Chicago Red Stars

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Chicago Red Stars
Full name Chicago Red Stars
Nickname(s) Red Stars
Founded 2006
Stadium Toyota Park
Bridgeview, IL
Ground Capacity 20,000
President/Owner Arnim Whisler
Head coach Rory Dames
League National Women's Soccer League
Website Club home page
Current season

Chicago Red Stars is an American professional soccer club based in Chicago, competing in the National Women's Soccer League, who play their home games in Toyota Park. The team was a founding member of Women's Professional Soccer, and played in the league in 2009 and 2010. After leaving the WPS in December 2010, due to financial issues, the team reorganized and joined the Women's Premier Soccer League for the 2011 season.[1] In 2012, the team competed in Women's Premier Soccer League Elite, the single year this league existed. Since 2013, the team has been competing in National Women's Soccer League.


Women's Professional Soccer (WPS)[edit]

Establishment (2006–2009)[edit]

In 2006, it was announced that Chicago would have a team in a new league being developed for women's professional soccer. It would eventually join six other teams, Washington Freedom, Boston Breakers, Los Angeles Sol, FC Gold Pride, Sky Blue FC, and Saint Louis Athletica in Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) for the league's inaugural season in 2009.[2][3]

Marcia McDermott, a former head coach of the Northwestern University women's soccer team and WUSA team Carolina Courage, was named as the Red Stars' general manager.[4]

On June 3, 2008, the "Red Stars" name was announced in a ceremony at Toyota Park. The name refers to the four six-pointed red stars on the municipal flag of Chicago. Each star represents a landmark event in Chicago history: Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire, the 1893 World’s Fair, and the 1933 World's Fair. Other names considered were Progress, Towers, Union, Blues, 1871 and Wind. [1]. "Red Stars" was chosen by popular vote in a two-month fan ballot.[5]

2009 inaugural season[edit]

The Red Stars line up for the National Anthem.

The Chicago Red Stars won their first game of the season, 1–0, at Saint Louis Athletica, and followed with two ties (1–1 at Washington Freedom and 0–0 hosting Sky Blue FC) and a 4–0 thrashing of Boston Breakers at Toyota Park. This gave the team the best starting record of any team in the league besides eventual season champions Los Angeles Sol, seeming to live up to preseason expectations based on the strong core of USWNT and international players on the Red Stars roster.

Despite their strong start, the Red Stars then went winless for their next nine games, only getting three away draws in that streak, which included a 451-minute-long scoring drought. Their opponents, the Washington Freedom scored first in the next game and it appeared the streak would continue. However, the Red Stars made WPS history by becoming the first team to successfully come from behind, to win 2–1. They also beat cellar-dwellers FC Gold Pride in their next game 3–1, but then lost four of their last five games, eliminating them from the playoffs as they ended the season in sixth place.

True to his agreement to see the Red Stars organization through its first season, Peter Wilt chose to step down as team CEO at the end of 2009, moving on to become general manager of the Milwaukee Wave, the NISL team in his hometown. General Manager, Marcia McDermott, took on many of his responsibilities at the Red Stars, although he continued to support the team as one of its representatives on the Women's Professional Soccer Board of Governors and as President of the Chicago Red Stars Charitable Foundation.[6]

2010 season[edit]

The Red Stars opened up their second season with high hopes and many new faces.[7] In their first game, the Red Stars lost 1–0 at Sky Blue FC despite dominating much of the game. A 1–1 home tie in their second game earned the Stars their first point of the 2010 season.

After a successful 2010, the team left WPS on December 13; unable to meet the league's funding requirements for the 2011 season.[8][9]

Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)[edit]

2011 season[edit]

Red Stars joined the Women's Premier Soccer League for 2011.[10][11] They played their home games at Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex[12] in west suburban Chicago.

The new roster consisted of players from the WNT U-20 and U-23 pools, as well as collegiate stars. The first players announced included three players with WPS experience, including two from the Red Stars' 2010 squad.[13] It was coached by Rory Dames, a Chicago native. Red Stars also continued their activity in the Chicago soccer community through their soccer camp programs.[14]

Red Stars finished the regular season with a 10–1 record, and hosted the playoff semifinals and championship matches.[15] While they beat Tampa Bay Hellenic 2–1 in their semifinal, they lost by the same score in the final to the Orange County Waves, another WPSL team that has past WPS connections.

Women's Premier Soccer League Elite (WPSLE)[edit]

2012 season[edit]

In 2012, Red Stars joined two other former WPS clubs, Boston Breakers and Western New York Flash, in the new WPSL Elite League. Five other former WPSL teams joined the league, including ASA Chesapeake Charge, FC Indiana, New England Mutiny, New York Fury, and Philadelphia Fever.[16]

Red Stars finished fourth in the league, making the playoffs and advanced to the final, where they lost to Flash in a 2–4 penalty shootout, after a 1–1 draw at the end of extra time. Impressively, the Red Stars also won the 2012 National Women's Cup with just half the roster, as the Cup final occurred at the same time as their final WPSL Elite regular season match against eventual third-placed New York Fury.

National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)[edit]

In November 2012, it was announced that the Red Stars would be one of eight teams in a new women's professional soccer league, then yet to be named, which would be subsidized by the United States Soccer Federation, the Canadian Soccer Association and the Mexican Football Federation.[17][18] The league started competition in Spring of 2013.

2013 season[edit]

In the inaugural season of NWSL, Red Stars started with 2 draws and 4 losses. The mid-season arrival of 2 Germans, Sonja Fuss and Inka Grings, from Europe revived the team somewhat, but not enough to qualify for the post-season playoffs. Red Stars played 22 matches with 8 wins, 8 ties and 6 losses to finish the season at sixth place in an eight team league.

2014 season[edit]

In 2014, Red Stars finished one place better than previous season, in fifth place in regular season. This season, the club was waiting for United States international Christen Press to join after completing her commitment to a European club, and the Canadian international Melissa Tancredi to gain full fitness after her education. In addition, the team signed 2 other internationals, Abby Erceg and Emily van Egmond in May. Despite the late arrival of international stars, at the end of May the team had 6 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses; a competitive team performance enabled by rookies Julie Johnston, Vanessa DiBernardo, Hayley Brock, young players Jen Hoy, Rachel Quon, and veteran stalwarts Lori Chalupny, Michelle Wenino, and goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. With a mid-season slump of 1 win in 11 matches during June and July, the team eventually did not qualify for post-season playoffs; edged out by head to head results with Washington Spirit.

2015 season[edit]

The Red Stars started the 2015 season with home games, a 3–2 win over previous season's Supporting Shield winner Seattle Reign FC, followed by a 2–2 draw with Portland Thorns FC, and a 1-0 win over Sky Blue FC. With Christen Press scoring 4 of the first 5 goals for Red Stars, Press was named the Player of the Month of April. With the national teams members out training for 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, rookie Sofia Huerta scored multiple goals in 2 matches and was named NWSL Player of the Week for week 5, as well as week 6; and was also named NWSL Player of the Month of June. The team held first place during regular season from week 4 to week 13 and finished second. However, in the playoff the team lost in the semi-final to FC Kansas City.

Crest and colors[edit]

Chicago Fire mascot Sparky at a Red Stars game, alongside Supernova the Red Stars mascot

The primary logo combines two heraldic Chicago images: the shape of the shield is taken from it equivalent inside the city of Chicago’s official seal. The colors, stripes, and stars in the logo are all inspired by the symbolism of Chicago’s municipal flag, with the blue stripes representing the two branches of the Chicago River. The six points on the large red star in the center of the Chicago Red Stars logo also have their own meaning to the team:

  • Entertainment (top point)
  • Service (next point moving clockwise)
  • Success
  • Community
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership

Adrenalin, Inc., and jlmvisual partnered to jointly develop the Red Stars identity.[19]


See also: NWSL stadiums

During the team's membership in Women's Professional Soccer, Chicago Red Stars played at Toyota Park, a world-class soccer-specific stadium, with 20,000 dedicated seats for soccer. It is best known as the home of Chicago Fire Soccer Club.[20]

From 2011 to 2015, in Women's Premier Soccer League, Women's Premier Soccer League Elite league and National Women's Soccer League, Red Stars played their matches at the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex. The university stadium seats 3,000.[21][22][23] In 2012 season, in the WPSL-Elite league, some matches were played at Concordia University Chicago Athletic Complex in River Forest, Illinois [24] as well as the Lakeside Athletic Field at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois due to renovation construction at Benectine University.[25][26]

In December 2015, Chicago Red Stars announced the return to Toyota Park for their home games for 2016 NWSL season.[27]


WPS (2009–2010)[edit]

The Chicago Professional Women's Soccer, LLC investor and partner group was the owner of the Chicago Red Stars from 2009–2010 during the team's membership in Women's Professional Soccer. In April 2010, the team's management group consisted of Gary Weaver, Jim Willett, and Arnim Whisler. The Illinois Women's Soccer League (IWSL) also signed on as a partner. In addition to the IWSL, the team's leadership included shareholders John (Jack) Cummins, Robert and Susan Morrison, Jim and Kathi Willett, Dale Weaver, Gary Weaver, Pin Ni, Dong Li, Arnim Whisler, Dean Egerter, Stephen Ritchie and Peter Wilt.[28]

WPSL (2011), WPSL E (2012) and NWSL (2013–present)[edit]

Arnim Whisler was the only investor left after the 2010 season, he decided to keep the team going for the 2011 season in the WPSL while working to help reorganize a professional women's soccer league. WPS.[29]

He remains the owner of the Chicago Red Stars during the inaugural season of the NWSL [30]

Team standing and statistics[edit]


Champions Runners-up


Results of league and cup competitions by season
Season Division P W D L F A Pts Pos League
2009 WPS 20 5 5 10 18 25 20 6th DNQ DNE
2010 WPS 24 7 6 11 21 27 27 6th[a] DNQ DNE
2011 WPSL 10 8 1 1 38 7 25 1st[b][31] Runners-Up [32][33] DNE
2012 WPSL E 14 9 1 4 26 11 28 4th Runners-Up [34] Winners
2013 NWSL 22 8 6 8 32 36 30 6th DNQ DNE
2014 NWSL 24 9 8 7 32 26 35 5th DNQ DNE
2015 NWSL 20 8 9 3 31 22 33 2nd Semi-Finals DNE
2016 NWSL 20 9 6 5 24 20 33 3rd Semi-Finals DNE

Players and coaches[edit]

Current squad[edit]

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of April 11, 2016.[35]

No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher  United States
2 Forward Jen Hoy  United States
3 Defender Arin Gilliland  United States
5 Defender Katie Naughton  United States
6 Defender Casey Short  United States
7 Midfielder Taylor Comeau  United States
8 Defender Julie Johnston  United States
9 Forward Stephanie McCaffrey  United States
10 Midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo  United States
11 Forward Sofia Huerta  Mexico
12 Forward Cara Walls  United States
14 Defender Sarah Gorden  United States
15 Midfielder Courtney Raetzman  United States
16 Defender Samantha Johnson  United States
18 Goalkeeper Michele Dalton  United States
23 Forward Christen Press  United States
24 Midfielder Danielle Colaprico  United States
34 Midfielder Mary Luba  United States
Midfielder Lauren Kaskie  United States
Midfielder Morgan Proffitt  United States
Midfielder Michele Vasconcelos  United States

Coaching staff[edit]

Rory Dames has been the head coach of Red Stars since 2011, coaching the team since its days in WPSL and WPSL Elite. Assistant coaches are Bonnie Young, Brian Kibler and Jordi King who serves as goalkeeper coach.[36]

Head coaches[edit]

Former notable players[edit]

See also All-time Chicago Red Stars roster

Former members of the team who have represented a senior national team are:


2012 Open Cup Champions

Team awards[edit]

Year League Team MVP Golden Boot![c] Defender of the Year Reference
Winner Goals
2009 WPS Brazil Cristiane Brazil Cristiane 7
2010 WPS United States Ella Masar 8
2011 WPSL United States Amanda Cinalli 10
2012 WPSLE United States Lauren Fowlkes 7
2013 NWSL United States Lori Chalupny United States Lori Chalupny 5 Germany Sonja Fuss [38]
2014 NWSL United States Lori Chalupny United States Christen Press 6 United States Julie Johnston [39]
2015 NWSL United States Christen Press United States Christen Press 10 United States Julie Johnston [40]

WPS individual awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In 2010, only 7 teams finished the season.
  2. ^ The Chicago Red Stars competed in the North Division of the Midwest Conference in the WPSL. Six teams were in this division for the 2011 season.
  3. ^ Golden Boot is the team leader in goals (regular season games only).


  1. ^ Red Stars are Back! Joining WPSL for 2011,
  2. ^ "Chicago Red Stars look to succeed where others failed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Relaunch of WUSA set for spring 2008". ESPN. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Women's Pro Team Hires McDermott". ChicagoLand Soccer News. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Red Stars are born: New team honors flag". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Peter Wilt Joins Milwaukee Wave As President, CEO". Our Sports Central. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  7. ^ McCarthy, Jack (2010-04-10). "Red Stars retool for 2nd season". Chicago Tribune. 
  8. ^ "Red Stars suspend season due to lack of investors". Daily Herald. December 13, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Teams Confirmed for 2011 WPS Season". Our Sports Central. November 16, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ The Equalizer: Red Stars to play in WPSL in 2011,
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  14. ^ All White Kit, Chicago Red Stars Mark Return, Join WPSL For 2011,
  15. ^ Babcock, Patricia (July 29, 2011). "Red Stars fighting the good fight – for free". The Daily Herald. 
  16. ^ "WPSL Elite". WPSL Elite. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  17. ^ "U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati Announces New Women's League to Begin Play in Spring of 2013". US Soccer. Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Chicago Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) franchise named, logo and colors unveiled; Season Tickets on sale Wednesday". Bay Area Sports Drive. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  20. ^ "About Toyota Park". Toyota Park. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ The Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 18, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  25. ^ "Red Stars Announce 2012 WPSL Elite Schedule & Season Ticket Packages". Chicago Red Stars. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Chicago Red Stars to Play 2016 Season at Toyota Park". December 10, 2015. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Staff". Chicago Red Stars (WPS). Archived from the original on April 27, 2010. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  29. ^ Pitch invasion podcast #6
  30. ^ "Front Office". Chicago Red Stars. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  31. ^ "FOUR TEAMS SET FOR 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND". Women's Premier Soccer League. July 29, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  32. ^ "FALLING SHORT Waves topple Red Stars in OT". Chicagoland Soccer News. Sports Vue Interactive Media. July 31, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  33. ^ "ORANGE COUNTY WAVES 2, CHICAGO RED STARS 1". Women's Premier Soccer League. July 31, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  34. ^ "WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH WIN INAUGURAL WPSL ELITE CHAMPIONSHIP". Women's Premier Soccer League. July 28, 2012. Archived from the original on August 12, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Roster". Chicago Red Stars. Retrieved April 11, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Chicago Red Stars Announce Coaching Staff". Chicago Red Stars. April 7, 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 
  37. ^ "Chicago Red Stars Roster". Retrieved January 15, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Red Stars Announce End of Season Team Awards". Chicago Red Stars Site By KMH. August 23, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Chicago Red Stars Announce 2014 Team Awards". Chicago Red Stars. September 2, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Chicago Red Stars Announce Winners of 2015 Team Awards". Chicago Red Stars. September 23, 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2015. 

External links[edit]