The 2023 NWSL Season begins this month, March 25! This year promises to be one of the most competitive among a league that is well-known as the most competitive domestic women’s league in the world. Beyond rosters jam-packed with incredible talent that is even more impressive to see live, the culture and environment supporters create in the stadiums is incredible – and growing.
So if you live within range of an NWSL team, here’s a reason to go to games as often as you possibly can:
Angel City FC: The L.A. club had their inaugural season last year and led the league in average attendance. Beyond packing BNO Stadium (formerly The Banc), they are also ROWDY and the atmosphere is fun as hell. You also may spot a celebrity or 20, since, approximately, half of Hollywood has an ownership stake in the club.
Chicago Red Stars: Mallory. Swanson. Why are you still reading? Ok fine, no disrespect to other players on the team – veterans like Casey Krueger (returning after giving birth to her first child) and Yuki Nagasato as well as talented rookies Ava Cook and Ella Stevens – are excellent as well, but Swanson unlocked another tier and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Plus they also did this:
Houston Dash: Houston could low-key be one of the most fun teams in the league. Ebony Salmon is one of the best young forwards in the world, and Maria Sanchez is always eager to embarrass a defender, and that alone is worth double the price of admission.
Kansas City Current: You serious right now? They were in the NWSL Championship game last year and still chose to spend the offseason assembling an outrageous collection of talent. Villain behavior. They could be a dynasty in the making. Go watch this team!
Gotham FC: A really cool thing about Red Bull Arena is that there isn’t a bad seat in the house, and they nailed the acoustics there. It’s one of those places that can make 5,000 sound like 15,000, so why not fill it with 15k and get the party started for real? Also, erm, that team is loaded with fun talent, do not expect a repeat of last season, you’ll want to have your butt in a seat from day one.
North Carolina Courage: In her first NWSL season, Brazilian attacker Kerolin announced herself as one of the most dangerous players in space and 1v1. She racked up six goals, four assists, and countless defenders’ souls collected. North Carolina also have a number of talented young players who could be on the cusp of breakout seasons.
OL Reign: The Reign play an exciting style of soccer that showcases some of the most widely recognized talent in the world from Megan Rapinoe to Rose Lavelle. The team also i-...
Actually let me stop typing. One of their star players, Bethany Balcer, said it better anyway:
Orlando Pride: Orlando’s rebuild looks set to stick this time. The vibes around the team are much improved, and they have exciting young talent at all three levels, defense, midfield and attack. Also, one of the best to ever do it, Marta, is back on the pitch. The Black Swans supporters group always turns their section into a party, and purple smoke is dope.
Portland Thorns: Sophia. Smith. Last year’s NWSL MVP, Championship MVP and USWNT Player of the Year is one of the most exciting players to watch in any league and she’s getting better. It’s hard to imagine what else Smith might add or improve in her game, but consider yourself fortunate if you’re in a position to watch her live. Oh also the Portland Thorns win a lot and typically have one of the best in-stadium atmospheres in the NWSL.
Racing Louisville: Somehow, Louisville is the international hub of the NWSL. They’ve signed players who represent South Africa (Thembi Kgatlana, China (Wang Shuang), Nigeria (Uchenna Kanu), Brazil (Ary Borges), Finland (Elli Pikkujämsä), Jamaica (Satara Murray) and Australia (Alex Chidiac). They also have stellar young American talents Jaelin Howell and Savannah DeMelo, the latter of which has a penchant for scoring absolute BANGERS.
San Diego Wave: Casey Stoney is one of the best managers in the game and has assembled a mighty strong squad. The Cali team was the first expansion club to make the playoffs and was a Crystal Dunn wonder strike away from being the first to play in a championship. Snapdragon Stadium was also very much a vibe last season, and supporters should be even more hype for year two under Stoney.
Washington Spirit: The United Spirits is a fun thing to say but it’s also true, when USWNT call ups are made, multiple Spirit players are named. Andi Sullivan plays a crucial central midfield role for the team, and young attackers Trinity Rodman and Ashley Sanchez are some of the country’s most exciting talents. And YOU can see them live, every home game at Audi Field. (I promise, if you already think Trinity Rodman is good, wait until you see her in person.) The players deserve Audi to be rocking, do your part by getting tickets.
(Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)