Why did Gotham FC sign Ann-Katrin Berger?

  • Ann-Katrin Berger was recently signed by Gotham FC
  • Why did the team sign the German goalkeeper?
Ann-Katrin Berger of Gotham FC
Ann-Katrin Berger of Gotham FC / Visionhaus/GettyImages

The start of the 2024 season for NJ/NY Gotham FC has not gone the way everyone thought it would. It has been average, for the team is 1-2-1 with four points. There are multiple injuries, but the roster is still strong where they should be scoring more and playing better.

So, when Gotham announced a new signing last week, it was a little surprising. Many thought the Bats were done with any moves before this summer. If anything, a trade for an attacker to act as depth would have made sense after Midge Purce's ACL injury.

Instead, Gotham FC announced the addition of goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger from Chelsea F.C. Women. The 33-year-old has signed through the 2024 season with an option for 2025. This led to the club parting ways with season-ending injury replacement player Erin McKinney.

Gotham FC's move for Ann-Katrin Berger is an interesting one

Berger is a talented player who has a few German National Team caps to her name. She has played for top teams like Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and has experience playing with top sides. She was not always a starter though, for some years she had limited playing time. This included this past season with Chelsea. Still, she made 114 appearances with her former team.

At first, some might think the move makes sense. Abby Smith is currently on the season-ending injury list after she was hurt in August's San Diego Wave match in California. It was declared a lower leg injury, and the club has not ruled out her return in 2024. At the same time, the club has been quiet on Smith's injury.

Therefore, was Berger signed because Smith will not be available this season? It would be nice for Gotham to clarify this.

This then leads to the next question: was Berger signed to be the starting goalkeeper? Cassie Miller, who came in via a trade after the Mandy Haught trade, has done well between the sticks. Everyone assumes Smith will retake her job once she is healthy and 100%, so Miller is the perfect player for the job right now.

That is not to say Berger would not do well. In fact, she probably would do very well with Gotham FC. But why would the Bats have both her and Miller on the roster? Of course, there is always the possibility they will compete for the starting role. Competition is healthy for players since it forces them to work hard and improve their craft to take a spot and keep it.

The reason behind the logistics of Berger's signing remains a mystery and makes the move an interesting one. What does make sense is that Gotham FC signed a talented goalkeeper who had some stellar moments with Chelsea. Whether she starts is to be determined.