Racing Louisville FC will be the first side formed via expansion since the Pride entered the league in 2016. While the club invested heavily into facilities and player quality of life, controversial expansion selections leave the team with only 14 contracted players one week away from kickoff.
Decisions to select the playing rights to Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Alanna Kennedy, and Caitlin Foord meant that the club could not select up to six veteran players to contribute right away.
In particular, Angela Salem and Carson Pickett are starting-caliber NWSL athletes that became missed opportunities. Inexplicably, the club has yet to report contract signings for 2021 draftees who are currently in camp, including borderline USWNT player Emily Fox, local hero Emina Ekic, and former UNC standout Taylor Otto. It is unclear why these players have yet to sign contracts and if these players will be available for selection on April 10th if not under contract.
Players not under contract can walk out the door at any time to field offers abroad. The club was later involved in another controversy when head coach Christy Holly, who arrived with mixed reviews from his time at Sky Blue, was linked to a federal case involving fraudulent visas several years ago. Although a rocky start is not out of the ordinary for women’s professional soccer in the United States, Louisville has faced numerous challenges from the start including a name change.
However, with World Cup-winning veteran Yuki Nagasato and young upcoming playmakers Lauren Milliet and Savannah McCaskill, this side may surprise teams in 2021. With the strong investment into the culture and infrastructure of the team and an already dedicated fan base, Racing Louisville FC has the potential to grow into a league force in the years to come.
by Tim Antoniewicz