Gotham FC announced Saturday that it had released former Japan international midfielder Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi after a five-year stint with the National Women’s Soccer League team.

In a press release, Gotham FC said that Kawasumi was going “to explore other opportunities.”

“It has been a pleasure to play alongside some incredible teammates and friends, who have become like my family at Gotham FC over these past few years,” Kawasumi said in a statement. “I thank Gotham FC for my time with the club and look forward to the next step in my professional playing career.”

Kawasumi, 37, joined Gotham FC prior to the 2019 season via trade from Seattle Reign FC (now OL Reign). Across all competitions in NWSL action, Kawasumi has appeared in more than 150 matches, with 116 starts, 26 assists, 22 goals and six game-winning goal.

“Naho has been a very special part of our team,” head coach Juan Carlos Amoros said in a statement. “She is a true example of professionalism and she is part of the history of Gotham FC and the world of women’s soccer. It’s been a privilege and an honor for me to be able to coach Nahomi Kawasumi. We wish her the best and thank her for her time with us and for helping us to start building a new Gotham FC.”

Kawasumi is tied for third in the NWSL for regular season assists with U.S. women’s national team players Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave) and Lynn Williams (Gotham FC). She also is one of six players in league history with 20 or more career regular season goals combined with 25 or more career regular season assists.

“Since Naho joined Gotham FC in 2019, she has proven to be a dedicated, talented, and selfless player who helped lay the foundation of the culture we’re building at the club,” general manager and head of soccer operations Yael Averbuch West said in astatement. “Naho will always be part of our family and we’re beyond thankful for the contribution she made during her four seasons with the club. We wish her continued success as she embarks on the next chapter of her remarkable career.”

Kawasumi scored 20 goals in 90 international appearances for Japan, including twice in the 3-1 semifinal win over Sweden in the 2011 Women’s World Cup. Japan defeated the USA in penalty kicks to secure the title.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at