The Chicago Red Stars have signed U.S. team forward Mallory Swanson to a historic four-year contract with an option for a fifth year, a record for the National Women’s Soccer League.
Financial terms of the deal announced Tuesday were not made public, although the team called it the “most lucrative agreement” in league history. CBS Sports reported it was worth some $400,000 per year for nearly $2 million over the length of the contract.
Swanson, who was a free agent this season, has been with the Red Stars since 2021. She has scored 18 goals with 10 assists in 51 games with the team.
“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,” Swanson said in a statement. “I am looking forward to getting to work and helping the team win championships.”
Swanson, 25, was one of the United States’ strongest players in early 2023, but her year was cut short when she injured a tendon in her left knee during an exhibition match against Ireland in April.
Heading into the match, Swanson was the national team’s leading scorer with seven goals and a six-game scoring streak, tied for fourth-longest in team history. Overall she has 32 goals and 27 assists in 88 appearances for the United States.
The injury required surgery and Swanson was not able to play for the U.S. last summer at the Women’s World Cup. She worked out with the Red Stars in October.
Swanson returns to a Red Stars team that looks vastly different. Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts bought the Red Stars last September and the team hired Lorne Donaldson, coach of the Jamaican national team at the World Cup. Swanson played for a youth team coached by Donaldson when she was growing up in Colorado.
The contract also keeps Swanson closer to husband Dansby Swanson, who plays for the Chicago Cubs.
“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.”
Previously the league’s most lucrative contract was the three-year, $1.5 million agreement signed by Maria Sanchez with the Houston Dash last month.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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