The 2023 NWSL Season is upon us! Games officially get underway on March 25 at 2pm ET! Every team will be in action and if you’re new to the league or haven’t settled on a team to root for, reader, do I have exceptional news for you.
Your good friends here have put together a handy little guide to sum up every team in the league so you can find the one that speaks to you and your heart. It’s matchmaking time you lovebirds:
Best players: Christen Press, Sydney Leroux, Jun Endo
Record last year: 8W 5D 9L
Team goal: Avoid the injury demon and make the playoffs, like they intended last year
Team colors: Sol Rosa and Black
Biggest rival: San Diego Wave — both California clubs were introduced to NWSL in 2021
My pitch: Do you want to have something in common with Natalie Portman and Jennifer Garner? If not, I understand, but also remember Portman also played Thor, so be careful. Anyway, on the pitch you have straight up icons, past, present and future. Christen Press and Sydney Leroux are already legends, Jun Endo is in the early stages of building her resume, and Alyssa Thompson is the future.
Best players: Mallory Swanson, Tierna Davidson
Record last year: 9W 6D 7L; Playoffs (1st round)
Team goal: Unleash God Mode Mallory Swanson and tell everyone to hang on
Team colors: Light Blue and Red
Biggest rival: Arnim Whisler, Owner
My pitch: First of all, Mallory Swanson. Aside from that, Chicago rarely lets their supporters down when it comes to new shirts. Even if it’s a down year across the league, Chicago brings heat. Also they did this and we’re still thinking about it.
Best players: María Sánchez, Ebony Salmon, Diana Ordóñez, Nichelle Prince (injured)
Record last year: 10W 6D 6L; Playoffs (1st round)
Team goal: They have a new coach so we won’t know for sure until they start playing, but it should be high energy and extremely fun
Team colors: Orange and Black
Biggest rival: Orlando Pride (#SPACERACE); NASA loves beginning missions to outer space by blasting out of both states, and since both clubs have adopted ‘space’ as a loose inspiration for shirt designs, we have ourselves an NWSL Star War.
My pitch: Do you like fun? If you answered yes then María Sánchez is a player you’ll want to watch as often as you can. Her dribbling and creativity is some of the best in the league, and Houston has added another prominent goalscorer in Diana Ordóñez to go along with Ebony Salmon. It’s an impressive attacking puzzle to piece together, but if they get it right there won’t be too many defenses capable of keeping up.
Big fan of women's college basketball? This guide to picking an NWSL team may help.
Best players: Debinha, Morgan Gautrat, Vanessa DiBernado, Lo’eau LaBonta, Hanna Glas
Record last year: 10W 6D 6L; Playoffs (Championship runners up)
Team goal: Leave no trophy unlifted
Team colors: Red and Teal
Biggest rival: The salary cap
My pitch: Kansas City is setting a new standard for NWSL clubs. They opened a club-specific training facility last year and next year will open an NWSL-specific stadium, a league first. They’ve also hoarded the talent required to give anyone within the area no excuses for not filling that stadium every time they play. Ambition is hot.
Best players: Midge Purce, Lynn Williams, Ifeoma Onumonu
Record last year: 4W 1D 17L
Team goal: Do the Men In Black memory thing to erase 2022 from everyone’s mind
Team colors: Black and Seafoam Blue
Biggest rival: Washington Spirit
My pitch: Gotham consistently crush it on social media, in their videos, and with their pregame fit walks. Now, they have the talent to be able to do all of that, play slick soccer and win. Purce, Williams and Onumonu are among the strongest front threes in the league.
Best players: Emily Fox, Denise O’Sullivan, Brianna Pinto
Record last year: 9W 5D 8L
Team goal: Replace the goals lost from Debinha and Diana Ordonez leaving for other clubs in the offseason
Team colors: Red, Blue and Gold
My pitch: Wanna be happy every time Kerolin does something amazing?
Best players: Rose Lavelle, Jess Fishlock, Sofia Huerta, Alana Cook, Jordyn Huitema
Record last year: 11W 7D 4L; Playoffs (Semifinal)
Team goal: Win the shield and league, finally
Team colors: Blue, Red and White
Biggest rival: Portland Thorns
My pitch: Reign are one of the two pillar clubs in the NWSL, and they’ve had a lot of success over the years – just not a championship. Yet. It’s not often you can hop on the bandwagon of a juggernaut and be there for their first championship.
Best players: Marta, Adriana, Ally Watt
Record last year: 5W 7D 10L
Team goal: Lay the final foundations of a needed rebuild
Team colors: Purple and Black
Biggest rival: Houston Dash (#SPACERACE); NASA loves beginning missions to outer space by blasting out of both states — and the teams have run with the rivalry.
My pitch: Orlando got a lot right in the offseason and therefore isn’t the club they were just six months ago. Therefore, I can personally recommend that it is safe and probably a good decision to make this your team.
Best players: Sophia Smith, Christine Sinclair, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn, Sam Coffey
Record last year: 10W 9D 3L; Playoffs (Champions)
Team goal: Win everything; they were one goal away on the final day of the 2022 season from winning the shield to go along with their championship
Team colors: Red
Biggest rival: OL Reign
My pitch: Do you like winning? A lot? How about Ed Hardy-inspired apparel?
Best players: Jessica McDonald, Wang Shuang, Jaelin Howell
Record last year: 5W 8D 9L
Team goal: Live up to the talent on their roster and make the playoffs for the first time
Team colors: Lavender
Biggest rival: Their organization
My pitch: Louisville are still in the uncertain phase, but they’ve done the hard bit in recruiting the talent. They could either waste it or flourish with it, so if you love those weird rides that lift you in the air only to drop you intermittently and without warning before climbing again do I have the club for you!
Best players: Alex Morgan, Taylor Kornieck, Danielle Colaprico
Record last year: 10W 6D 6L; Playoffs (Semifinal)
Team goal: Show that last season’s top-3 finish and semifinal appearance was a foundation, not a fluke
Team colors: Blue and Pink
Biggest rival: Angel City FC — both California clubs were introduced to NWSL in 2021
My pitch: Casey Stoney is an incredible coach who also has the vibe of an assassin in an action movie. The Wave betray their colorful crest with some front office dullness that has yet to fully embrace the vibe. So if you prefer your vibes in a diet variety, this is your club.
Best players: Trinity Rodman, Andi Sullivan, Ashley Sanchez, Ashley Hatch
Record last year: 3W 10D 9L
Team goal: Start building something special
Team colors: Black and White, for now
Biggest rival: Gotham FC
My pitch: New owner Y. Michele Kang has promised to transform the club and has so far made decisions in line with building for long-term, sustainable success. They’re not there yet, but some of the pieces that have already come together are exciting. Also, Trinity Rodman is absurd and a joy to watch.