Rebooting after crucial losses: Where do the Red Stars stand after the draft?

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – JANUARY 12: Head coach Chris Petrucelli of the Chicago Red Stars looks on during the 2023 NWSL Draft at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on January 12, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

It is difficult to find another club around the NWSL at the moment that is going through more issues than the Chicago Red Stars. 

With the 2023 NWSL Draft now in the rearview mirror and two months left until the season begins, it is time to reflect on the state of each club. Chris Petrucelli and the Chicago Red Stars have a large task ahead of them this upcoming season with the departure of their three top-class midfielders.

Uncertainty had surrounded Chicago’s offseason, and it will no doubt follow it through the start of the season. From a former head coach being permanently banned from the league after allegations of abuse to majority owner Arnim Whisler selling his stake in the club, the Red Stars are a clean slate waiting for someone to take the reins. Having no majority owner leaves the future of this club in question, but with the market it is in, there should be plenty of potential buyers interested in investing in one of the most successful clubs the NWSL has seen.

Not only did the club have drama engulf it in the front office, but many of its core players turned their eyes to new opportunities elsewhere. Chicago lost Danielle Colaprico to the San Diego Wave, and Vanessa DiBernardo and Morgan Gautrat to the Kansas City Current, Chicago saw Sarah Woldmoe move into retirement, Sarah Luebbert take her talents to Mexico, and assistant coach Morinao Imaizumi depart the club at the beginning of November.

A lot of the Red Stars’ offense relied on the quality on and off the ball of Mallory Swanson, but for this club to make its eighth straight appearance in the NWSL postseason, much of that weight needs to be lifted off of her shoulders. Swanson was involved in 17 of the club’s 34 goals during the regular season.

Losing two players that controlled the middle of the park with confidence on a regular basis could damage Swanson’s numbers this upcoming campaign. Just a few days before the draft, Chicago promoted former player and associate general manager Michelle Lomnicki to the general manager of the Red Stars. 

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