CHICAGO – It’s been an offseason of change both on and off the pitch for the club, but the time to play has finally arrived for the Chicago Red Stars in 2023.

The club will open its National Women’s Soccer League regular season on Saturday night as they face San Diego Wave FC at 9 p.m. central time at Snapdragon Stadium.

It’s the first of 28 matches for manager Chris Petrucelli’s team as they look to qualify for the playoffs for an eighth-straight year and make a run for their first NWSL championship.

Most of the attention this offseason has been on the team’s upcoming ownership change as Arnim Whisler prepares to sell the franchise. This comes after a few reports were critical of his handling of abuse claims made against former Red Stars manager Rory Dames.

There are a few veterans who are returning to the club including forward Mallory Swanson, one of the best players in the league, along with goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, one of the best in the world at her position.

Defenders Arin Wright, Casey Kreuger, Kayla Sharples Bianca St-Georges, along with forward Yuki Nagasato are among the other returning veteran players to the club. A few younger players who saw extensive time early in their career, including defenders Amanda Kowalski and Tatumn Milazzo along with forwards Sarah Griffith and Ava Cook, are also back with the club.

Midfielders Julia Bianchi (International) and Cari Roccaro (Angel City FC) along with Taylor Malham (Racing Louisville FC) are among the key additions to the roster.

While their opener is on the road, the Red Stars will spend the majority of their next month at home at SeatGeek Stadium with three of their next four matches being played in Bridgeview. That includes the Red Stars’ home opener against the Houston Dash on Saturday, April 1.

Larry Hawley has a preview of the Red Stars’ 2023 NWSL season in the video above.