Sources: Tash Flint headed to USL Super League

The first high-profile international signing in the new USL Super League is here!

Sources: Tash Flint headed to USL Super League
Tash Flint during her second spell with Celtic FC, where she won the SWPL title | Courtesy Celtic FC

Co-reported with Graham Falk.

English forward Natasha 'Tash' Flint is expected to become the highest-profile signing yet of the inaugural USL Super League season, multiple sources have informed Squad Depth.

The Tampa Bay Sun is leading the charge to sign the 27-year-old, with one of the biggest deals in the nascent league's history agreed to in principle last week. The Florida-based club is yet to respond to a request for comment.

Although a lot remains unknown about the investment and level of play in the new USL Super League, the arrival of Flint is quite the statement of intent for both division and club. The player had interest from clubs in England and Scotland.

Flint's journey: Champion of Scotland

Flint spent the second half of the 2023-24 season at Celtic FC, on loan from Liverpool. In Glasgow, she helped the Super Hoops lift their first-ever Scottish Women's Premier League title by notching 11 goals and three assists in 14 matches.

This was her second spell with Celtic, after she spent the second half of the 2022-23 season in Glasgow on loan from Leicester City. Flint notably scored the winning goal in the 2023 Scottish Cup final during that first spell.

The Salford-born forward joined Liverpool in the summer of 2023 but struggled to break into Matt Beard's team, accruing just 225 minutes and scoring once between September 2022 and January 2023.

Competition for places on Merseyside has been fierce, as the Reds enjoyed their best season in the English Women's Super League since 2016-17 and finished fourth in the table.

Before Liverpool, Flint excelled during a tremendously successful three-year spell at Leicester City, where she was a key player as the club won the English Women's Championship and was promoted into the WSL.

Flint is a free agent after her Liverpool contract was mutually terminated before being set to expire in June. She will sign with Tampa Bay on a free. The Sun's debut season will kick off on August 19th against Dallas Trinity.

What to know about USL-SL

Based in the United States, the new professional women's soccer league will feature eight teams and differs from the NWSL (and other American soccer leagues) by running on a European-style August to May schedule. There is no relegation or promotion.

The league describes itself as "uniquely for American soccer," and is looking to create more professional opportunities for players at club and international level. While it has obtained a "Tier-1" license from the U.S. Football Federation, the budgets are not expected to match the NWSL.

While the USL-SL is attempting to participate in the emerging global women’s transfer market, it will likely create more pathways for budding academy and collegiate players, as well as create much-needed match minutes for players released from NWSL clubs.

Flint's arrival could be an outlier when it comes to foreign players moving to the league from Europe. Time will tell. American Mia Corbin has joined Carolina Ascent FC after impressive goalscoring stints in Costa Rica and Australia.

Who are the Tampa Bay Sun?

Former FIFA referee turned broadcaster/entrepreneur Christina Unkel is serving as the club's president. On the pitch, Tampa Bay will be led by head coach Denise Shilte-Brown, who arrives after nearly two decades with the University of South Florida. The club recently announced that a quintet of players had signed to their squad for the 2024-25 season.

Among that group are NWSL-decade stalwart Erika Tymrak, former UANL Tigres winger Riley Mattingly Parker, former Gotham FC defender Domi Richarson, as well as former Canadian national team setup players Jordyn Listro and Vivianne Bessette.