United States women's national team forward Midge Purce has signed a new contract with NJ/NY Gotham FC. The club announced the new multi-year deal on Monday which runs through 2024 with an option for 2025. The new contract is just the latest move for the franchise in a busy offseason that included the acquisition of Purce's USWNT teammate Lynn Wiliams among other trades and moves by general manager Yael Averbuch West.
"This is a proud moment for our club and supporters because Midge is a core player for us and a fan favorite," Averbuch West said in a statement. "This new contract is a reflection of Midge's faith in our vision and our belief in her. Midge will be a central part as we continue to build, and I'm confident that even greater days are ahead for her."
Purce has been with the club since January 2020 and is preparing for her fourth year with the team. The Maryland native joined the franchise ahead of their Gotham FC rebrand and has been with the team through the early days of the pandemic, player overturns, and multiple head coaches. She's also played in multiple positions while with the club, though in recent seasons she's helped lead the attacking line.
"When I came to Sky Blue, it was it was unexpected," Purce told CBS Sports. "Every year since then I've had, I think [a] new coach, just about [or] I've had a different coach every year, and now I feel a distinct difference."
One of the many offseason additions to the club is new head coach Juan Carlos Amoros. He joins Gotham FC after an interim head coach stint with Houston Dash that resulted in a quarterfinals appearance. Amoros is now tasked with helping Gotham FC return to the playoffs, and is likely to rely on a core player in Purce during his first year.
"Midge is an outstanding player with the ability to make the difference in the final third," Amoros said in a club statement. "Her long-term commitment to the club shows that she believes in the project we are building. Midge is a player I am excited to work with and to help continue to maximize her full potential."
Purce has also been a frequent feature with the USWNT under head coach Vlatko Andonovksi. She has been a part of several camps, made 23 appearances and scored three goals and contributed four assists since her debut in 2019. For the attacker, the upcoming season will be an opportunity for her to crack Andonovski's World Cup roster, and she wants to hit the ground running after a 2022 season with three goals and three assists over 16 appearances.
In her first year with the club, the entire league was affected by the global pandemic in 2020 but still held mini-tournaments in lieu of a regular season. Purce started all nine matches for Gotham FC during a season that held the inaugural Challenge Cup and a one-off Fall Series. She closed out the year with one goal and two assists.
The following year was a breakout season. Despite navigating an injury, she led Gotham FC in scoring with nine goals, finishing second in the NWSL Golden Boot race, and earned a finalist spot for NWSL MVP. She was named to the 2021 NWSL Best XI as the franchise reached the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
As she enters her seventh season in the league, her new contract means the New Jersey-New York metro area will be her home for the near future. With all the new additions and moves over the offseason, there come expectations. There is a signal of Gotham's push to return to the playoffs, but if they do it is going to be a quest that includes core players like Purce.
"I think there's a change and you can kind of feel a shift in the locker room. A shift with media, shift with the staff on the business side and on the club side. It feels like we're really pushing together to make this club the best possible club that it can be," Purce said. "The best in NWSL, the best globally, and we have a long way to go. But I'm really honored to be a part of that plan because I believe in it and I'm gonna do everything I can to be here."
The NWSL regular season kicks off on March 25 and fans can watch games on Paramount+ and CBS Sports platforms. Gotham FC will begin their season in Los Angeles on March 26.