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Emily Fox of the USWNT aims to elevate her game with potential move to Arsenal

…definitely growing and has come a long way,” Fox told ESPN. “But I do think that as players, while we’re all trying to get over there, ultimately, I mean, Europe’s where the game was made, and I just feel like there are so many amazing teams and leagues over there.”

Adding value to this content could involve a discussion about the implications of having U.S. players move abroad and how this could impact the NWSL and the U.S. women’s national team. The potential benefits of diverse playing styles and experiences for U.S. players could be explored, as well as how this may positively influence the competitiveness and success of the national team in future international competitions. Additionally, a comparison of the different leagues and playing environments could provide readers with a deeper understanding of the career and personal development considerations that international moves entail for women’s soccer players in the U.S.
On December 10, U.S. women’s national team defender Emily Fox was amidst a crowd of over 59,000 fans at the Emirates Stadium, observing Arsenal’s 4-1 victory against Chelsea. This game was pivotal for the Gunners in an intense three-team title race in England’s WSL. Having established a reputation as a free agent in the National Women’s Soccer League, she had been eyeing a move to Europe and the stimulating environment of the Emirates Stadium pushed her to join Arsenal. Her reasons cite an aspiration of evolving her game inspired by the high-pressure atmosphere and the importance of football in Arsenal’s culture.

At the age of 25, Emily Fox is known as one of the finest full-backs in the world, recognized for her unique attacking strategies and a versatile playing style. Her transfer to Arsenal is fueled by a desire to enhance her skills and to ultimately become the best full-back in the game. The impetus behind this step was her desire to get out of her comfort zone and play in a vibrant place such as the Emirates Stadium. This transition to Arsenal comes at a turning point for both her career and the U.S. national team.

With the U.S. national team’s 2023 World Cup performance falling short of expectations, there is growing criticism of the NWSL’s influence on player development and skills. This poor showing has led players to consider gaining experience abroad and diversifying their playing styles. Fox’s transfer to Arsenal notably marks the largest move by the U.S. women’s national team away from the NWSL. Her motivations for making this move prior to the World Cup were not fueled by the subsequent results but were rather based on her long-standing aspiration to play overseas.

After her contract expired with the North Carolina Courage, Fox became a free agent, deliberating between staying in the U.S. or exploring opportunities abroad. Arsenal’s offer matched some of the highest contracts in the NWSL, presenting Fox with an attractive prospect. She had considered moving overseas before, specifically at the beginning of her career, when she was the first pick of the 2021 NWSL Draft. Even then, she decided to first consolidate her professional experience closer to home.

Several distinct factors contributed to Fox’s choice to join Arsenal, including preexisting friendly associations with former teammates at the University of North Carolina, where she formed connections with members of Arsenal. Her decision was reaffirmed by the encouragement provided by her senior U.S. national team colleagues. This collaborative relationship between U.S. Soccer and the European leagues has facilitated her transition and broadened opportunities for players to seek potential professional careers overseas.