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NWSL announces new team, USSF break; Stanford star signs for Lyon


SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 8: Catarina Macario #20 of the Stanford Cardinal during a game between UNC and Stanford Soccer W at Avaya Satdium on December 8, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

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The National Women’s Soccer League is growing again, and will do so without the United States Soccer Federation.

League commissioner Lisa Baird announced that Sacramento will add a team to the NWSL in 2022, joining Angel City FC as a new team.

[ MORE: How to watch WSL on NBC ]

But Baird also made a potentially bigger announcement, saying that U.S. Soccer is “no longer the manager of our league.”

Here’s Baird, from The Athletic:

“On behalf of my owners, we want to thank U.S. Soccer for those first 10 years, but they are no longer the manager. That is not an official relationship. We have entered a new chapter of our relationship with U.S. Soccer and I’m in continual contact with (federation CEO) Will (Wilson) and with (USWNT general manager) Kate Markgraf because we have a mutual interest in building the best women’s soccer league in the world. .... They will continue to invest in our league, and we will do so as partners going forward.”

The move marks a certain amount of independence for the NWSL and it will be very intriguing to see how it affects its attractiveness to top American players. Will more take chances abroad?

Back to Sacramento, it will give Angel City a more regional partner in California when the duo joins Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, North Carolina Courage, OL Reign (Seattle), Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns, Racing Louisville, Sky Blue FC, and Washington Spirit.

In other NWSL news, KC NWSL won’t have its long-term name for some time but it does have a new logo.

USWNT’s “next big thing” heads to France

In other women’s soccer news, Stanford’s Catarina Macario has signed with Olympique Lyon. A recent USWNT call-up, the Brazilian-born Macario has scored big wherever she’s gone. The 21-year-old scored 63 goals in 68 collegiate outings.

She will be a force for the USWNT once approved by FIFA, but for now she joins the five-time defending UEFA Women’s Champions League winners.

Macario will tangle with fellow Stanford alum Alana Cook of Paris Saint-Germain.

Follow @NicholasMendola