Racing Louisville 2022 Roster Tracker

It’s a new year and the next NWSL season is coming in fast. New seasons always come with inevitable roster changes and Racing Louisville certainly saw some major shakeups. By the end of December, Racing had turned over 40% of its 2021 roster via trades, waivers, and other means. Before the month was through, they also acquired a large number of players via drafts and trades.

Below is an in-depth look at Racing’s roster for 2022 that will be updated as changes are made throughout the preseason. Currently, there are six sections:

  1. Current Roster which features information on each player currently signed to the roster, including contract terms;
  2. Expected For Preseason which includes players who have been drafted or otherwise acquired by Racing but do not have contracts yet and are still expected for preseason;
  3. Departures which features players who played in the inaugural 2021 season but have since departed from Racing Lousiville;
  4. Rights Held which includes players whose rights are currently held by Racing Louisville but who have no known plans to play for the club;
  5. 2023 Draft Picks which tracks Racing’s current draft status in the 2023 draft(s);
  6. Updates which tracks all changes made to this page.

As mentioned above, this is a living document, so players will shift around and information on contracts will be updated as it is released. Eventually, the Expected for Preseason section should shrink as players are inevitably moved into the other categories. A running tab of each update will be kept either on a linked page or in a bulleted list at the bottom of this article.

Special thanks to Racing Louisville’s front office for assisting with the information gathering in this article.


Current Roster

Players are listed alphabetically by last name.

Current total: 16

Defenders: 5

Midfielders: 3

Forwards: 7

Goalkeepers: 1

International Slots Used: 4

International Slots Open: 3

  • Extra slot granted to all teams starting in 2023
  • Nagasato vacates one
  • One slot included as part of Nagasato trade in 2022, 2023

 

Gemma Bonner (D)

Shirt Number: 4

Previous Team: Manchester City (FAWSL)

Nationality: ENG (Uses international slot)

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: April 2021

Contract terms: Two-year contract, signed through 2022, with the option for an additional year

Bio: Bonner is a veteran center back who brings over a decade of professional experience in England’s FAWSL to Racing Louisville. In 2013 and 2014, Bonner captained Liverpool to back-to-back FAWSL championships and was the youngest captain to ever do so. She has been capped by the English senior national team 11 times since 2013 including a call-up as recently as 2019.

2021 Recap: In her first season with Racing, Bonner was the cool, collected presence on the backline that Racing desperately needed. Her leadership was critical in directing play and organizing the young defenders around her. She won 70% of her tackles and 60% of her duels in her 13 games with Racing last season. She also came second in the team for clearances with 66 despite only playing in 13 matches/1,156 minutes due to injury and a late arrival in the season. In comparison, team leader Kayleigh Riehl had 79 clearances in 21 games/1,684 minutes. Bonner also earned 22 blocks and 20 interceptions. As one of the veterans on the team with captaincy experience, it’s possible Bonner could be a strong candidate to replace Betos as captain in 2022.

 

Kirsten Davis (F)

Shirt Number: Unknown

Previous Team: Texas Tech (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 0

Signed: December 2021 / 2021 College Draft (Played an additional year of NCAA eligibility in 2021)

Contract terms: Two-year contract, signed through 2023, with the option for an additional year

Bio: Davis is a native of St. Louis who has played for the last five years at Texas Tech University. Despite being drafted by Racing 13th overall in the 2021 College Draft, Davis chose to play an additional year of NCAA eligibility that was granted to all players after a pandemic-altered 2020 season. She has also represented the United States in the youth system at the U18, U19, and U20 levels. Despite never playing a minute as a professional, the young forward was considered valuable enough to protect in the 2022 Expansion Draft. She leaves Texas Tech ranked second in all-time points (112), goals (45), and game-winners (16).

2021 Recap: This fall, Davis was announced as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year after earning 14 goals and 6 assists in 19 appearances. Davis’s 4.0 GPA also led her to Big 12 Soccer Fall Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors.

 

Emina Ekic (F)

Shirt Number: 13

Previous Team: University of Louisville (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: January 2021 / 2021 College Draft

Contract terms: Two-year contract, signed through 2022, with the option for an additional year

Bio: Ekic is the lone player on the roster to hail from Louisville and the only player from the University of Louisville to ever be drafted into the NWSL. She was picked 5th overall in the 2021 College Draft where she called the chance to play at home a “dream come true”. After overcoming two ACL tears in high school and college respectively, Ekic went on to tally the fourth-most goals in UofL program history with 29 and second-most assists with 19. In 2020, she was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Ekic has represented the United States in the youth program.

2021 Recap: Ekic made her professional debut in the 2021 Challenge Cup where she immediately attracted attention based on her footwork and willingness to go one-on-one against superstars such as Marta. She earned the moniker ‘Hometown Hero’ after leading Racing to their first-ever win against the Washington Spirit in May. Ekic not only scored the game-winner – and Racing’s first regular season goal in team history – but also notched an assist to Cece Kizer to ensure the win. She also earned NWSL Player of the Week accolades for her heroics. Ekic played in 15 games in 2021 with three starts.

 

 

Emily Fox (D)

Shirt Number: 11

Previous Team: University of North Carolina (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: January 2021 / 2021 College Draft

Contract terms: Three-year contract, signed through 2023

Bio: Fox was the first overall pick of the 2021 College Draft. Although she typically plays as a left back, she is incredibly versatile and can play on either side of the field and also as a midfielder. The Ashburn, Virginia native was a standout at the University of North Carolina and earned three straight All-ACC First Team Honors. Fox has long been considered a future mainstay of the United States National Women’s Team. After representing the U.S. in the U20 World Cup in 2016 and 2018, she earned her first cap with the senior national team in 2018 while only a junior. She has since earned 8 caps with the full team. Fox was also a Mac Hermann Trophy semi-finalist as a junior in 2019 and led UNC in assists that year with 11. These stats are even more impressive considering she suffered from not just one, but two ACL tears during her college career (2017 and 2019).

2021 Recap: Fox had a seamless transition from college player to pro in 2021. She played more minutes than any other NWSL rookie and made 23 appearances and 22 starts. She also led the entire league in interceptions with 115. During the Challenge Cup, Fox earned the team’s first-ever assist off Kizer’s opening goal against Orlando. In the month of May, she played well enough to be placed on the NWSL Team of the month. Fox stood out all season thanks to her ability to contribute as much in the attack as in the defense. Her speed allowed her to beat attackers and defenders alike and she’d seemingly pop up to make key players all over the pitch regardless of what position she was playing. Widely considered to be Racing’s best player in 2021, Fox was nominated for NWSL Rookie of the Year and came in second. In 2021 she was also called back onto the senior national team and earned Player of the Match accolades after an outstanding performance against Australia in November.

Click here to check out a recent Beautiful Game Network interview with Emily Fox to hear more about her first season with Racing and her experiences with the U.S. national team. 

 

 

Cece Kizer (F)

Shirt Number: 5

Previous Team: Houston Dash (NWSL)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion Draft

Contract terms: Two-year contract, signed through 2022

Bio: Kizer originally hails from Overland Park, Kansas and was a standout player at Ole Miss. Her 48 goals and 119 career points remain all-time records for the Rebels. In 2019, Kizer was drafted 13th overall by the Houston Dash. She made 22 appearances through 2020 with the Dash and was ultimately taken by Racing in December 2020 as part of the expansion draft. Before being drafted, she was loaned to Kolbotn IL in Norway for the Fall of 2020 where she scored three goals.

2021 Recap: After two years as a professional, Kizer had a breakout year in 2021. She made club history when she scored the team’s first-ever goal during Racing’s inaugural match in the Challenge Cup. She continued to be one of Racing’s most effective attackers and led the team with 15 shots on target. Across all competition, Kizer would score seven goals and earn three assists. Mario Sanchez, Racing’s interim head coach for the final months of 2021, remarked on a few occasions that he felt Kizer deserved looks from the U.S. national team based on her talent and performance with Racing.

 

 

Katie Lund (GK)

Shirt Number: 23

Previous Team: Washington Spirit (NWSL)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion Draft; Re-signed January 2022

Contract terms: Two-year contract, signed through 2023

Bio: Lund grew up in Plano, TX, and spent the first three years of her college career at Texas Christian University. For her senior year, she moved to the University of Arkansas where she let in only 11 goals all season and had an impressive 11 shutouts in 23 games. This ranked her ninth nationally in shutouts for the year. (Incidentally, one of those shutouts was a historic 2-0 win over a first-ranked UNC team including future teammates Emily Fox and Taylor Otto. Future Racing draftee Parker Goins also scored the second goal for Arkansas in that match.) Lund was undrafted in 2020 but was signed by the Washington Spirit later that year. In December of 2020, she was selected by Racing Louisville from the Washington Spirit as part of the 2021 Expansion Draft.

2021 Recap: Katie Lund received her first professional minutes in August when she was substituted on for an injured Michelle Betos in the championship match of the Women’s Cup. Her performance in that match’s penalty shootout against Bayern Munich earned her immediate folk hero status in Louisville. Lund’s saves kept Louisville in the match through all ten field players before she was called upon to take a shot herself. She converted it and then stood in goal to face the opposing keeper and made the save – her fourth of the shootout. As the result of her actions, Racing clinched their first trophy. She went on to make four starts during the rest of the season where she had a 71% save rate in 360 minutes. With last season’s starting keeper Michelle Betos’ departure, Lund is seemingly a shoo-in for the starting role in 2022.

 

 

Nealy Martin (D)

Shirt Number: Unknown, formerly 14 (Gave 2021 shirt number to incoming Jessica McDonald)

Previous Team: University of Alabama (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: January 2021 / Non-rostered invitee

Contract terms: Two-year contract, signed through 2022

Bio: Martin hails from Birmingham, AL, and attended the University of Alabama where she received a degree in chemical engineering. While in college, Martin made 76 appearances for the Crimson Tide. Martin received several accolades while in college including 2019’s SEC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year. After going undrafted in the 2021 College Draft, she attended open tryouts for Racing Louisville in late 2020 where she impressed the coaching staff enough to be invited into preseason. After a successful preseason with Racing, Martin was signed for the 2021 season.

2021 Recap: Martin had the most minutes of all the non-roster invitees who signed contracts with Racing for 2021. She made 18 regular season appearances and 13 starts for a total of 1,291 minutes. She’s proven to be a flexible player who can play anywhere on the back line as needed. Martin finished the season with an 80% passing average.

 

Cheyna Matthews (F)

Shirt Number: 20

Previous Team: Washington Spirit (NWSL)

Nationality: JAM

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / Waiver wire

Contract terms: Two-year contract, signed through 2022

Bio: After playing her first couple of years of college soccer at Vanderbilt University, Matthews transferred to Florida State University in 2014 and was instrumental in leading the Seminoles to their first College Cup in 2015. She scored 10 goals and tallied 7 assists during her senior season and was ultimately named 2015’s Offensive MVP of the championship match.  In 2016, she was drafted in the first round by the Washington Spirit. During her time with the Spirit, Matthews made 55 appearances and scored 11 goals. This is made more impressive by the fact she dealt with the birth of her first son and the pregnancy of her second child while rostered with the Spirit. In 2019, Matthews was selected for the first Jamaican National Team squad to reach the World Cup. She made her World Cup debut during a group stage match against Brazil. In December of 2020, Matthews was selected by Racing Louisville off the waiver wire after being released by the Spirit.

2021 Recap: Matthews spent all preseason and a portion of the regular season recovering from the birth of her second child. She made her debut for Racing in June against the Portland Thorns. She would subsequently make 17 appearances and four starts over the rest of the season and scored a goal against Kansas City in August. This goal was particularly memorable because it was unassisted. She was able to steal it off a defender, bypass the keeper, and casually walk it into the goal. Although she only played a total of 429 minutes this season, Matthews was a constant scoring threat and brought a strong, veteran presence to Racing’s young front line. Now that she’s fully healthy and back to full fitness, Racing fans should look forward to seeing her play a greater role in 2022.

Click here to read a recent Beautiful Game Network interview with Cheyna Matthews about her experiences at the college, club, and international levels.

 

Jessica McDonald (F)

Shirt Number: 14

Previous Team: North Carolina Courage (NWSL)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 0

Signed: December 2021 / Trade

Contract terms:  Contract under negotiation / Will unquestionably join Racing 

Bio: McDonald has a long and storied career in women’s soccer. She played her freshman and sophomore years at Phoenix College, one of the country’s oldest community colleges in Arizona. She transferred to the University of North Carolina in 2008 where she played a central role in the Tarheels winning the championship that same year. During that season, she scored five goals and tallied 10 assists making her the assist leader for the team despite only playing in 75% of their matches. McDonald was drafted onto the Chicago Red Stars in the 2010 WPS draft. After the WPS was disbanded, she left to play in Australia until the NWSL was established in 2013. Since 2013, McDonald has played on six teams with Racing Louisville being a record seventh. She spent the majority of her career with the North Carolina Courage having played there from their inception in 2017 through 2021. In this time, she’s helped the Western New York Flash and the Courage win a combined three championships, the Courage win three shields, and she was named MVP of the 2018 Championship match. McDonald currently leads the league in assists with 27 and ranks fourth in goals with 51. In addition to having a remarkable college and club career, McDonald was also a member of the United States Women’s Team squad that won the 2019 World Cup.

2021 Recap: In her final season with the North Carolina Courage, McDonald scored four goals and three assists in 22 appearances. Two of these goals were headers. She completed 28 key passes and had 15 successful crosses. Racing Louisville acquired McDonald in December 2021 after a series of trades. First, Savannah McCaskill was traded to Los Angeles’ Angel City for the sixth pick of the 2022 College Draft and $25,000 in allocation money. That sixth pick was then flipped to the North Carolina Courage who traded McDonald’s rights. With her extensive experience, McDonald is another likely candidate for team captain in 2022.

Click here to check out a recent Beautiful Game Network interview with McDonald featuring her interest in joining Louisville, her take on the tumultuous 2021 season, and where she thinks the NWSL is heading in 2022.

 

 

Addisyn Merrick (D)

Shirt Number: 26

Previous Team: North Carolina Courage (NWSL)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion Draft; Re-signed January 2022

Contract terms: One-year contract, signed through 2022 with the option for an additional year

Bio: Merrick grew up in a suburb of Kansas City and attended played college ball with Kansas University. As a senior in 2019, she started all 25 of the Jayhawk’s matches and helped lead the team to a conference championship. She received 2019 Big 12 Defender of the Year accolades for her efforts. Merrick was drafted by the North Carolina Courage in the 2020 College Draft. Despite having a rookie year defined by limited games due to Covid, she was able to distinguish herself as a strong player with a great deal of potential during the 2020 Challenge Cup. She was drafted by Racing Louisville in the 2021 Expansion Draft and has the distinction of being the first player to ever arrive at Racing Louisville ahead of the 2021 preseason.

2021 Recap: Merrick was unfortunately waylaid by a series of serious injuries in 2021. First, she recuperated from a back fracture sustained in preseason only to suffer a serious non-contact ankle injury while training that ultimately ended her season. As a result, she only played a total of 54 minutes across three games. In that short period of time, she had a nearly 80% success rate for passing including an over 50% success rate for long passes. She also made three clearances. Between this and the potential she showed with the Courage in 2020, Merrick has a strong chance of earning a starting role in 2022.

 

 

Lauren Milliet (MF)

Shirt Number: 2

Previous Team: North Carolina Courage (NWSL)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion Draft

Contract terms: Optional year exercised, signed through 2022

Bio: While at Colorado College, Milliet started in every on of her team’s 77 matches and scored 21 goals and 16 assists. She was an All Mountain West First Team selection in both her junior and senior years. Milliet was selected by the North Carolina Courage with the 14th overall pick of the 2019 College Draft (which means she was chosen immediately after future teammate Cece Kizer). In December of 2020, she was chosen by Racing Louisville as part of the expansion draft.

2021 Recap: Milliet has the distinction of being the only player to get minutes in all 24 regular season matches. She made 19 starts total over the course of the season and had 13 shots with three going on target. Fans will most likely remember her fancy flip throw-in during a match against the Washington Spirit in July.

 

Nadia Nadim (F)

Shirt Number: 10

Previous Team: Paris Saint-Germain (France)

Nationality: DEN (Uses international slot)

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: June 2021

Contract terms: Three-year contract, signed through 2023

Bio: Nadim is another player who has a long, storied history in women’s soccer. She began her professional career in the Danish League during the early aughts where she reached Champion’s league play with Fortuna Hjørring in 2012. Over the years she has played in the NWSL several times, including a 2014-15 stint with Sky Blue FC (now Gotham FC) and a couple of years with the Portland Thorns from 2016-17. During her time with the Thorns, she was the team’s top scorer in 2016 and helped them win the NWSL Championship in 2017. After the Thorns, Nadim has played for Manchester City and, most recently, Paris Saint-Germain who she helped win the league for the first time in team history in 2020-21. Nadim has been a mainstay of the Danish national team since 2008 and was instrumental in leading them to the UEFA Women’s Euro Final of 2017. In 2020, her two goals were crucial in Denmark’s win 3-1 win over Italy which qualified them for the 2022 Euros. In addition to being a renowned player, Nadim is also well-known for her life off the pitch. After her father was murdered by the Taliban when she was 12, Nadim, her mother, and sisters escaped their native Afghanistan to become refugees in Denmark where they ultimately gained citizenship. She is currently finishing up her studies with Aarhus University in Denmark to become a plastic surgeon.

2021 Recap: Although she only played for a portion of the 2021 season, Nadim had an immediate impact with Racing Louisville. After joining the team in late July, she would go on to score three goals and notch an assist. Unfortunately, her season was ended after only eight appearances with an ACL tear in September. Nadim is actively rehabbing and working to make a full recovery so she can join Racing for the 2022 season and be healthy enough to lead Denmark in the 2022 Euros.

 

 

Freja Olofsson (MF)

Shirt Number: 8

Previous Team: KIF Örebro DFF (Sweden)

Nationality: SWE (Uses international slot)

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020

Contract terms: Optional year exercised, signed through 2022

Bio: Olofsson began her professional career playing for her hometown team KIF Örebro DFF. After moving to play in Norway 2019, she suffered an ACL tear and missed the majority of her season with Arna-Bjørnar. She returned Örebro for the 2020 season and made 21 appearances and 18 starts and scored two goals. In December of that same year, it was announced she had signed with Racing.

2021 Recap: Despite having never played as a holding midfielder in the number six position, Olofsson took on this change and was the regular starting six for the majority of the season. In fact, Olofsson was one of Racing’s most consistent starters overall with 22 appearances in 20 starts. She recorded more clearances than any other midfielder with 25 and had 40 interceptions. Her passing accuracy was also some of the highest on Racing’s roster at 82%.

Click here to read a recent Beautiful Game Network interview with Olofsson and learn more about her experiences in Louisville including adjusting to the NWSL, playing in a new position, and adapting to culture shock.

 

Taylor Otto (MF)

Shirt Number: 19

Previous Team: University of North Carolina (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: January 2021 / 2021 College draft

Contract terms: Optional year exercised, signed through 2022

Bio: Like Fox, Otto was drafted out of the storied University of North Carolina program. Head coach Anson Dorrance called Otto “one of the greatest leaders” he’s ever coached. Otto was named to First Team All-ACC in her sophomore year and Third Team in her freshman, junior, and senior years.  As a junior, she was also on the 2019 Hermann Trophy Watch List. She was chosen with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 College Draft. In 2016, Otto competed in the 2016 U20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea.

2021 Recap: Despite appearing in the regular season opener against Kansas City, a knee injury waylaid Otto until August. She earned her first start in October against the Washington Spirit. In total, she had nine appearances and three starts during her rookie season. Despite such limited minutes, Otto showed she had potential in all her appearances. She’s a technically strong defensive midfielder who undoubtedly would have gotten significantly more time on the pitch had she remained healthy. With Olofsson likely sliding into her preferred attacking position after Racing acquired Jaelin Howell in the 2022 draft, it’s likely Otto will get more minutes in the midfield in 2022 even if she isn’t a regular starter.

 

Ebony Salmon (F)

Shirt Number: 9

Previous Team: Bristol City (FAWSL)

Nationality: ENG (Uses international slot)

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: May 2021

Contract terms: Two-year contract, signed through 2022

Bio: At only 20-years old, Salmon is considered by many to be one of the English national team’s brightest prospects. Salmon began her professional career with Aston Villa in 2017-18 where she had seven goals in 12 appearances. After moving to Manchester United and quickly being loaned to Sheffield, she eventually settled in Bristol City from 2019-21. During these two seasons, she had 11 goals in 34 appearances which is especially impressive considering the team was constantly under the threat of regulation. Her five goals in 2019-20 tied her for eighth place in the FAWSL’s top goal scorers alongside Jordan Nobbs and Daniëlle van de Donk. In January 2021, Salmon received her first cap on the full English national team. Since then, she’s played in several matches with the England U23 team and also served as captain. Although Salmon signed with Racing in January of 2021, she was not able to join the team until the end of Bristol City’s season in May.

2021 Recap: Upon arriving in Louisville, Salmon made an instant splash by scoring a goal less than a minute into her first appearance. She continued to have a strong showing for the remainder of the season and led the team in goals (6) and assists (3) on the season. Even with a strong striker like Jess McDonald joining Racing, there’s little doubt Salmon will have a lot of time to shine in 2022. If Salmon stays in form, there’s a good chance she’ll retain the title of goal leader next season, too.

Click here to read a recent Beautiful Game Network interview with Salmon to hear her thoughts about transitioning from the English league to the NWSL, what she thinks of Louisville, and her aspirations for the English national team.

Erin Simon (D)

Shirt Number: 3

Previous Team: Houston Dash (NWSL)

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion draft; Re-signed January 2022

Contract terms: One-year contract, signed through 2022 with the option for an additional year

Bio: After playing college soccer with Syracuse from 2021-15, Simon went undrafted in the 2016 draft. After attending an open tryout with Sky Blue in 2016 and performing well during preseason, she was ultimately signed with the team where she made 26 appearances remained until 2018. From 2018-20, Simon went to West Hampshire in the FAWSL. In her time with West Ham, she saw the team reach their first-ever FA Cup final. Ahead of the 2020 NWSL season, Simon returned to the United States where she signed with the Houston Dash.

2021 Recap: Simon was selected by Racing Louisville in the 2021 Expansion Draft. Over the course of the season, Simon was the most regular starter at right back and made 21 appearances including 18 starts. With the departure of Julia Ashley to the Dash, it’s likely Simon will continue to get regular minutes during the 2022 season.

 


Expected For Preseason

Players are listed in draft order starting with the remaining players from the 2021 draft and moving into 2022. All players in this group are expected to at least attend preseason in February.

Everyone on this list is excellent, but unless rosters expand in 2022, not everyone in this section will get signed. At least, not to the main roster. The NWSL allows rosters of 24 active players and 4 reserve players which means all nine expected players may get offers, but not all will be on the active roster.

 

Parker Goins (F)

College Shirt Number: 22

College Team: University of Arkansas (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Drafted: January 2020 / 2021 College Expansion Draft

Reasons to sign: Although Racing has a good number of forwards, Goins is a strong enough candidate to likely earn a signing. Drafted in 2021, Goins chose to exercise her option for an additional year of NCAA eligibility. In her senior year, she started in all 16 matches logging an impressive 1,183 minutes. She led the team with eight goals and also earned three assists. Goins was only the third player in Arkansas history to become a United Soccer Coaches All-American and she also named to the First Team All-SEC in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Additionally, she was on the Mac Hermann Award Watch List for 2021 and was named SEC Midfielder of the Year the same year. That last accolade is particularly interesting considering she’s listed as a forward on her Razorbacks bio. Still, that only adds to her appeal. As mentioned, Racing doesn’t really need more forwards, but they could always use more midfielders. The fact she can play both positions well enough to earn conference honors is a big upside.

 

 

Emily Smith (D)

College Shirt Number: 4

College Team: University of California, Berkeley (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Drafted: January 2020 / 2021 College Expansion Draft

Reasons to sign:  With only five currently rostered defenders, Racing needs to add to this pool and Smith is definitely worth a good look. Like Goins, Smith was drafted in 2021 by Racing but chose to play an extra year of college soccer. In 2021, started all 18 games in 2021 and lead the team in minutes with 1,712. In fact, she played all but three minutes in the entire season. She was named Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2019 and was named to the First Team All-Pac-12 in 2019 and Second Team All-Pac-12 in 2021. She was also team captain for four consecutive years.

 

 

Taylor Malham (MF)

College Shirt Number: 14

College Team: University of Arkansas (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Drafted: Undrafted in 2021 / Rights selected by Racing in January 2021

Reasons to sign: Malham is the only undrafted player in this group, but she still has some excellent potential to make Racing’s roster. Racing only has three midfielders currently rostered. The additions of recent draftees Jaelin Howell and Savannah DeMelo will only bring them up to five. While Racing could choose to convert Goins to a part-time midfielder in a pinch so it’s still a good bet that they won’t hesitate to pass up a good candidate in midfield. And Malham definitely fits the bill. She scored an impressive 33 goals and notched 30 assists in her career as a Razorback. She was named to First Team All-SEC in both 2019 and 2021 and earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week Accolades in 2021. Her chemistry with Goins is also already well-established, so that could be an additional bump in her favor if Goins is also signed.

 

 

Jaelin Howell (MF)

College Shirt Number: 6

College Team: Florida State University (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Drafted: December 2021 / 2022 College Draft

Reasons to sign:  She’s Jaelin Howell! If you don’t know what that means, welcome to women’s soccer (or at least NCAA women’s soccer)! We’re so happy to have you. Howell is an absolute shoo-in to be signed and was widely considered to be the first pick during the lead-up to the 2022 College Draft. The fact she dropped to second in the draft was an unexpected boon for Racing. She seems prepared to join the team, too, as her Instagram bio already says she plays for Racing and she’s said in interviews she’s “psyched” to get started with the team. If you’re a Racing Louisville fan, you should be pretty darn psyched, too. Howell was instrumental in leading FSU to championship finals three times in four years and in winning it all in 2018 and 2021. She was named ACC Midfielder of the Year in 2020 and 2021 and named to the All-ACC First Team in 2019, 2020, and 2021. She’s only the sixth player in history to win back-to-back MAC Hermann Trophies (2020 and 2021) which is widely considered to be the highest honor in collegiate soccer. This puts her in the same company as luminaries such as Mia Hamm and Christine Sinclair. She’s also been nominated for an ESPY for Best College Player. On top of her collegiate achievements, she’s also already been capped by the U.S. Women’s National Team and is on her way to becoming a mainstay on the team. And this just scratches the surface of her accolades. One thing that makes Howell so special is that she plays as a central holding midfielder which is a notoriously thin position in women’s soccer. Racing played Freja Olofsson as a six for the majority of the 2021 season despite the fact she is a natural eight or attacking central midfielder. They did this because they had few other options. While Taylor Otto has proven to be a viable future six, Howell fills a need that Racing and, frankly, many teams truly need. As a defending midfielder, she can anchor the defense while also serving as a playmaker – something she did extremely well at FSU as team captain for three consecutive years. She has high passing accuracy, a wide passing range, and has an excellent aerial presence in front of goal. In short, she’s the total package. So get psyched, Louisville.

 

 

Savannah DeMelo (MF)

College Shirt Number: 10

College Team: University of Southern California (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Drafted: December 2021 / 2022 College Draft

Reasons to sign: Next to Howell and Jordyn Bloomer, DeMelo is the closest to a shoo-in on this list. Chosen by Racing with the fourth overall pick of the 2022 College Draft, DeMelo is another much-needed midfielder with lots of skill and experience to warrant such a high pick. She’s a box-to-box attacking midfielder who has a great record of assisting teammates. In 2018, she was third on USC in points with 9 goals and 10 assists and was named to the All-PAC-12 First Team. Unfortunately, a serious Achilles injury kept her out of the entire 2019 season. Still, she was able to come back in 2020/21 impressively with six assists on the year. She was also named to the All-PAC-12 Second Team in 2021. One of DeMelo’s greatest strengths is her versatility. She can play across the entire midfield even if she prefers the 10 position. She also has a long history of playing in the U.S. youth system including appearing in the 2016 and 2018 U20 World Cups with future teammates Emily Fox and Jaelin Howell. So even with a history of major injury, she has more than enough of an upside to warrant her high pick in the College Draft.

 

 

Charmé Morgan (D)

College Shirt Number: 18

College Team: Oklahoma State University (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Drafted: December 2021 / 2022 College Draft

Reasons to sign: In her most recent season with OSU, Morgan anchored a defense that earned nine shutouts and allowed only 17 goals all season. She also recorded three assists in the year. She was even more dynamic in 2019 with five goals and three assists. These numbers are even more impressive considering she was coming back from a serious knee injury that caused her to miss the entire 2018 season. Morgan is a strong, fast outer back who fits a major need on Racing with Julie Ashley’s departure. She likes getting involved in the attack based on her numbers of shots on goal, number of goals, and assists in college. This is exactly the type of wingback Racing seems to favor based on Erin Simon and Emily Fox’s play last season. This combination of attributes and the fact she fills a need on the roster mean it’s highly likely fans will see Morgan in lavender in 2022.

 

 

Jordyn Bloomer (GK)

College Shirt Number: 24

College Team: University of Wisconsin (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Drafted: December 2021 / 2022 College Draft

Reasons to sign: Bloomer is another player that fills a great need on Louisville’s roster. Racing currently has one goalkeeper! So, Racing clearly needs more goalkeepers! And Bloomer is a great one. In her senior year, she made 45 saves and was one of two players on the Wisconsin roster to play every minute of every game. She also led all Big-Ten goalkeepers in shutouts with seven and was named Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year for the second straight season. Additionally, Bloomer attended Racing’s off-season goalkeeper clinic where she clearly impressed goalkeeper coach Sergio Gonzalez and Executive Vice President James O’Connor. Bloomer is a very solid backup keeper for Lund. Although Louisville will need to sign a third keeper to balance out their roster, Bloomer has a solid shot at being Racing’s number two in 2022.

 

 

Jenna Menta (F)

College Shirt Number: 9

College Team: Wake Forest (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Drafted: December 2021 / 2022 College Draft

Reasons to sign: Menta began her career at Georgetown before transferring to Wake Forest for her senior year. As a freshman at Georgetown, she was named to the Big East All-Freshman Team and named Freshman of the Week for the first week of October. As a junior in 2019, she had three goals and four assists in 18 games. And in 2020, she had a true breakout year where she recorded five goals and eight assists, including three game-winning goals. One of the game-winners was an overtime goal to clinch the Big East Championship. As a result, she was named Big East Offensive Player of the Year. While Menta has always been a steady performer, she’s grown substantially as time went on. Although Racing doesn’t need many more forwards, Menta’s growth and history of scoring game-winners make her a tantalizing option.

 

 

Sydney Cummings (D)

College Shirt Number: 6

College Team: Georgetown (NCAA)

Nationality: USA

Drafted: December 2021 / 2022 College Draft

Reasons to sign: Cummings, who started her career with Brown University, transferred to Georgetown while a graduate student to play her final year of eligibility. While still at Brown, Cumming helped lead the Bears to a single-season program record of 14 wins and 13 shutouts in 2019. That year, the Brown defense ranked second in the NCAA in goals allowed (eight) and third in save percentage (.890). She was also a three time All-Ivy selection and earned Second Team All-Ivy honors in both her freshman and sophomore years. After being chosen by Racing, Cummings became the first-ever Brown alumnus to be drafted into the NWSL. Brown has a lot of potential to be a surprise impact player in the future. Racing needs additional defensive depth and Cummings has a proven record to show she rise to the challenge.

 


Departures

Players are listed alphabetically by last name.

Julia Ashley (D)

Shirt Number: 16

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion Draft

Departed: December 2021 / Trade to Houston for overall 26th pick in 2022 College Draft

Current Team: Houston Dash (NWSL)

Major Contribution: Although injured for a long duration early in the season, Ashley went on to become a regular starter at right back with 15 total appearances. She also co-starred in the beloved crossover between Racing and the Louisville Free Public Library’s summer reading program featuring Gorp.

 

Jorian Baucom (F)

Shirt Number: 33

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: January 2021 / Non-rostered invitee

Departed: December 2021 / Waived

Current Team: North Carolina Courage

Major Contributions: Baucom made an immediate impact for Racing during the Challenge Cup when she scored an incredible first touch goal against the North Carolina Courage. In the Women’s Cup Final, she stole the ball and powered past Bayern’s veteran defender Saki Kumagai to score the equalizer.

 

Michelle Betos (GK)

Shirt Number: 1

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion Draft

Departed: December 2021 / Contract extension not offered

Current Team: NJ/NY Gotham

Major Contribution: There are almost too many to list. Betos was Racing’s first captain and guided the team through a tumultuous season as scandals rocked the NWSL. She logged a league-leading 95 saves during the regular season and earned Save of the Week honors in April and June. She was also recoginized as part fo the team of the month in June. Her strongest performance came in Racing’s first win against the Washington Spirit where she logged an incredible 11 saves to keep a clean sheet.

 

Brooke Hendrix (D)

Shirt Number: 15

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion Draft

Departed: December 2021 / Waived

Current Team: Unknown

Major Contribution: Hendrix etched her name in Racing’s history books forever with her goal in the final minutes of stoppage time to bring Racing to a draw with the Orlando Pride in their first-ever match.

 

Noelle Higginson (MF)

Shirt Number: 24

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: January 2021 / Non-rostered invitee

Departed: August 2021 / Waived by request

Current Team: Retired to pursue law school

Major Contribution: Higginson is only one of two players to not receive any minutes during the season. The 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee earned a spot on the roster after impressing during the preseason. The fact she left Racing to start law school at Yale is pretty darn badass.

 

Vanessa Kara (F)

Shirt Number: 27

Nationality: DOM

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: January 2021 / Non-rostered invitee

Departed: December 2021 / Waived

Current Team: Unknown

Major Contribution: Although Kara only received limited minutes in 2021, her international career took off. She scored a brace during her first call up to the Dominican Republic Women’s National Team and has since become a regular starter.

 

Savannah McCaskill (F/MF)

Shirt Number: 7

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: October 2020 / Trade

Departed: December 2021 / Trade to L.A. for overall sixth pick in the 2022 College Draft, $25K in allocation money

Current Team: Los Angeles Angel City FC

Major Contribution: As co-captain with Michelle Betos, McCaskill was a critical leader for Racing during their first season. She was also integral on the field as a box-to-box midfielder who was often called the engine of the team. McCaskill was the team minutes leader with 1,949 minutes played in 23 appearances and 22 starts. Also, she was tied as the team assist leader with three assists. Along with Yuki Nagasato, McCaskill also has the distinction of being one of the first two players to join Racing’s roster.

 

Katie McClure (F)

Shirt Number: 22

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion Draft

Departed: December 2021 / Waived

Current Team: Unknown

Major Contribution: McClure was responsible for converting the penalty shot that put Racing into the Women’s Cup Final. She also notched a goal and an assist in a season-best performance against Orlando which helped eliminate the Pride from playoff contention.

 

Sinclaire Miramontez (D)

Shirt Number: 12

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: May 2021 / Signed after a successful trial period

Departed: December 2021 / Waived

Current Team: Seattle OL Reign

Major Contribution: Miramontez was a versatile player who was utilized in the midfield and the defense throughout the season. She had a total of 14 appearances and two starts and has since signed with OL Reign for the 2022 season. Also, a friend of Gorp and the Louisville Free Public Library.

 

Shelby Money (GK)

Shirt Number: 21

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: January 2021 / Non-rostered invitee

Departed: December 2021 / Waived

Current Team: Unknown

Major Contribution: Although Money didn’t feature in any of Racing’s matches, third keepers are integral to the development of teams during practices and in scrimmages. Money is also a goalkeeper coach and has recently worked at Division 1 Saint Joseph University’s staff. She also has an awesome name.

 

Yuki Nagasato (F)

Shirt Number: 17

Nationality: JAP

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: October 2020 / Trade

Departed: January 2022 / Trade to Chicago for natural 3rd round pick in 2023 & international spot

Current Team: Chicago Red Stars

Major Contribution: #DatAss is moving back home to Chicago. After recently becoming engaged, Nagasato requested that she can return home to live with her fiance in Chicago and Racing was happy to oblige. Along with Savannah McCaskill, Yuki was one of the first two players to ever join Racing Louisville after they were traded from the Red Stars in exchange for draft protection. Nagasato’s goal in the Women’s Cup final to put Racing ahead of Bayern 2-1 was arguably the best goal scored by Racing all season. Yuki has also delighted fans off the pitch with her video blogs of life with Racing and her sometimes hysterical social media presence.

 

Kayleigh Riehl (D)

Shirt Number: 18

Nationality: USA

Years Rostered: 1

Signed: December 2020 / 2021 Expansion Draft

Departed: December 2021 / Selected by San Diego in 2022 Expansion Draft

Current Team: San Diego Wave

Major Contribution: Over the course of the season, Riehl became the go-to starting center back next to Gemma Bonner. She led the team in clearances with 79 in 21 appearances.

 


Rights Held

Janine Beckie

Position: Forward

Current Team: Manchester City (FAWSL)

Nationality: CAN

Caitlin Foord

Position: Forward

Current Team: Arsenal (FAWSL)

Nationality: AUS

Tobin Heath

Position: Forward

Current Team: Arsenal (FAWSL)

Nationality: USA

Alanna Kennedy

Position: Defender

Current Team: Manchester City (FAWSL)

Nationality: AUS

 


2023 Draft Picks:

2023 College Draft

Racing’s natural placement in each draft round will depend on their standings at the end of the season.

  • 1st Round
    • Racing’s natural position TBD
  • 2nd Round
    • Racing’s natural position TBD
  • 3rd Round
    • Racing’s natural position TBD
    • Chicago’s natural position TBD (obtained via Nagasato trade)
  • 4th Round
    • Racing’s natural position TBD

 


Updates:

  • Jan 11, 2022: Yuki Nagasato moved from Current Roster to Departure after trade back to Chicago Red Stars; added Updates & Draft Picks sections
  • Jan 12, 2022: Added NJ/NY Gotham to Michelle Betos’ current team; added free international slot under current roster

Author

Bekki Morgan

Covering Racing Louisville and the NWSL. Find me on Twitter @bekki_morgan.