United States women's national team striker Mallory Swanson entered free agency for the first time and agreed on a record-breaking contract with the NWSL's Chicago Red Stars worth a reported $2 million including a fifth-year option.

Swanson, who joined the Red Stars in 2021 from Sky Blue FC (now NJ/NY Gotham FC), is signed through 2028, setting an NWSL record for the most long-term contract and making her the league's highest-paid player, the club confirmed to ESPN.

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Swanson will make a reported $400,000 per year, surpassing Houston Dash winger María Sánchez, who recently signed a three-year deal worth a reported $1.5 million.

The Washington Spirit's Trinity Rodman, signed a four-year, $1.1 million contract in 2022.

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said last week that the league has increased the salary cap by 40% to $2.75 million and agreed to a landmark four-year media rights deal.

Swanson, who is from Colorado, has led the Red Stars in goals scored (18) and assists (10). She made 51 appearances with 47 starts across all competitions with the club.

Swanson said re-signing with Chicago was an easy decision because it kept her with her family. Swanson married Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson in December 2022 and no longer goes by her former surname, Pugh.

"I am excited to be back with the Red Stars! These last few years have been such a blessing in Chicago, even with the ups and downs, and I can't wait to be back," Swanson said. "I am looking forward to getting to work and helping the team win championships. See everyone soon!"

On the international level, Swanson, who joined the USWNT at 17, won a Women's World Cup in 2019. She has made 88 USWNT appearances and scored 32 goals with 27 assists. Despite suffering an injury in April that sidelined her for the rest of the year, Swanson ended 2023 as the USWNT's top goal scorer, having scored seven goals in six appearances.

"The Red Stars could not be more excited that Mallory Swanson has decided to extend her career with us here in Chicago," said Chicago Red Stars president, Karen Leetzow.

"Mallory exemplifies the grit, focus and resiliency of our franchise and is an anchor for this team. Mal is a born leader on and off the field and I look forward to working with her to make the Red Stars a championship team."

Leetzow is part of a complete structural overhaul in Chicago that included an ownership and coaching change.

The NWSL 2024 season starts March 16.

Information from Field Level Media was used in this report.