NWSL news: Flint sent to Louisville, Sinclair returns to Thorns, Stevens joins lethal Gotham attack, and more

Even with this week marking the start of pre-season, the player movement continues. In today's NWSL news, Taylor Flint (Kornieck) moved to Racing in shock trade, Sinclair stayed in Portland, Stevens joined Gotham's attack, and more.

2023 SheBelieves Cup - Brazil v United States
2023 SheBelieves Cup - Brazil v United States / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages
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NWSL news: Bev Yanez and Racing Louisville FC acquire Taylor Flint (Kornieck) in shocking trade, and sign teenager Milly Clegg

Don't look now but Racing Louisville FC is arguably having one of the best offseasons in the NWSL. The revolution under Bev Yanez is fully underway. Last week, the club brought in a new assistant coach and two international level players. Racing made the headlines to begin this one. In an agreement with the defending NWSL Shield winners, the Kentucky outfit shipped out $150,000 in allocation money, gaining USWNT midfielder Taylor Flint (formerly Kornieck). Louisville restructured Flint's contract to keep her around for two years.

According to San Diego Wave general manager Molly Downtain, the midfielder requested to depart southern California with the idea of pursing a "new opportunity within the league."

Considering what we've seen, especially from Draft night right up until now, this is a club that seeks to contend for years to come. No more ninth place finishes. Adding a young USWNT-level talent is another step toward that. The 25-year-old from Michigan was drafted by Orlando Pride with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2020 NWSL Draft after the club traded up to obtain her services. She was one of five players to contribute to five league goals in Orlando's turbulent 2021 campaign before being dealt to San Diego along with Australian international Emily van Egmond in January 2022.

In the response to the addition, Yanez stated, "We are so excited for Taylor to join our group! She’s dynamic and has such a strong presence on both sides of the ball. She provides versatility with a wealth of league experience, which will be a huge addition to the squad.”

In 45 contests across all competitions under Casey Stoney, Flint netted six goals to go along with four assists. Seven of the 10 goals in her NWSL career have come via her head. It's not just cause she's 6-foot-1. Flint possesses that skill of placement, knowing just exactly how to re-direct the ball into the back of the net. Pair that with Carson Pickett and Savannah Demelo providing the service. Nightmares for opposing coaches.

Defensively, Flint has shown she can disrupt opposition build-up, finishing with the fourth most tackles in the league in the middle third of the pitch in 2022. Add that to knowing how to switch the field of play while being able to find a forward via a through ball between the lines. She's one unique midfielder. Inserting her alongside another ball-winner in Jaelin Howell could create for the most physical midfield duo in the league.

You would think that could be enough for one day. In fact, it wasn't as Racing agreed to a three-year deal to bring in rising New Zealand international star Milly Clegg. The 18-year-old comes from Western Sydney Wanderers in the Australian A-League Women. The Auckland native made it on the pitch for one outing before suffering repeated hamstring injuries that ended her campaign.

The club's statement says that she plans to arrive in Louisville in March. It it said that Clegg and Western Sydney mutually agreed to terminate the contract the two had in order for the player to join the NWSL.

Over the span of the last year, Clegg has suited up for three World Cup including being named to the senior one last past summer. The No. 9 was the only Kiwi to find the back of the net in the 2022 U-17 Women's World Cup. A few months prior in the U-20 competition, Clegg opened the scoring with a brilliant right-footed finish in the final group stage match against Linda Caicedo and Colombia. Her rise has been quite extraordinary. That natural talent at such a young age is something many have marveled at for the past few years. New Zealand doesn't produce quality attacking players at a consistent basis---this could very well be one when it's all said and done.

Prior to competing for the Wanderers, Clegg made a name for herself in the Australian top-flight with Wellington Phoenix FC on a student scholarship. There, Clegg led the team in goals during the 2022/23 season, finishing with four while standing in the top-10 in the league in shots on target per 90. She is incredibly creative and technical in the final third while showing she can do some defensive work as well. The 18-year-old has shown confidence break down defenders, especially last season where she finished as Wellington's leader in successful take-ons. Under Yanez, an ex-player in the NWSL, Clegg will learn to adapt to a new league with time.

“Milly is a generational player who already has significant international experience at a young age,” Louisville GM Ryan Dell said. “We cannot wait to see her grow and develop at Racing. She has a unique ability to score goals with exceptional pace, and she will play an important role for us for years to come.”