NJ/NY Gotham FC is coming off their first NWSL title, and they do not seem to be stopping here. The team has been one of the most active ones during this offseason's transfer window. Arguably, they have an even better team than in 2023. In less than a month, Gotham has signed four USWNT members who will join the team as they look to go back-to-back in 2024.
Why is this so important? A look at their player profiles says it all, with a total of eight active members of USWNT playing in the New York/New Jersey area for Gotham FC.
The new Gotham FC players from the USWNT
Now a veteran, Crystal Dunn has accomplished a lot since she turned professional in 2014. The Long Island Native is returning home to Gotham FC and will be accompanied by her long-time USWNT teammates. Dunn has made a total of 140 caps for the national team since 2013, with 24 goals in that span.
Despite failing to make the 2015 World Cup roster, she continued to be a crucial part of the team, leading her to her first appearance at the highest stage in 2019, which ended with a World Cup trophy. She made an assist while starting in six matches at the tournament in France.
Her remarkable speed and skills make her one of the best wing-backs and midfielders in the national team and the NWSL. Besides winning NWSL MVP and the Golden Boot in 2015, Dunn is also a three-time NWSL Champion, with two titles with the North Carolina Courage and one with Portland Thorns FC. With her on the field, not only will it attract more fans, but she will be a vital part of the Starting XI for Gotham, as long as she can stay fit as she enters her 11th season in professional soccer.
Gotham FC's newest dynamic midfielder has been one of the most underrated members of the USWNT as she has transformed the attack since first joining the national team in 2017. Rose Lavelle has made 92 appearances with the national team, scoring 24 goals. Plus, she has a World Cup win in 2019 and an Olympic Bronze medal from the 2020 Olympics.
She also won the bronze ball during the 2019 World Cup with her three goals, including a goal during the finals against the Netherlands. She also maintains the same success in club play, totaling eight goals and five assists along with 46 interceptions with the OL Reign since 2021. Lavelle also spent time overseas with Manchester City FC before deciding to return to the league.
Emily Sonnett has been playing for the USWNT since 2015, as she has played an important bench role for the team. She made 83 appearances for the nation while scoring two goals. The 30-year-old was only a bench player during the World Cup in 2019, making all seven appearances off the bench. Nevertheless, she still won the World Cup and a Bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics.
Also, Sonnett has become a veteran in the NWSL since she first joined the league in 2016. Despite a few stints overseas, she has won two titles with two different clubs while also winning the Damallsvenskan league in 2020 during her time with BK Häcken FF in Sweden. Since 2021, the new Gotham player has made 55 starts with the Washington Spirit and the Reign, recording an assist, while also winning the NWSL Cup with the Spirit in 2021.
Tierna Davidson is Gotham FC's newest center-back, and she is just entering the prime of her career while working her way up as one of the next generation of USWNT players. She was the youngest player on the World Cup roster in 2019, where she made two assists in seven matches off the bench. However, she has recently recovered from an ACL tear in 2022 that led former head coach Vlatko Andonvski to leave her off the World Cup roster last year.
Other than that, Davidson has been one of the most talented defenders in the league since joining in 2019. With the Chicago Red Stars, she has started 56 of the 57 matches played in all competitions, totaling a goal and an assist with 64 interceptions.
The impact of the new Gotham players
Why the USWNT’s presence will change Gotham FC’s dynamic
On paper, Gotham FC has one of the best lineups so far, with the new season set to begin in about two months. There will be eight members of the USWNT playing for the Bats this year, with some fans even calling them a “mini USWNT". Even during the international break, the core Gotham players are set to play with each other on the pitch far more than other teams, especially with the 2024 Olympics just around the corner.
Lavelle, Dunn, and Sonnett will look to bring a strong connection in the midfield to support Lynn Williams, Esther González, and Midge Purce up top. Jenna Nighswonger will continue to provide fast, lethal crosses at wing-back. Davidson is also set to partner up with Maitane López in the back line to fill in the hole for Ali Kriger, which makes them a top threat in the NWSL in 2024.
Potential Starting XI as of January
GK- Abby Smith/Michelle Betos
LB- Jenna Nighswonger
CB- Maitane López
CB- Tierna Davidson
DCM- Emily Sonnett
CAM- Rose Lavelle
CAM- Crystal Dunn
LW- Lynn Williams
ST- Esther González
RW- Midge Purce
NJ/NY Gotham FC's potential starting lineup can always change based on future moves and injuries.