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What's Next For Chicago Red Stars Mallory Swanson after signing a Record-Breaking Deal?

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Whenever one gets a lucrative contract in sports it comes with many opinions from media members, whether positive or negative as expectations elevate for the player who received the contract.

Last week big news came out from the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) as U.S. Women’s National Team star Mallory Swanson was given a record-breaking $2 million contract by the Chicago Red Stars.

The contract allows Swanson a fifth-year player option and will keep her with the Red Stars until 2028. Her deal to sign a four-year deal with a fifth-year player option is a newly incorporated league policy due to a new media rights deal that allows the league to increase its salary cap by 40%, according to ESPN.

Swanson will be estimated to make $400,000 per year throughout the contract. Swanson’s deal tops the previous record deal of Houston Dash winger Maria Sanchez who last month signed a three-year deal with a fourth-year player option worth up to $1.5 million.

This is a big step forward in the right direction for the NWSL for a league whose players have been severely underpaid and has dealt with its “Dark Days” of allegations, misconduct, and abuse of past coaches toward its players from people in charge that resulted in four coaches getting fired just last year.

With all that being said, how does Swanson help the Red Stars?

Swanson, 25, helps bring scoring to a Red Stars team that was last amongst the 12 teams in the NWSL standings last season finishing with a (7-12-3) record in 22 games.

She has led the Red Stars in goals scored (18) and assists (10) in her 51 appearances in 47 starts across all competitions with the club.

Swanson also brings added experience and a winning pedigree outside of the NWSL as a member of the international level of the USWNT having won a World Cup in 2019 representing America, joining the team at the ripe age of 17.

Across her 88 USWNT appearances, she has scored 32 goals to go along with 27 assists.

Swanson expressed her gratitude toward the organization after signing the deal: 

“I am excited to be back with the Red Stars! These last few years have been such a blessing in Chicago, even with the ups and downs, and I can't wait to be back, I am looking forward to getting to work and helping the team win championships. See everyone soon!"

Red Stars president Karen Leetzow also expressed her excitement as well:

"The Red Stars could not be more excited that Mallory Swanson has decided to extend her career with us here in Chicago.”

Now there are questions on how Swanson can continue to perform at an elite level long-term after suffering a nasty knee injury in April that unfortunately ended her season. However, she did end 2023 as the USWNT leading scorer with seven goals in six appearances which should be a positive sign of her recovery.

She’ll now be the highest-paid player in the NWSL where she’ll be re-joining other young difference-makers such as American forward Ella Stevens and Brazilian midfielder Julia Bianchi to name a few to help turn around the franchise that had the worst record in the league last season.

The NWSL season is set to start on March 16.


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