Former Chicago Red Stars defender inks two-year deal with club
San Francisco (Dec. 21, 2023) – Bay FC, the Bay Area’s new women’s professional soccer franchise in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), have signed free agent defender Kayla Sharples to a two-year deal, it was announced today.
Drafted in the third round of the 2019 NWSL Draft out of Northwestern University, Sharples played the last five seasons (2019-23) in the NWSL with the Chicago Red Stars. During her time in Chicago, the center back appeared in 48 matches across all NWSL competitions, starting 39 games with one goal. In 2023, Sharples appeared in 11 games (eight starts), scoring her first professional goal on Oct. 7 against the Kansas City Current.
“Kayla is another established central defender who understands the league and who we believe has skills to be an excellent fit in our team,” said Bay FC General Manager Lucy Rushton. “As a center back, she wants to be on the ball and has ability to play out and penetrate the attacking half with her range of passing. Defensively, she is a real competitor and warrior who epitomizes the spirit we want in the team. With her strong tackling and aerial ability, she impacts the game both on the ground and in the air.”
Sharples played on loan with Finnish club Kuopion Palloseura in 2020 where she made nine appearances and scored one goal. The Naperville, Ill. native also played abroad in Australia during the 2021-22 A-League Women’s season with Adelaide United. With Adelaide, Sharples helped the team qualify for the Finals with a third-place finish in league play.
At Northwestern, Sharples was twice named All-America Third Team, playing in 87 games (all starts) for the Wildcats from 2015-18. During her collegiate career, she helped lead Northwestern to four straight NCAA tournament appearances, while leading a defense that registered 47 shutouts. As a senior in 2018, Sharples started all 19 games, tallying three goals and earned first team All-Big Ten and All-Region accolades as Northwestern limited opponents to 0.68 goals per game.
Birthdate: June 17, 1997
Hometown: Naperville, Ill.
Previous Club: Chicago Red Stars (NWSL)
Citizenship: United States
College: Northwestern University
Bay FC will kick off its inaugural season in March 2024 at PayPal Park in San Jose. Ticket deposits are now open for Bay FC’s inaugural season and new merchandise can be purchased at BayFC.com. Fans can also follow @wearebayfc on social channels for more exciting announcements to come.
About Bay Football Club
Bay Football Club (Bay FC) is the new women’s professional soccer franchise representing the Bay Area and the 14th team to join the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Bay FC was established in April 2023 and co-founded by USWNT legends Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton, and Aly Wagner in partnership with global investment firm Sixth Street and an investor group of leading tech, business and sports executives. Sixth Street’s investment is the largest institutional investment to date in a women’s professional sports franchise. Bay FC is changing the face of women’s soccer as we know it. Beginning play in the 2024 season, we are building a squad that will play the beautiful game with power, passion, energy, and creativity. Ticket deposits are now open for Bay FC at https://bayfc.com and fans can follow Bay FC’s social channels (@wearebayfc) for the latest news, merchandise, and events.