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10 African NWSL Players You Should Watch This Season

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Men dominate soccer, a phenomenon you’ve likely witnessed. But, the National the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is increasingly attracting talent from around the world. African players have been in the league for a while now but the recent influx suggests the quality, teams get from these stars. 

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The performance of African teams at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has redirected attention to the continent. In this article, we’ll tell you more about African NWSL players.

 

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Asisat Oshoala

The reigning CAF Female Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala left Spanish side Barcelona Femeni after five years to join Bay FC. She arrived in the NWSL with an excellent record having scored 117 goals, winning all major trophies in Spain and the Europe, the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Bay FC is a new expansion side in the league and having an experienced striker like Oshoala is key. The club reportedly paid $162,000 for the Nigerian.

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Barbara Banda

Zambia super striker Barbara Banda joined Orlando Pride after three years in the Chinese Women’s Super League. Banda is a proven goal scorer and recently netted two to seal Zambia’s qualification to the Paris 2024 Olympics. Orlando paid $760,000 for her and penned a four-year deal that keeps her on the team until 2027. 

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Racheal Kundananji

Racheal Kundananji holds the record for the most expensive female player. Her move from Spanish side Madrid CFF to Bay FC cost $776,868. The Zambian admits that her transfer fee puts her under pressure to perform.

She scored her first goal against Houston Dash in the league, making her the first Zambian to do so in the league. It’s still early days for her so she has time to settle and deliver on her price tag.

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Linda Motlahlo

South African Linda Motlhalo is another African NSWL player. She’s in her second stint in the league, after her first with Houston Dash in 2018. During that period, she played 24 games and scored a goal. Motlahlo is a versatile winger with trickery and sleek ball movement.

She can also play centrally and this is one of the qualities that earned her a spot on the national team. The club’s general manager Ryan Dell described her as ‘a world-class talent able to create and score goals.’

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Uchenna Kanu

Uchenna is Linda Motlahlo’s teammate at Racing Louisville. She joined the team in 2023 from Mexico. She scored 23 goals in 38 games. Former head coach Kim Björkegren pointed out her great goalscoring ability and versatility as the reason for signing her. 

The Nigerian consistently features in the national team and was part of the 2023 squad that qualified for the round of 16 in the World Cup. 

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Michelle Alozie

10 African NWSL Players You Should Watch This Season
North Carolina Courage vs Houston Dash, NWSL season opener in Cary, North Carolina. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-4.0

Michelle Alozie has been part of the Houston Dash since 2021. She joined as a trialist and later signed a full contract, which was extended in 2022. Alozie has played over 30 games for Dash and is one of the team’s most recognizable players. She came into the spotlight at the World Cup after English player Lauren James stepped on her.

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Estelle Johnson

10 African NWSL Players You Should Watch This Season
Estelle Johnson playing for the North Carolina Courage. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-2.0

Estelle Johnson is another African NSWL player. She features for the North Carolina Courage and has played for other NWSL teams like the Washington Spirit and Gotham FC. The Cameroonian defender joined the team as a free agent on a two-year deal that runs to the end of the 2024 season.

The player has been part of the Indomitable Lionesses who have recently failed to qualify for international competitions.

Temwa Chawinga

Temwa Chawinga in an NWSL game. Video Credit: KC Current

Before she arrived at the NWSL, Temwa Chawinga had been performing brilliantly in the Swedish and Chinese leagues. During her two years in Sweden, the Malawian scored 55 goals in 57 games, and 83 goals in 84 games in China.

In 2023, she was the highest-scoring female footballer in the world with 63 goals in all competitions for her former team Wuhan Jiangda. This is the reason why the Kansas City Current bought her and tied her to a two-year contract.

Ifeoma Onumonu

Ifeoma Onumonu’s in the NWSL. Video Credit: National Women’s Soccer League

Although Ifeoma was born in the United States, she’s been part of the Nigerian national team since 2021. Her NWSL career began in 2017 with Boston Breakers after which she played for:

  • Portland Thorns
  • Reign FC
  • NJ/NY Gotham FC
  • Utah Royals FC

Ifeoma won the NWSL Championship in 2023 with her immediate former club Gotham FC.

Princess Marfo

African players in the NWSL. Video Credit: Our African Football

Princess Marfo is amongst the African players in Bay FC. The 20-year-old’s career is just getting started and she’s surrounded by experienced players with from a similar background to hers. This should help her settle down and develop her game.

These are the African NWSL players that are currently in the league. It’s a good representation of the continent and shows a lot of talent and potential. Who are you excited to watch?

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