Naperville natives Casey Krueger and Kayla Sharples leave the Chicago Red Stars

Casey Krueger and Kayla Sharples leave the Chicago Red Stars
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Naperville natives Casey Krueger and Kayla Sharples, who both spent the majority of their careers with the hometown Chicago Red Stars, have each signed with other teams in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Two Naperville area defenders on the move

Krueger, a Naperville Central graduate, signed a three-year deal with the Washington Spirit. After originally signing with the Red Stars in 2016, Krueger has been one of the top defenders in the game when healthy, earning at bronze medal as a member of the 2021 Olympic team. The former All State soccer player and state champion sprinter was drafted into the NWSL out of Florida State in 2013.

Sharples, who was a member of the 2012 Naperville North state championship team, signed a two-year day with Bay FC in late December, a new team in the NWSL which will make its debut in 2024. The former Huskie soccer and basketball star spent her entire five-year career in Chicago after being drafted after an All-American career at Northwestern in 2019.

Red Stars shake up the roster in recent seasons

The exits from Sharples and Krueger continues the multi-year trend of Naperville area players leaving the Chicago Red Stars. Waubonsie Valley legend Vanessa DiBernardo signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Current last winter. Former Neuqua Valley star Zoey Goralski retired from professional soccer after a long career with the Red Stars following the 2021 season.

The only local athlete still playing with the Red Stars is former Waubonsie Valley forward Sarah Griffith, who was drafted by the team in 2022 following a record breaking career at Purdue.

The Red Stars did make a major move for their future by signing star forward Mallory Swanson to a five-year contract. Swanson is now the highest paid player in NWSL history.