Racing Louisville FC will enter 2021 as the newest club for the National Women's Soccer League, and the club's expansion draft is right around the corner. But Louisville has made some additions to its roster ahead of that draft, the latest coming this week as the team signed forward and Jamaican international Cheyna Matthews off waivers.
The team had already begin taking steps to build out its roster, engaging in a trade with Chicago Red Stars that brought the arrival of forwards Savannah McCaskill and Japanese international Yuki Nagasato. Louisville also received an international spot in 2021 and 2022, along with the No. 5 pick in the 2021 NWSL college draft to complete the trade with Chicago in exchange for full roster protection for the Red Stars in the upcoming expansion draft. The addition of Matthews, meanwhile, will be another component for Louisville in the attack.
"She's an exciting, fast, goal-scoring forward with a good reputation across the league," Racing Louisville FC coach Christy Holly said. "She can play in any position across the forward line, so her flexibility brings huge value to the team. Cheyna is the type of player we're looking to recruit. Having spoken to her previous coaches and teammates, she commands a lot of respect."
Matthews was placed on waivers by Washington Spirit, who selected Matthews seventh overall out of Florida State in the 2016 NWSL College Draft. She became available to Racing Louisville late last week as NWSL released its Re-Entry Wire as part of the End of Season Process. The move is a welcomed one for Matthews who is currently expecting her second child and will join the club after pregnancy.
"All along, I've had every expectation of coming back to play in 2021," Matthews said. "I've had really positive talks with my national team coach in Jamaica about next year, and I'm looking forward to having a new environment in Louisville.
"I've been very active. I feel better this time around than the last time. I don't know if that means I'll get back sooner. Whenever I'm feeling well enough to train, that's when I want to be there and start building with the team."
The upcoming expansion draft will take place Nov. 12, and Louisville will have the opportunity to select up to 18 players across the remaining eight NWSL clubs. Current clubs will be allowed to protect 11 players, with a maximum of two U.S. allocated players allowed to be protected, and any remaining must be left unprotected. All protected lists are due to the league on Nov. 4, with an expected public release on Nov. 5.