (29).



- Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football.  His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women’s football.  Get your copy today. Follow Tim on X: @TimGrainey