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NWSL season kicks off with three games on TSN

Christine Sinclair Thorns Christine Sinclair - Portland Thorns

The 2024 National Women's Soccer League season kicks off this weekend with three matches on TSN that will see the debut of Jessie Fleming with the Portland Thorns, Maria Sanchez and the Houston Dash taking on Ashley Sanchez and the North Carolina Courage and an all-Cascadia matchup between the Seattle Reign and Washington Spirit.

Kansas City Current (0-0-0) vs. Portland Thorns (0-0-0), Saturday at 1pm ET/10am PT on TSN4 - The Thorns made one of the biggest splashes this offseason with the acquisition of new Canada captain Jessie Fleming from Women's Super League giants Chelsea in a record £250,000 move. Fleming adds to a Canadian contingent at the team with Janine Beckie, making her return after missing the entire 2023 season with an ACL tear, and the iconic Christine Sinclair, who is back for a 12th NWSL season. There's Canadian content on the other side of the pitch with the current, as well, with veteran midfielder Desiree Scott of Winnipeg, back for a fourth season with the team. Ajax, Ont.'s Nichelle Prince is also on the team, but the 29-year--old forward is unlikely to feature, having picked up a calf injury on international duty at the Gold Cup. Sweden defender Hannah Glas and defender Mallory Weber also also set to miss out with injury. The Current are now led by former USWNT boss Vlatko Andonovski, who is back in Kansas City for a second stint. Andonovski previously coached FC Kansas City, the city's first NWSL team, from 2013 to 2017 and won two championships. The Thorns have won six of nine meetings with the Current and are 8-1-1 all-time in opening day matchups.


North Carolina Courage (0-0-0) vs. Houston Dash (0-0-0), Saturday at 7pm ET/4pm PT on TSN+ - The Courage begin their season still down one of the league's best players in the reigning NWSL Most Valuable Player, Kerolin. The Brazil forward is still recuperating from a torn ACL in last fall's playoffs. In 19 regular-season games in 2023, Kerolin had 10 goals, second-most in the league, and three assists. The Courage also has some Canadian flavour in the form of Newmarket, Ont. midfielder Victoria Pickett and left-back Bianca St-Georges, who signed a two-year deal with the team in the offseason following five seasons with the Chicago Red Stars. Canada defender Sydney Collins will not feature, however, still recuperating from the broken ankle that kept her out of the Gold Cup. On the other side of the pitch, it's another fresh start for the Dash, who've only made the playoffs once in the past 10 seasons. At the helm of the team now is Spaniard Fran Alonso, who previously worked under Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman at Southampton, and just completed a three-year stint as manager of Celtic. Buoying the Dash's hopes this season is a new deal for Mexico forward Maria Sanchez, who signed the most lucrative contract in NWSL history that could see her earn $1.5 million over four seasons. The deal surpasses that of Trinity Rodman, who previously signed a four-year, $1.1 million pact with the Washington Spirit. The Dash features a trio of Canadian players in veterans Sophie Schmidt and Allysha Chapman, as well as former Pitt star forward Amanda West. The Burlington, Ont. native was taken in the third round of the 2024 NWSL Draft.


Seattle Reign (0-0-0) vs. Washington Spirit (0-0-0), Sunday at 6pm ET/3pm PT on TSN+ - Last season ended in heartbreak for the Seattle Reign, falling 2-1 to NJ/NY Gotham in the NWSL Championship. The match began ominously for the team with retiring club legend Megan Rapinoe needing to be subbed out of her final match just three minutes in, having torn her Achilles. The Reign will look to bounce back in 2024 and you'll notice the team is once again the Seattle Reign. While the club remains owned by the OL Groupe, the group that owns both the men's and women's Lyon teams, the decision was made to revert to the franchise's original name used in its first six campaigns. Not only is the name different in 2024, the roster is, too. Gone along with Rapinoe are star midfielders Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett, who left for Gotham in free agency. In their stead, though, comes South Korean star Ji So-yun, who spent the past two seasons with Suwon FC after nine with Chelsea. At the Blues, Ji won six Super League titles and four FA Cups, emerging as one of the most creative attacking talents in England. Ji joins a Reign team featuring stalwart Canada midfielder Quinn, set for their fifth season at the club, and Chilliwack, BC's Jordyn Huitema, back for a third season following a transfer from Paris Saint-Germain. The Spirit are looking to turn the page on an uninspiring eighth-place finish in 2023 and will still be in flux as the season begins. Gone are star midfielder Ashley Sanchez (Courage) and defender Sam Staab (Red Stars), both dealt at January's draft, and nine other players from last season's roster. New head coach, 32-year-old wunderkind Jonatan Giraldez, won't arrive until June, set to fulfill his remaining obligations with Barcelona and see out the year. The hiring of Giraldez is a major coup. Giraldez has led Barca to back-to-back league titles and the 2023 Champions League crown and immediately lends credibility to the franchise. Adrian Gonzalez will serve as interim manager until he arrives. The Spirit will be without the services of superstar Trinity Rodman on Sunday who will serve the final match of a red-card suspension. The team's lone Canadian is Quebec City's Gabrielle Carle.