The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is celebrating its 10th anniversary season this year. In fact, we’re right in the middle of an exciting campaign that concludes in late-October.
The matches are broadcasted on Twitch, where it has more than 70k followers. The growing league also has a strong Instagram presence, with more than 450k followers on the platform.
The NWSL also has a few key stars, including U.S. Women’s National Team starters Alex Morgan, Sophia Smith, Sophia Huerta, Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle, as well as up-and-coming prospects like 20-year-old Trinity Rodman (Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman’s daughter) and 22-year-old Elyse Bennett.
As it relates to investable women’s soccer cards, there are two licensed sets of NWSL cards made by Parkside — the Premier Edition in 2021 and the follow-up set in ‘22.
In addition to Parkside, more recognizable manufacturers like Panini and Upper Deck have produced women’s soccer cards over the last few years too. With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup less than a year away, the timing couldn’t be better to start paying attention to these releases. Here are five ultra-modern women’s soccer cards worth a look right now:
Rodman is, without question, the No. 1 prospect in U.S. women’s soccer right now. While veterans like Morgan and Megan Rapinoe will be the headliners in next summer’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, make no mistake that Rodman is the future of the team and will get some serious playing time.
This card is considered her first auto and has been selling consistently for just under $800 for several months. There are versions signed in purple ink (/50) that will go for much higher, so keep an eye out for those, if you can.
Perhaps not as risky a move (but with less upside than the Rodman play) would be snagging Morgan’s 2019 Panini Obsidian Orange Auto /25. They go for less than $500 and are sick cards with the slick Obsidian design and USWNT branding/licensing.
Note: there are also Aurora insert short print autos (/15 and /35) in the same set, with a different photo of her in a red kit. Some of these can be had for less than the Orange Auto. All are great buys for a fantastic forward you’ll be seeing a lot of next year.
This auto was $80 a year ago but it’s now around $200. You can grab an SGC 10/10 for just a few more bucks than raw, which is the recommended play.
Lavelle has 21 goals and 18 assists in 78 appearances for the USWNT. The 27-year-old midfielder played in the 2019 World Cup and will be a big part of the 2023 installment. There may be no better investment move, from a pricing standpoint, on this list than this one. Lavelle may not have the name like Rodman or the star power of Morgan, but she has the potential to be the next U.S. women’s soccer heroine. Lavelle also has an amazingly loyal fanbase in her hometown of Cincinnati.
Like Lavelle, Pugh is much more affordable than Rodman and Morgan. One nice-looking card is her Obsidian Lightning Strike Orange Auto (/50), which is listed on eBay for less than many of her other autos. An attacking forward who’s only 24, Pugh is in position to score some big goals for the No. 1 team in the world.
While the NWSL offers a less-profile pitch than the Women’s World Cup, Pugh is nonetheless a top-five goal scorer in the league who plays in one of its larger markets- Chicago.
Smith is only 22 years old, is second in NWSL goals (behind Morgan) and is a starter on the USWNT. The budding sensation’s Parkside Blue Ink Auto (/250) is listed around $1,000 on eBay currently. One sold for $500 in early July while another went for $1,000 in late July.
Sure, an investment of this magnitude is risky, especially when you consider that you can have Rodman and Morgan cards for the same price, or Pugh or Lavelle’s for a fraction of that. Still, it’s an amazing card that should only rise in value.
With all these exciting Parkside, Obsidian and Upper Deck cards, I can’t help but wonder when Topps will swoop in and grab the NWSL license and start making Chrome sets with autos. Regardless, women’s soccer prospecting is a thing. Monitor it, make a few moves and you might earn some serious coin with the 2023 Women’s World Cup hype coming over the next year.
Paul Hickey is a regular contributor to Sports Card Investor, the creator of the Sports Card Investment Report at NoOffseason.com, and the host of the Sports Card Strategy Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube. He can be found on Instagram at @sportscardstrategy and on Twitter @nooffseasoncard.
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