Carli Lloyd traded to Sky Blue FC, Samantha Kerr to Red Stars

On a day that saw 40 college seniors learn which cities they will call home as professional athletes, the National Women's Soccer League draft was overshadowed by a trade involving the relocation of veteran stars Samantha Kerr, Carli Lloyd and Christen Press.

The end result of a three-way trade that involved players and draft picks is that Sky Blue FC acquired U.S. women's national team co-captain Lloyd from the Houston Dash, the Dash acquired Press from the Chicago Red Stars, and the Red Stars acquired Kerr from Sky Blue, the Red Stars announced Friday.

Sky Blue also received forward Janine Beckie, a Canadian international, and another player to be determined from the Dash. The Dash received an international roster spot along with Press. A swap of draft picks with the Dash allowed Sky Blue to move up from No. 7 to No. 6 in the first round, while Sky Blue also received the No. 13 overall pick from the Red Stars.

The trade brings Lloyd back to her home state of New Jersey, where Sky Blue is based, for the second time as a professional. She also played one season for Sky Blue when the club was a part of Women's Professional Soccer, the league that preceded NWSL and ceased operations at the conclusion of its third season in 2011, but a broken ankle limited her to five appearances.

Allocated to the Western New York Flash when NWSL launched in 2013, she was acquired by the Dash in a trade prior to the 2015 season, the same year she earned the Golden Ball as the most outstanding player in the FIFA Women's World Cup. While she was twice named women's player of the year by FIFA while representing the Dash, the club failed to make the playoffs. She spent half of her final season with the club on loan at European power Manchester City.

Slowed by injury in the second half of 2017 for both the Dash and the U.S., the 35-year-old Lloyd was vocal in interviews and on social media in recent months about what she perceived as doubts about her ability to remain among the best in the world in advance of the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics. The return to New Jersey, where she always continued to train during the offseason, allows her to consolidate her operations where she is most comfortable and try to lead Sky Blue to its first playoff appearance since the league's inaugural season.

The Golden Boot winner as the NWSL's leading scorer in 2017, her 17 goals setting a single-season record, Kerr was the frequent subject of rumors this winter about a move. The Australian international currently plays for the Perth Glory in that country's professional league, a common second home for NWSL players. Chicago trading for Kerr, who at 24 years old is the youngest of principals in the trade, presumably means the rising star will stay in the league instead of listening to reported interest from deep-pocketed European clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain.

For the Dash, who also traded U.S. international Morgan Brian during the 2017 season, Press is a proven scorer at both the club and international level and a popular figure in women's soccer, and she allows new coach Vera Pauw to start fresh without sacrificing a world-class goal scorer. Press led the Red Stars, a playoff participant, with 11 goals a season ago and scored 35 in 60 games after returning to the U.S. from playing professionally in Sweden in 2014.

Lloyd's move was first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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