How Will 2015 Women's World Cup Affect NWSL Teams?

Which teams have the most to replace, and Which teams can make a move
by Eric Harris   |   Monday, May 11, 2015

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We are less than a month away from the start of the 2015 Women’s World Cup kicking off in Edmonton. The best women in soccer from across the globe will flock to Canada for the next month in hopes of lifting a trophy.

This does not mean domestic leagues will come to a halt for the tournament. NWSL will have a break in June, but teams will still face significant time this season without their top players. Much of this season will be defined by how the teams will react to this shake up. Teams with the best depth and player management will be the most likely to move up in the standings in the next two months. The dog days of summer will prove to be more difficult for some teams than others.

The two teams hit hardest by the departures are the Chicago Red Stars and the Houston Dash who are both going to have to make wholesale changes in some major areas on the pitch.

The Red Stars have yet to make a road trip but have had a fantastic start led by Christen Press who has four goals. The issue is that she is now leaving with the USWNT.

Chicago has depth at the forward position but most of them are leaving for Canada as well. Melissa Tancredi and Adriana Leon will join the Canadian National team leaving Rory Dames with a group of young strikers to work with. Jen Hoy is the most experienced of those, but she is only in her third year and a pair of rookies might have to feature for the Red Stars.

If scoring becomes a problem for the Red Stars, they won’t be able to rely on their usual defensive lineup to keep them in games. Defenders Abby Erceg, and Julie Johnston will be gone as will Shannon Boxx and keeper Karina LeBlanc. If the Red Stars want to remain near the top of the table, they will have to do so with a core of young players in a trial by fire.

Randy Waldrum nearly took an underdog Trinidad and Tobago team to the World Cup but will instead stay with the Houston Dash while six of his players leave for the tournament.

With different trios heading for both the Canadian and American national teams, Waldrum will have to replace the spine of his team. The Dash have lost their last two games and the loss of their central midfield in newcomers Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian will sting even more.

While some other teams while be able to build some cohesion through the summer, Houston is a team that desperately needs to do so and won’t be able to until the United States and Canada depart from the World Cup.

While Houston will not have their group of new players available for the foreseeable future, the Western New York Flash will be able to do the exact opposite. Sydney Leroux and Whitney Engen will be missed but the team will get valuable minutes together without losing their core identity.

The Flash have a lot of new parts this season, and time will only make them better. A handful of players like Becky Edwards, Sam Mewis and Sabrina D’Angelo are in their first season in Rochester and the more minutes together they get the greater the advantage for them.

Scotland and Wales will not be heading to the World Cup, which means the Seattle Reign will have one of, if not, the strongest lineups in the league during the next couple of months. Kim Little and Jess Fishlock won’t be travelling north for the summer meaning Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo will be the only players leaving. Keeping Little and Fishlock in the middle of the field will allow them to keep control of the middle of the field and terrorize the other backlines in the league that will be missing key pieces.

While teams like Chicago and Houston will be using all of their depth this summer, the Reign will remain largely in tact. 


U of Arkansas
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
American soccer fan by birth, SKC and Fulhamerican by choice. Watcher of all soccer, professional, WoSo and college. A life long Arkansan, he spends more money on soccer jerseys than a college student should.