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As the COVID-19 pandemic set in worldwide, US Women’s National Team midfielder Sam Mewis took her talents overseas to suit up for Manchester City.
In her nine months with the FA Women’s Super League club, the 28-year-old star has improved her already stellar standing among women’s soccer’s elite. Mewis’ exceptional play since joining City — including 12 goals and three assists — prompted ESPN to give her the top spot in its “50 best players in the game right now” ranking in March.
But despite her meteoric rise, early reports suggest Mewis is considering leaving the powerhouse European franchise to head back to the US. According to Equalizer Soccer’s Dan Lauletta, Mewis plans to return stateside to rejoin her National Women’s Soccer League club, the North Carolina Courage, prior to the Tokyo Olympics.
Insider could not independently confirm Lauletta’s report, however, and a representative for Just Women’s Sports, which produces Mewis’ new podcast, said the outlet did not have information on the matter.
Insider spoke with Mewis about that podcast, called “Snacks,” which she co-hosts with USWNT teammate Lynn Williams. Even before the news of Mewis’ potential homecoming emerged, the best friends mused about the prospect of teaming up once again in North Carolina. Until Mewis’ departure for the UK, the two had spent their entire NWSL careers as teammates.
“Yeah, we joke about it,” Williams told Insider. “I’m always trying to recruit people back. I’ve been trying to recruit Sam back, Crystal [Dunn] back, Abby [Dahlkemper] back. But at the end of the day, Sam needs to do what’s best for her career as well as everybody else.”
Though they’re best known for their national team exploits, Mewis and Williams first joined forces when the Western New York Flash selected them in the 2015 NWSL Draft. They quickly became stars in the league.
After the Flash won the 2016 NWSL championship, it sold to new owners and moved to Cary, North Carolina, where the club was rebranded as the Courage. With Mewis dominating the midfield and Williams leading a prolific offense, the Courage became an NWSL juggernaut. The team won three straight shields (regular-season titles) and back-to-back championships in their first three seasons in North Carolina.
Mewis was instrumental in the Courage’s success. Since her departure, as well as the later departures of fellow USWNT stars Crystal Dunn and Abby Dahlkemper, North Carolina has failed to win any of the NWSL’s Challenge Cup or Fall Series competitions. Welcoming the world’s number-one player back would help the Courage recover lost ground as they defend a title and a shield from the NWSL’s most recent full-length season in 2019.
“She’s an amazing player,” Williams said of Mewis. “I loved playing with her, I loved living with her, I miss my friend. But at the end of the day we will always be friends and she needs to do what’s best for her.”
“If that’s being at City, then I will support her in that decision,” she added.
For her part, Mewis told Insider that she’s “not sure what the near future holds” but added that “I love playing with Lynn.”
In the most recent episode of her podcast with Williams, Mewis’ tone seemed to hint that rumors of her return to the NWSL could be true. She spoke of her time with Manchester City in the past tense.
In that episode, titled “Mind Meld,” Mewis reflected on how she’s had “an overall good experience” and “learned so much.”
“This season has been really good for me in a lot of ways,” Mewis said on the podcast. “I’m grateful that I got to come here during such a crazy time and get so many games in and also just experience soccer from another culture’s perspective.”
The Courage’s regular season kicks off on May 15 with an away game against OL Reign. The following day, Manchester City is scheduled to play its final game of the year. That would leave room for Mewis to return to North Carolina having missed just one game of the team’s 2021 campaign.
“From here on out, I of course am going to focus on our next two games here [with Manchester City],” Mewis said. “Then try to prepare to be at my very best to make the Olympic roster — whatever that looks like in the coming weeks.”
Listen to the “Snacks” episode below: