Mallory Swanson entered free agency for the first time and cashed in with a record-breaking contract with the Chicago Red Stars worth a reported $2 million including a fifth-year option.
Swanson, a popular United States women’s national team striker, was acquired by Chicago in 2021 in a trade with NJ/NY Gotham FC, becomes the highest-paid player in NWSL. Her contract exceeds the previous standard-setting agreement between the Houston Dash and winger Maria Sanchez. The Mexican international signed a three-year contract through free agency reportedly worth $1.5 million.
“The Red Stars could not be more excited that Mallory Swanson has decided to extend her career with us here in Chicago,” Red Stars president Karen Leetzow said. “Mallory exemplifies the grit, focus, and resiliency of our franchise and is an anchor for this team. Mal is a born leader on and off the field and I look forward to working with her to make the Red Stars a championship team.”
Leetzow is part of a complete structural overhaul in Chicago that included an ownership and coaching change.
Swanson said re-signing with Chicago was an easy decision because it kept her with her family. Swanson married Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson in December 2022 and no longer goes by her maiden name, Pugh.
Swanson missed the Women’s World Cup with a torn patella tendon in her left knee. Swanson was injured in the first half of an exhibition match with Ireland last April.
The Swanson deal caps a furious week of reconstruction of the Red Stars roster.
Red Stars dealt the third overall pick in Friday night’s NWSL draft to the Washington Spirit in exchange for veteran defender Sam Staab.
The Red Stars later made moves to acquire the 10th and 15th overall picks in the draft.
Staab, 26, spent the past five NWSL seasons with the Spirit and totaled four goals over 93 appearances. She has earned NWSL Ironwoman honors three times, having played in every possible regular-season minute for her club three times, including in 2023.
Staab’s durability also helped her set a league record for most consecutive regular-season starts, an active streak currently at 90.
The Red Stars then dealt longtime defender Arin Wright to Racing Louisville in exchange for the 15th overall pick and $125,000 in allocation money. Wright, 31, is a Kentucky native and requested to join her home state’s team, according to Chicago.
–Field Level Media
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