Did you know that USWNT players play in the National Women’s Soccer League every summer across the country?

Chicago Red Stars players on the 2019 USWNT World Cup roster: Morgan Brian, Tierna Davidson, Julie Ertz, and Alyssa Naeher

Many soccer fans only follow the USWNT during major tournament years, like the World Cup or the Olympics the following year. But women’s soccer happens every year in the many top-tier leagues around the world. Mexico has Liga MX Femenil, England has the FA Women’s Super League, Australia has the W-League, and the United States has the NWSL.

(already know all this?? scroll to the very end for free tickets!)

National Women’s Soccer League

The National Women’s Soccer League, more commonly known as the NWSL was started in 2012 and is currently comprised of 9 clubs across the U.S.

The nine NWSL clubs, clockwise from middle: Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit, North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Houston Dash, Utah Royals, Portland Thorns, and Reign FC.

Teams in the NWSL play a 24 game season from roughly April to October each year. Teams are comprised mainly of American players, with a few international players on each team as well. The NWSL is owned in part by US Soccer, which means that it’s often the preferred league for US Women’s National Team players, though some teams have more or less than others.

Players typically enter the NWSL though the College Draft in January, or through trades from other leagues. Due to the opposite schedules, there is a large amount of crossover between the NWSL and the Australian W-League which means players can play professional soccer year-round.

How do I pick a team?

Simple, you pick the Chicago Red Stars, the oldest continuously-operating club in the country. TheRed Stars are a perennial playoff contender and truly embody the grit and determination of Chicago. If you’re a Midwesterner, you really can’t go wrong supporting the Red Stars!

Our next suggestion is to…support your local team! Do you live near one of the other NWSL teams? Then that’s your team! Women’s soccer is growing every year, but the grassroots, day-to-day support that comes from local communities is integral. This guide is written by a supporters group for the Chicago Red Stars, but all NWSL teams have SGs. If you’re looking to join a group, make sure they are independent from the team’s front office and a foster a positive environment for fans. These are the officially recognized groups for each team:

Why would I want to join a supporters group?

Because SGs have the most fun! Supporters Groups are the people standing up, drumming, chanting, singing, and yelling throughout the matches. Even if you’re watching games online you can usually hear them. SGs often hold pregame parties or tailgates, watch parties for away matches, and sometimes organize trips to other states for matches. SGs are typicially independent of the team, but officially recognized. This means the team does not control the group or its actions, but they do get perks that might be special events, lower ticket prices, and permission to bring instruments, flags, signs and other things into stadiums.

Chicago Local 134 at the 2019 home opener

Does your local SG seem intimidating? We promise they aren’t really. SGs would LOVE to have you join them. Some require dues (~$20) for official members, but any of them will welcome you to stand and sing during the match even if you’re not a member. Member dues usually go toward tailgate essentials and support inside the stadium (banners, signs, flags, etc.) The people you meet in your NWSL SGs will be your fiercest, weirdest, and coolest friends!

Check out the websites and twitter feeds of your local SGs to learn where you can find them and how to get involved! If you’re coming to Chicago, here’s your guide!

I heard that the USWNT players are on these teams…

Yep – and if you don’t live near a team or have any other attachment or inclination toward one, you could pick your club based on the players there. For instance, Alex Morgan plays for Orlando, Carli Lloyd plays for Sky Blue, Megan Rapinoe plays for the Reign…but remember that supporting a soccer club is an act of love and passion. Don’t be surprised if your fave gets traded – hopefully you will forever be a fan of your chosen club!

The Chicago Red Stars currently have four USWNT players (Alyssa Naeher, Julie Ertz, Morgan Brian, and Tierna Davidson – Chicago’s #1 draft pick in 2019!); one Australian player (2-time reigning Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr); two Mexican players (Katie Johnson and Maria Sanchez), and a number of other players who have been recently called into national team camps (Danny Colaprico, Savannah McCaskill, Arin [Gilliland] Wright, Casey Short, etc.). You can do your own research to find out where your favorite players play!

How do I watch games?

If you’re in the US, you can watch games on Yahoo! Sports. If you’re an international fan, the NWSL streams games on their website for you. If you’re lucky enough to be in Chicago, you can watch all Red Stars games on NBC Sports Chicago. Often the end of the season games end up on ESPN networks, so stay plugged into NWSL news to find out more.

How can I keep up with NWSL news?

Follow the many incredible writers and reporters that cover the Red Stars!

Here are our recommended follows for league-wide news:

And for more general coverage of soccer:

Free tickets!

Want to come see the Chicago Red Stars play the North Carolina Courage on July 21st, 2019 AND welcome back the World Cup players? Click the image below and enter code LOCAL134 for two free tickets courtesy of us!

Prideraiser Bus to Chicago Red Stars vs Reign FC, Sunday June 23rd

Come support Local 134’s Chicago Red Stars 2019 Prideraiser benefiting Brave Space Alliance!

Get on the bus and head to SeatGeek Stadium to watch the Chicago Red Stars battle the Reign this Pride month. 

Included: A convenient bus ride to the pitch from Hamburger Mary’s or A.J. Hudson’s. Game tickets in Section 118 where you can sing loud and proud for the home team with their supporters group Local 134.

Optional: A tailgate featuring delicious pork, breakfast and veggie burritos!

All proceeds will go to the the 2019 Prideraiser. Consider pledging your support for this year’s campaign here. Prideraiser is a nationwide initiative for soccer supporters to raise money for LGBTQ+ charities. This year’s Prideraiser will benefit Brave Space Alliance, the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, and designed to create and provide affirming and culturally competent services for the entire LGBTQ community of Chicago.

SCHEDULE

2:30 PM 1st Stop @ Hamburger Mary’s | 5400 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
3:00 PM 2nd Stop @ A.J. Hudson’s Public House | 3801 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60613
4:00 PM Tailgate @ SeatGeek Stadium | 7000 S Harlem Ave, Bridgeview, IL 60455
5:00 PM Kickoff vs Reign FC

Please note: The bus will depart 15 minutes after the match ends. No alcohol is allowed on the bus due to Chicago City ordinance. 

Doubleheader tailgate to benefit NWSLPA

Chicago Local 134 is teaming up with Section 8 Chicago for the Fire/Red Stars doubleheader on April 20th and will take over tailgate food duties.

Proceeds from the tailgate will be donated directly to the NWSL Players Association

A $5 donation will get you access to an assortment of breakfast items before the 12:00 p.m. Fire game and the 2:30 p.m. Red Stars game that follows. There will be no official Local 134 tailgate between the two games.

“We, the players of the NWSL, vow to build on the opportunity that has been afforded to us, as well as work to achieve those goals that have not yet been attained. We honor the vision and progress of those who came before us…Pledge to work with the League and Allocated Players to advance continued improvements in women’s soccer…Commit ourselves to doing all in our power for the betterment of our members so that we may best contribute to the common goal: a world-class product on the field, and to be role models and inspire the next generation off the field.”

NWSLPA Mission Statement

Reggie’s Pub to Pitch 2019!

We have VERY exciting news! Thanks to our friends at the Red Line SG, we’re offering Pub to Pitch service for all Red Stars games in 2019! Buses will run from Reggie’s (2105 S. State St.) to SeatGeek Stadium and return to Reggie’s after the match.

The Red Line SG is currently selling season-long bus passes for all 12 regular season CRS home games. This pass is the only way to guarantee yourself a seat on the Reggie’s bus all season and lock in the $5 per game rate.

FAQ

What time will the bus leave from Reggie’s? / What time will the bus get to the stadium?

Generally the bus will leave Reggie’s about 2 hours before kick-off and leave 30 minutes after the final whistle. This will give you a chance to tailgate before the match starts.

Can I buy additional tickets for a single match?

Yes, single-game bus tickets will be available for $7 in advance, or $10 on the day of the game.

What if I don’t need 12 bus tickets?

The tickets are transferable, so you can give or sell them to someone else! It’s the first year we’re doing this for Red Stars games, so even if you can’t make all the games, consider buying the pass to show Reggie’s & other bars that there is a market for Red Stars pub to pitch service.

Draft Shirt On Sale Now for a Limited Time!

To celebrate the NWSL Draft happening in Chicago on January 10th, we’ve released a special Local 134 Draft t-shirt!

The shirts are available in our Teespring store. Profits from these shirts will fund the purchase of shirts for the newly drafted Red Stars to welcome them to our great city.

Be sure to order your shirt in time to arrive before the Draft, and don’t forget about the social events we have scheduled in January:

  • Local 134 Night B4 Party – Wednesday, January 9th – 7:30 p.m.
    • Meet up with other NWSL fans and supporters at Punch Bowl Social Chicago the night before the 2019 NWSL College Draft!
    • The party is open to everyone! This is not a formal event. We will update with specifics on where to find us closer to the night of the party.
  • Local 134 NWSL Draft & Pre-Party – Thursday, January 10th
    • The 2019 NWSL College Draft is coming to Chicago and the Red Stars have the #1 pick! Get loud and join your favorite supporters’ group for the draft at the Skyline Ballroom at McCormick Place.
    • We will be having a pre-draft breakfast party The Spoke & Bird starting at 9:00 a.m. and then heading over to the Draft.

Chicago Red Stars Announce #ChangingTheGame Partnership

From chicagoredstars.com:

CHICAGO – The Chicago Red Stars are proud to partner with the Chicago Sky of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) in an attempt at #ChangingTheGame in Chicago women’s sports.

Chicago is home to three top-level women’s sports teams featuring players who represent both their club and country. Fans can show support for Chicago women’s professional sports in the first step of the #ChangingTheGame initiative with one great deal.

For $50, fans will receive a ticket to the 2019 home openers of the Red Stars, Sky and Bandits as well as a limited-edition #ChangingTheGame t-shirt.

“The partnership that is being created between three powerful sports teams in Chicago is groundbreaking,” Red Stars owner Arnim Whisler said. “Fans are being given the opportunity to continue to grow the women’s game in three leagues through the NWSL, NPF, and WNBA with this initiative. This is just the beginning of an ongoing relationship between three aspiring organizations looking to change the game.”

Tickets will be delivered via email no later than 48 hours before each team’s home opener. Dates and times of each team’s 2019 home opener will be announced by each team in 2019. T-Shirts will be available for pick-up at the Chicago Red Stars 2019 Home Opener.

BUY #CHANGINGTHEGAME TICKET PACK

For more information, please contact: 773-697-8699 or tickets@chicagoredstars.com.

3rd Annual Benefit with Chicago Spurs

Join us on Thursday, May 24th for our 3rd Annual Benefit with Tottenham Hotspur Chicago for Connections for Abused Women and their Children. The event will take place at the Atlantic Bar & Grill from 6:30 to 9:30pm and feature games, a silent auction, and a meet and greet with Chicago Red Stars players. Past players have included Sofia Huerta, Danielle Colaprico, Alyssa Mautz, and Arin Gilliland.

This is a great event each year and we’re proud to share in the hosting with Chicago Spurs. Many Chicago Spurs members are Local 134 members as well.

Tickets are $40 for adults, $10 for kids. Limited open bar and appetizers included. We’ll see you there!