31 players from NWSL to play in Australia

The Westfield W-League starts up on Friday, October 27th and they will be seeing an influx of NWSL players spending their winter Down Under.

31 players from NWSL to play in Australia
W-League season launch event in Sydney on Monday. | Photo: Australian Associated Press

With the NWSL season coming to an end many players head back home for some much needed rest, while others head to Europe for a shot to play, but many head to the land down under and join teams for the Westfield W-League season.

The W-League is entering its 10th year and will see thirty-one players from the NWSL join teams all over the country. Among those joining the league are NWSL Player of the Year and current Australian National Team member Sam Kerr of Sky Blue FC, as well as, NWSL Rookie of the Year Ashley Hatch of the North Carolina Courage.

The Seattle Reign have the most players heading to Australia with eight, followed by the Portland Thorns with five. The only NWSL team not sending at least one player is the Houston Dash.

Below are the teams in the W-League that currently have signed NWSL players for the 2017-18 season.

Adelaide United

Adelaid United will have three NWSL players joining them this season. The Chicago Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico and defender Katie Naughton will be joining North Carolina Courage forward Makenzy Doniak on the team.

Brisbane Roar

The Brisbane Roar have two Thorns joining them for the 2017-18 season in midfielder Celeste Boureille, and Australian forward Hayley Raso. This will be the second season that Boureille and Raso have headed to the W-League since joining the Thorns. Last season they played with the Canberra United. Also joining them is Reign defender Carson Pickett.

Canberra United

The defending W-League champions will have three NWSL players joining them this season. Seattle Reign goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer will make her return to the W-League after a two year absence. Previously she played for the Brisbane Roar, but will now be making her winter home in the Australian capital. Joining her from the Portland Thorns is Australian forward Ashleigh Sykes as well as defender Toni Pressley from the Orlando Pride.

Melbourne City FC

Melbourne City FC has the largest amount of players coming in on loan from the NWSL with eight, five of the eight are coming from Seattle.  A duo of Australian international defenders from the Orlando Pride will be suiting up in Steph Catley and Alanna Kennedy. Joining her fellow national team teammates is Seattle Reign goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Williams was named Goalkeeper of the Year for the W-League last season. Also joining Williams from the Reign is defender Lauren Barnes, Welsh midfielder Jessica Fishlock, and Australian forward Larissa Crummer. Rounding out the signing is NWSL Rookie of the Year Ashley Hatch from the Courage.

Melbourne Victory

The Melbourne Victory have three players from the NWSL. Boston Breakers English striker Natasha Dowie ​will be joined by FC Kansas City defender Christina Gibbons and Reign defender Kristen McNabb.

Newcastle Jets

The Newcastle Jets have four players joining from the NWSL. Breakers forward Katie Stengel will be heading back to Australia. Last year she was the top scorer for the Western Sydney Wanderers FC and is hoping to make an impact for Newcastle. Joining her is Thorns goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom, Chicago Red Stars defender Arin Gilliland, and Washington Spirit midfielder Tori Huster.

Perth Glory

The Perth Glory will have five players joining them from the NWSL, including the league’s Player of the Year Sam Kerr. Joining Kerr from Sky Blue FC is midfielder Nikki Stanton and Costa Rican midfielder Raquel Rodriguez. This will be the third season that Stanton will be joining the Glory. Also joining the Sky Blue contingent is Breakers defender Amanda Frisbie and Pride forward Rachel Hill.

Sam Kerr after the 2017 Grand Final (Photo: David Woodley/Action Plus via Getty Images)
Sam Kerr after the 2017 Grand Final. | Photo: David Woodley - Action Plus via Getty Images

Sydney FC

Joining Sydney FC is Thorns defender Emily Sonnett. Sonnett, the 1st pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft, started all 24 matches for the Thorns and was a defensive stalwart throughout the season which included winning the NWSL Championship.

Western Sydney Wanderers FC

Joining the Western Sydney Wanderers FC is FC Kansas City midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta. LaBonta signed with Kansas City in May of 2016 and has worked her way into a regular starting position with the team ever since.