The Hamilton Spectator

The NWSL Challenge Cup finals match set to be a thriller

- By Roberto Jozef

In the fifth annual NWSL Challenge Cup, last season’s NWSL champion, Gotham FC, and the 2023 NWSL Shield winner, San Diego Wave FC, face off in a one-off match to get the highly anticipate­d 2024 NWSL season rolling. All the footy action begins Friday, March 15, broadcast live exclusivel­y on Prime Video from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

In what’s sure to be a starstudde­d match, Gotham FC and San Diego Wave FC are going into the 2024 regular season with high expectatio­ns, as both teams are coming off incredible seasons with exceptiona­l play from the likes of Midge Purce and Naomi Girma.

However, for Gotham FC, last season’s addition of the league’s only four-time NWSL champion and 2016 NWSL MVP, Lynn Williams, has placed the club firmly as a favourite to win it all after earning its first NWSL championsh­ip in 2023. Rounding out the 2023 season, a fantastic final series match saw Williams lead all Gotham FC players with eight goals and three assists, including scoring the opening goal in the 23rd minute of her fifth NWSL final match, ultimately resulting in Gotham FC coming out victorious.

Meanwhile, for Wave FC, the team is coming off of a remarkable season that saw the club win the NWSL Shield as regular season champion, with defender Naomi Girma being voted the 2023 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.

FACTS:

Full name: Lynn Raenie Williams

Birthdate: May 21, 1993 (30)

Birthplace: Fresno, Calif.

Height/weight: 5-8/119 pounds

Position: Forward

Team(s): Gotham FC (2023-present), Kansas City Current (2022), Melbourne Victory (Loan, 2022-2021), Western Sydney Wanderers (Loan, 2020-2019), North Carolina Courage (20212017), Western New York Flash (2016-2015)

Honours and achievemen­ts: 4x NWSL Champion (2023, 2019, 2018, 2016), NWSL Golden Boot (2016), NWSL MVP (2016), 3x NWSL Shields Champion (2017, 2018, 2019)

 ?? ?? Lynn Williams of NJ/NY Gotham FC
Lynn Williams of NJ/NY Gotham FC

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