NWSL news: Asisat Oshoala says goodbye to Barcelona, joins new expansion side Bay FC through 2026 with an option for an additional year
The talent level in the NWSL just continues to skyrocket. Northern California has had its fair share of superstars across all sports. The latest may have just arrived. The six-time African Women's Footballer of the Year is heading to the Bay Area.
On Thursday morning, the San Francisco outfit announced the signing of Nigerian striker Asisat Oshoala on a deal through 2026 with an option for 2027. Bay FC are being reported to have paid $163,000 to Barcelona in exchange for the rights of Oshoala per Spanish news outlet Diario Sport. The club, especially head coach Albertin Montoya have spoken multiple times about the desire to play a possession-oriented attacking-minded style of football. Oshoala should fit like a glove into that, acting as that constant headache for opposition anywhere in the attacking third, particularly in the penalty area.
In an interview with CBS Sports following the announcement, Oshoala was clear in her ambitions for the upcoming campaign.
"So, it's the first year, I look forward to having a good year with the team. Go for everything. Because the most simple one of the goals when you go into a competition is -- you want to win it," Oshoala stated. "That's what you need to have in mind. That mentality to go on the pitch and fight for everything."
The Nigerian joined Barca in January 2019 on loan from Chinese side Dalian Quanjian before agreeing to a permanent transfer in May. The 29-year-old resides in the top four in the club's history in goals scored with 117 in 162 contests across all competitions. That's good for 0.71 goals scored per 90 minutes. Rumor has it that Oshoala was not content with her playing time this season. It's incredibly understandable given the two contests in which she was given the starting nod, No. 20 found the back of the net on more than one occasion.
In less than a week, Bay FC have agreed to deals with three internationals, two from Africa, and one from South America. Oshoala is a true target woman for dynamic creators like Deyna Castellanos, and Dorian Bailey. Sure, it's going to be a bit of transition given she's coming from one of the juggernauts in the world of women's football. She seems prepared for the challenge in front of her, though, bringing with her a wealth of experience competing across three different continents professionally.
Bay FC isn't content yet. The club looks to be adding another asset this week according to its social media.
NWSL news: 21-year-old Swedish international Hanna Lundkvist signs one-year deal with San Diego Wave FC, coming over from Atlético de Madrid
After a little over two years in the Spanish capital with Atlético Madrid Femenino, Swedish defender Hanna Lundkvist has turned the page. The young 21-year-old was announced as the newest member of the defending NWSL Shield winners on Thursday afternoon, agreeing to a one-year contract with a mutual option attached.
Lundkvist made her senior debut for the Swedish national team at right back against China last February. She was among Peter Gerhardsson's World Cup roster this summer but an unfortunate ankle injury in a warm-up match forced her to be replaced by Stina Lennartsson. She spent the first four years of her career in her home country competing in the Damallsvenskan, the top-flight in Sweden. Last season in Liga F, Lundkvist started in 12 of the 23 contests in which she played a part in, amassing the eventual game-clinching assist to Rasheedat Ajibade against Real Sociedad in Matchweek 20.
Though she mostly is slotted in as a right back, there have been instances in which the now ex-Atletico No. 27 moved slightly higher up the pitch into the midfield. Even though she isn't much of a contributor to goals, Lundkvist is tidy in her distribution, and willing to be creativite through progressive carrying.
In all six Liga F fixtures that she's seen the pitch in this season, the Swede has accumulated a pass completion percentage of 80 percent or better. The former Hammarby defender sits in the 94th percentile in successful take-ons for fullbacks across the top nine women's football competitions in the world. Christen Westphal was the Wave's No. 1 choice right back last season, but with time Lundkvist may take over especially considering she's on a short-term deal.
San Diego Wave General Manager Molly Downtain expressed her delight to add another Swede to the mix.
“Hanna is an excellent fit and will be a great addition to our group. Her quality and international experience will all serve her well here in San Diego,” Downtain said. “We look forward to welcoming Hanna and integrating her with the team as we continue to strengthen the roster ahead of the 2024 season.”
NWSL news: Red Stars forward Mallory Swanson dives into unknown details on her knee injury on "The Women's Game" podcast with Sam Mewis
Most of the time, it isn't always black and white. Especially when it comes to injuries of women's athletes. That was the case here. In an interview that was released yesterday with Sam Mewis on "The Women's Game", Mallory Swanson dove deep into some untold gut-wrenching facts surrounding her injury. Last April, in preparation for the World Cup, the USWNT took on the Republic of Ireland. Just before the halftime whistle blew, the star No. 9 who had been in red-hot form leading up to this point was taken off the pitch via a stretcher.
First, the Chicago Red Star expressed what occurred that day, stating, "That tendon just completely ruptured,” Swanson said. “Then my kneecap went up into my thigh. So it almost dislocated too. It hurt so bad. The training staff came on the field and then they put my kneecap back in place. Then I got relief and I was better."
Those details alone would make anyone's skin crawl. Swanson was still determined to make it to the World Cup, thinking she just dislocated her kneecap. As even more news was introduced to the equation, the odds shrunk. Just a few days after that win over Ireland, the Colorado native had surgery, but due to an infection in her knee, another procedure was needed.
“So basically I got surgery and then a week and a half later, I had a second surgery," Chicago's No. 9 said. "It was really bad. They had to do basically an emergency surgery to try and get this infection out because it was starting to — I don’t want to say it was starting to take over my body — but I was very, very ill."
The reality began to sink in for her, undergoing a significant stretch post-injury that nobody had known about prior to her making it public.
“I think after that, that’s when I knew. I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m (not playing in the) World Cup.’ I honestly didn’t even think about playing after that. I was like, I literally just need to feel better because I was so sick. I was on IV antibiotics for like six weeks. It was awful. It was like literally the worst thing ever, but we made it through.”
Luckily, for her and football fans around the world, all of that is in the past. Swanson has been seen in pre-season training photos after agreeing to a new record contract to remain in Chicago this offseason. The 25-year-old is set to make her return to the club pitch on March 16 away at new expansion outfit Utah Royals FC.