For most of Roma's three and a half seasons, the transfers have primarily flowed in one direction: into the capital. While the club bid farewell to several members after their inaugural season in 2018, for the most part, our transfer coverage has detailed the players Roma added. From Andressa to Camelia Ceasar to Andrine Hegerberg to Elena Linari to this year's captures of Benedetta Glionna and Valeria Pirone, Roma has done a masterful job adding to, improving upon, and building a title-contending roster.
But they've seldom if ever, had to say goodbye to a valuable asset. Welp, my friends, those days are done:
Earlier today, Roma center-back Allyson Swaby announced that she is signing with NWSL expansion team Angel City FC. Set to begin play in 2022, the Los Angeles-based club has garnered massive media attention thanks to its impressive list of investors, including USWNT legend Mia Hamm (a former Roma advisor, of sorts), Natalie Portman, Eva Longoria, and Serena Williams, among others.
Speaking to Roma's official site, Swaby was quick to express her gratitude to the club, city, and the fans:
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone at AS Roma for three incredible years. I owe a huge amount of thanks to my teammates and staff for putting me in a position to take this next step in my career. Ultimately, I have decided to take an opportunity to be closer to home and my family.
I am disappointed to not be able to conclude the season with this team, but I am fully committed to doing my part to help us in the Supercoppa, and am proud to leave us in a Champions League position in the standings for the first time. I have much more to say and thanks to give about my time here, but for now, my focus remains on the games at hand before my departure. Forza Roma always
Signed midway through the 2018-2019 season from Icelandic club Knattspyrnufélag Fjarðabyggðar, Swaby quickly became a mainstay for the Giallorosse, pairing with players as varied as Emma Lipman, Federica Di Criscio, Tecla Pettenuzzo and, most recently, Elena Linari, with whom she formed arguably the league's best defensive partnership.
While Swaby will remain with the club for their Supercoppa match against Milan on January 5th, her Roma career will close with 71 appearances, four goals, and one Coppa Italia winner's medal.
On the departure of her star defender, Roma's Head of Women's Football Betty Bavagnoli was equally gracious:
I would like to thank Allyson for her professionality and for all she has given to the squad and to this club, as a player and a person,” said Betty Bavagnoli, Head of Women’s Football. “Once she received the phone call from Los Angeles, Allyson told me about her desire to return closer to her family, and for this reason we wanted to make her happy.
Despite this, Allyson’s adventure with Roma is not done just yet, because in a few days she will return to join her teammates to compete for the Supercoppa, a competition in which we all care a lot about. As a club, we are already working to continue to reinforce the squad ahead of the second half of the season.
There's really no way to take the stink out of this; losing a player like Swaby will be exceedingly difficult for Roma to overcome. Blessed with strength, speed, vision, and an incredibly deft touch, Swaby quickly became one of the most dynamic defenders in the league; and you don't replace that overnight.
With Serie A Femminile existing in a sort of professional limbo at the moment, they will struggle to retain top talent, particularly top non-Italian talent that has no emotional bond to the country. While that’s sad to report, that’s simply the state of women's football at the moment; Italy simply can't compete with glitzier leagues in England, Spain, and the United States.
But that's a concern for a different day. As much as it stings to see her leave, Roma fans should be proud of everything Swaby accomplished with the club and for the player she has become since arriving in November 2018.
And that player is now the latest signing for a club that may very well become the flagship franchise for the NWSL, arguably the best league in the world. It's a sad day for us but a momentous occasion for Swaby, so I hope you'll join us in congratulating her and wishing her the best on her new venture!
In bocca al lupo, Allyson!