Deyna Castellanos, Venezuela
Deyna Castellanos played in the United States from 2016-19 at the collegiate level, winning the 2018 NCAA Championship with Florida State University

SEATTLE - Venezuelan midfielder Deyna Castellanos completed a free transfer to new expansion NWSL team Bay FC on January, putting a -momentarily- end to her European career that saw her play for Atlético Madrid and Manchester City between 2019 and 2024.

The striker signed a contract with the new NWSL franchise in the Bay area trough 2026, including an option to extend it through the 2027 season. Even though this will be her first professional team in the United States, she has previous experience playing in the U.S. as she was a standout player for the Florida State Seminoles soccer team from 2016-19, winning the 2018 NCAA championship with FSU.

The move back to the United States came with a pay raise for Castellanos: according to reports from ESPN, her deal with Bay FC is a record. Throughout her contract, the Venezuelan star will earn an estimated $1.8 million guaranteed over four years, making Castellanos the highest-paid foreign player in the NWSL.

Castellanos began her professional career in 2020 with Atlético Madrid, helping the team win the Supercopa de España Femenina during the 2020-21 season. Throughout three campaigns with Atlético, Castellanos appeared in 71 matches in all competitions, tallying 26 goals as the team finished among the top four in each of those seasons. She joined Manchester City in 2022, where she went on to make 36 appearances for the club.

Castellanos not only shines at the club level, but is also a leader when playing for her national team. She is the captain of the Venezuelan women's team, having so far played in 38 caps and scoring 22 goals for the 'Vinotinto.' She has had a successful youth career, helping her country to a 4th-place finish at both the 2014 and 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cups. In 2017, Deyna Castellanos was a finalist for The Best FIFA Women's Player of the year, finishing 3rd place behind U.S. legend Carli Lloyd and Lieke Martens.

Deyna Castellanos was nominated to the 2017 FIFA Puskas Award thanks to this goal she scored for Venezuela at the U-17 World Cup in 2016.

"Deyna is a player you can't take your eyes off – she is enigmatic, dynamic and will excite our supporters with her attacking flair and play," said Bay FC General Manager Lucy Rushton during the announcement.

Bay FC, the NWSL's 14th club, will make its competitive debut on March 16 when they travel to Los Angeles to face Angel City FC. Bay FC will be one of two NWSL teams making their debut this season, as the defunct Utah Royals return to the league after going out of business during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In their previous two seasons in NWSL, Utah was no able to qualify to the playoffs (2018-19).

Castellanos is just one of multiple high-caliber signings by Bay FC, with the addition of Zambia's Racheal Kundananji, who broke the women's world record fee ($787,600) just last week, and Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala arriving from Barcelona

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