Most of the attention on women’s soccer right now is focused on the World Cup, with many fans wondering how the USWNT will fare in the knockout round after a lackluster group stage.

The NWSL is still in action, with the 2023 Challenge Cup very much up for grabs, and Gotham FC has been making the most of their playing time during this tournament.

Gotham FC had some stars shining brightly during July.

Despite the apparent slowdown in the NWSL while the World Cup is underway, Gotham FC has made the best of its opportunities during the Challenge Cup play, and its top performers earned July Best XI honors.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see what’s going on in the NWSL while the World Cup demands so much more fan attention right now, but the Challenge Cup is giving a number of players a chance to showcase their abilities and move their teams forward in the Cup competition.

Midge Purce is Back in Top Form After an Early-Season Injury

It’s probably redundant to say that Gotham FC missed Midge Purce and her attacking style these past few months. Still, the good news is that she’s back and looking to help propel this squad not only into the Challenge Cup finals but move forward with the regular NWSL season once it resumes.  Purce rightly earned Best XI honors for July with a goal and an assist, along with 12 shots on goal in the last four matches.

Purce’s scoring puts her back on track for the first time since her injury in early April, and she will no doubt continue to be a top offensive weapon for Gotham FC once the regular NWSL starts back up after the World Cup finals.

Photo: Ira L. Black – Corbis/Getty Images

Jenna Nighswonger is Making Her Rookie-Presence Known Across the NWSL 

Sometimes it’s hard for professional rookies to make a name for themselves when playing with seasoned veterans who have years of NWSL and international experience behind them.  In the case of Jenna Nighwsonger, she’s the one making the headlines as her nomination to the July Best XI represents her second nod for this honor this season.  On top of that, Nighswonger has been named the NWSL July Rookie of the Month.

With two goals and an assist in Challenge Cup play, Nighwsonger has made a name for herself as a top-line midfielder in the NWSL while helping Gotham FC to a 2-1-1 record in July.

Nighswonger was the fourth draft pick selected in the 2023 NWSL draft, and Gotham FC immediately found a gem in this Florida State product.  There should be little doubt that Nighswonger’s name will be mentioned in the realm of NWSL accolades for many seasons to come, and her presence in the Gotham FC midfield has contributed to their winning ways this year as this squad can reasonably expect to make the playoffs this fall.

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