USWNT stars Tobin Heath and Christen Press have left Manchester United after just a single season in the WSL, with the pair now expected to re-join clubs back home in the NWSL.
The WSL provided an opportunity for a number of USWNT players to get game time during the 2020/21 campaign because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on the NWSL, forcing the 2020 regular season to be cancelled and replaced by two mini tournaments months apart.
Not only did Heath and Press move to England in 2020, so too did fellow World Cup winners Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan. Morgan left Tottenham within a few months, while Mewis and Lavelle departed Manchester City at the end of the season.
The exits of Heath and Press from United have been widely expected since then, but it is only now that there has been an element of confirmation regarding their respective immediate futures.
United are yet to make any such announcement, with Jess Sigsworth and Jane Ross the only confirmed departures since the end of the season in May. But when Heath and Press were named in the United States squad for the Olympics in Japan they were both listed as ‘unattached’.
U.S. Soccer no longer consider them to be United players and it is a sure-fire sign that neither will be returning to Manchester for the 2021/22 campaign.
Their departures after only one season are a great shame, not least because England’s coronavirus restrictions ensured that United’s home stadium remained closed throughout and fans never had the opportunity to see two world class superstars up close and in the flesh.
It could be a summer of significant changes for United. Following Casey Stoney’s shock resignation as manager in May, the club finds itself at a critical moment and with a number of players leaving – there remain strong rumours about Lauren James joining Chelsea – new signings are vital.