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10 New Internationals to Watch This Season

April 12, 2024, by NWSL Editor | Courtesy of www.nwslsoccer.com



Since its inaugural year, the NWSL has attracted some of the biggest names in international soccer—Marta, Christine Sinclair, Amandine Henry, Yuki Nagasato, Sam Kerr, and Kim Little, just to name a few. In 2024, its legacy of being a hub for international players has continued, attracting fresh faces eager to make their mark and seasoned veterans looking for a challenge. Here are some of the newest international players to call the NWSL home. 



Asisat Oshoala (Bay FC/Nigeria): Joining Bay FC from Spanish supergiant FC Barcelona, Asisat Oshoala is one of the biggest names on the Bay Area club’s inaugural roster, and one of the most decorated African women’s soccer players. Oshoala’s ability to score seemingly effortless goals while also setting her teammates up for scoring and fighting for balls in the air and on the ground makes her a threat in every capacity. With 85 goals for Barcelona in 101 appearances, her new San Jose-based club will be looking to replicate those results for their gains. Bay FC fan or not, she’s a player to watch this season for anyone who enjoys big goals and fun cellys.



Bia Zaneratto (Kansas City Current/Brazil): Longtime US-based fans and appreciators of Seleção have enjoyed watching many of Brazil’s greatest players play in the NWSL and in January, responded to the announcement that Bia Zaneratto was signing with Kansas City with glee. And since her debut, Bia has scored two goals and assisted a third, putting her firmly in competition for the coveted Golden Boot. Besides scoring goals, Bia’s infectious joy of the game and her high soccer IQ have made her a fan favorite this season and easily one of the players to watch for jogo bonito enthusiasts.



Felicitas Rauch (North Carolina Courage/Germany): If you look in the Dictionary under the word “underrated,” you’ll find a picture of Felicitas “Feli” Rauch. Hailing from Hannoversch Münden, Germany, Rauch joined the Courage in 2024 from German powerhouse VfL Wolfsburg. After reaching the UWCL Championship with Wolfsburg in 2023 and ending the 2022-2023 Frauen-Bundesliga season in second, it speaks to Sean Nahas’ vision that Rauch would leave the German club at the height of its competitiveness to join him in North Carolina. She’s played a pivotal role in said vision, having already scored her first NWSL goal and providing necessary support on the backline to give them two wins this season.



Temwa Chawinga (Kansas City Current/Malawi): Temwa Chawinga has emerged as one of the most compelling players to watch in the NWSL this season, having joined the Kansas City Current from a goal scoring feast with Chinese professional club Wuhan Jianghan University FC. The first Malawian NWSL player, Chawinga brings a unique blend of skill, versatility, and raw talent to an already incredibly stacked Kansas City squad. Those talents have already paid off for the Current, and is one of the many reasons why they have a firm grasp on the top of the table. With 83 goals in 84 appearances for Wuhan JHUN FC and before that, 55 goals in 57 appearances for Swedish professional club Kvarnsvedens IK, she’s a player to watch for NWSL fans who like seeing that little ball go in the back of the net.



Ji So-Yun (Seattle Reign FC/S. Korea): Ji So-Yun was a legend long before she signed with Reign FC. At just 15 years old, she became the youngest goal scorer for South Korea after scoring a brace against Chinese Taipei in the 2006 Asian Games and to date, is her country’s most capped player (156 appearances) and has also scored the most goals (76 goals). For Chelsea FC, a club she called home for eight years, she won six league titles, four FA Cups, two league cups, and one Community Shield. For Reign FC, Ji has emerged as a linchpin in the team's midfield, driving them forward with her creativity and vision. However, it's her uncanny ability to influence the flow of the game and turn the tide in her team's favor that truly makes her a standout presence on the field, and one to watch this season.



Barbra Banda (Orlando Pride/Zambia): The pride of Zambia is headed to play for the Pride of Orlando. Barbra Banda most recently scored a brace against Morocco to send her national team to their second ever Olympics appearance, after having captained the squad in their first ever appearance in 2021 where she became the first woman footballer in Olympic history to score back-to-back hat tricks. Banda has yet to debut for Orlando but she’s one many across the world are watching as she heads into a huge summer for club and country.



Deyna Castellanos (Bay FC/Venezuela): Another Bay FC international to watch who has already been an exciting player this season, the Venezuelan sensation and Florida State alumna Deyna Castellanos, nicknamed “Reina Deyna,” joined the expansion team from FA Women’s Super League club Manchester City. Playing possession-style football, something head coach Albertin Montoya is well-known for in Northern California’s club soccer scene, is one of the many things she brings to her new squad’s midfield and so far, it’s panned out, connecting Bay FC’s advancing fullbacks to their dynamic goal scorers. If you weren’t already paying attention to her when she was bringing attention to Venezuelan women’s soccer or when she was the youngest player to make FIFA’s Best list in 2017, she’ll be one you’ll want to start watching. 



Hanna Lundkvist (San Diego Wave/Sweden): Hanna Lundkvist is a young Swede many NWSL fans are quickly becoming familiar with as she continues to make her mark on San Diego Wave FC’s backline, a backline that recently held Seattle Reign FC to a clean sheet. A dependable and consistent defender with an accurate foot, she perfected her passing with Liga F club Atlético Madrid before heading to the sunny beaches of San Diego. She’s transitioned seamlessly into the NWSL and has proven to be a dynamic player to watch as the Wave make a run at defending their Shield and maybe, go all the way.



Racheal Kundananji (Bay FC/Zambia): Bay FC made history when they announced the transfer of the Zambian international from Liga F club Madrid CFF for a record £625,000, drawing international attention to themselves and the league. Injury caused a slight hiccup in her timeline with the San Jose-based expansion team, but Kundananji finally made her debut for Bay FC at their inaugural home opener, netting herself a goal and forever endearing herself to Bay Area fans in the process.



Jessie Fleming (Portland Thorns FC/Canada): Amidst a roster bursting with Canadian talent, Fleming, the esteemed captain of Canada’s national team, is a pure playmaker and one many fans far and wide were excited to see join the Rose City-based club. Thorns FC fans especially were excited to see her join their midfield, as the club spent the offseason looking for the connecting pieces between their experienced defense and dynamic forwards. The Thorns still have yet to taste victory but as they figure out chemistry and start to put away more chances, Fleming will surely be a pivotal piece. And just as certain: this young Canadian is sure to have a long and illustrious career like her predecessor and Thorns FC teammate, Christine Sinclair.


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