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ATLANTA, GEORGIA—The dream of Chicago Red Stars for another National Women’s Soccer League championship run in 2022 got a much-needed boost.
Red Stars legendary player Yuki Nagasato has returned to play again for the team.
The Red Stars has acquired Nagasato in a trade with Racing Louisville FC.
To get the fan-favorite Nagasato, the Red Stars sent their 2023 natural third-round pick, as well as a 2022 and 2023 international roster slot to Racing Louisville.
With Nagasato back on its roster, the Red Stars is expected to perform well again in the NWSL.
Nagasato’s previous experience with the Red Stars includes 58 appearances, with 13 goals and 18 assists. Before joining the National Women’s Soccer League, Nagasato played with NTV Beleza in her home country of Japan, Chelsea FC in England, and FFC Turbine Potsdam, VfL Wolfsburg, and FFC Frankfurt in Germany.
The NWSL 2021 championship was a huge hit among American television viewers.
Viewership for the NWSL championship match increased 216% over the 2019 finale.
The Washington Spirit’s 2-1 win over the Chicago Red Stars in Louisville, Kentucky, averaged 525,000 viewers on CBS, the NWSL said, after the majority of the regular season was broadcast on the Paramount+ streaming service.
It was the league’s most-watched championship match, marking a significant increase in audience over 2019’s game, which was broadcast on ESPN.
The championship returned this season after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NWSL to suspend its typical schedule in 2020 in favor of a one-off “Challenge Cup” tournament.
Our very own women soccer star Kelley O’Hara helped the Spirit win the NWSL crown this year on November 20 at the Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky.
O’Hara scored in the 97th minute to carry her team to victory against the Stars.
The goal is special for O’Hara since it is her first goal of the season.
Her game-winning back-post header came off a pass from Trinity Rodman, the NWSL Rookie of the Year.
O’Hara said winning the championship is “the best feeling ever”.
“I can’t describe it, because of everything we’ve been through, and the fact that we’re ending it as NWSL champions is pretty crazy and very special,” O’Hara said.
“I’m proud of this team. People have no idea what we’ve all gone through, and the resiliency and the perseverance of every single player on this team are pretty incredible,” O’Hara added.
O’Hara is coming off a successful Olympics where she featured in five of the six matches en route to her second Olympic medal.
For the Spirit in 2021, O’Hara has featured in eight games, starting six of those and totaling 562 minutes.
O’Hara is also a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist.
She previously played professionally for FC Gold Pride, Boston Breakers, Sky Blue FC, and Utah Royals FC.

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