Racing Louisville FC announced multiple roster moves ahead of the NWSL’s end-of-season waiver wire and free agency periods that commence this week.
The club exercised contract options to retain goalkeepers Hillary Beall and Jordyn Bloomer; midfielders Alex Chidiac and Taylor Malham; and forwards Emina Ekic and Parker Goins. They’ll join a core of Racing players with continuing contracts and report for 2023 preseason training camp.
English defender and captain Gemma Bonner and Racing agreed to decline the team option in Bonner’s contract so she can play closer to her home and family. Fellow defender Nealy Martin is now out of contract and will not return, while forward Cheyna Matthews, who did not play this season, is a free agent.
“We had the youngest squad in the league last year, and I’m happy that 21 of the players will be back again for the 2023 season,” said Racing coach Kim Björkegren. “I’m sure that after the previous year together, we have learned a lot and are now ready to take the next step. That was something we saw at the end of the season when we had great team spirit and finished with some good results.
“Gemma has been our captain and played a lot for us. Her leadership and great personality will be missed, but she will now move back to Europe and be closer to her family, which I know is important for her. I wish her all the best, and she will always be remembered fondly for her time in Louisville.
“Nealy has been an important player and person for Racing. She is always hard working and always does the best for the team, and those are big reasons why she is so popular in the squad. We will miss Nealy, and we will follow her in the future.”
With no expansion draft this year, the next key parts of the NWSL offseason include the waiver wire window and the new-this-year free agency period. There is a brief transaction moratorium from Dec. 22-Jan. 4, and the annual NWSL Draft is set for Jan. 12, 2023.
Racing currently possesses the fourth overall pick in the NWSL Draft, plus two picks in the second and third rounds and one in the fourth.
The ninth-place Louisville club finished the 2022 season in fine form, winning three of its final four matches, including a 1-0 thriller over the eventual NWSL runner-up Kansas City Current in the finale.
Racing Louisville FC’s 2023 roster:
Goalkeepers: Hillary Beall*, Jordyn Bloomer*, Kelsey Daugherty, Katie Lund
Defenders: Emily Fox, Rebecca Holloway, Julia Lester, Satara Murray, Zaneta Wyne
Midfielders: Alex Chidiac^, Savannah DeMelo, Jaelin Howell, Taylor Malham, Lauren Milliet, Wang Shuang
Forwards: Kirsten Davis, Emina Ekic^, Parker Goins, Thembi Kgatlana, Jessica McDonald%, Nadia Nadim
* Hillary Beall (Western United) and Jordyn Bloomer (Western Sydney Wanderers) are on loan in Australia until April.
^ Alex Chidiac (Melbourne Victory) and Emina Ekic (Melbourne City) are on loan in Australia until mid-February 2023.
% Jessica McDonald (Western United) is on loan in Australia until late January 2023.