By: Martha Glen Sease
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Former Alabama striker Riley Mattingly Parker is headed to play in Liga MX Femenil on a loan through June just one day after signing her first professional soccer contract with NWSL side Racing Louisville FC.
Parker is being loaned out to Club de Fútbol Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León Femenil, more commonly known as Tigres UANL, or Las Amazonas.
On Jan. 13, 2023, Racing Louisville FC selected Parker at No. 31 overall in the NWSL draft.
Parker stacked up accolades over her time sporting crimson and white in Tuscaloosa as she broke three Alabama Soccer records, tied another and set nine separate personal bests over her final season with the Crimson Tide (games played, games started, goals, assists, points, shots, shots on goal, game-winning goals and minutes). Parker came back from a major ACL injury to set Alabama’s single-season goal record (17), point record (41), single-season game-winning goals (7), and tied the record for Alabama career leader in game-winning goals (10). Parker was named a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, named an All-American, a CSC Academic All-American, the SEC Forward of the Year, the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and was placed on TopDrawerSoccer’s Best XI for 2022.
Parker joined Racing Louisville FC for preseason training in late January, and signed her official contract on Feb. 1, 2023 for a one-year deal and an option for 2024.
“It’s so hard to adequately describe how it feels to sign the first professional contract because at this point I have spent nearly 18 years wanting to sign for a professional team,” she said. “It’s just really exciting and is the official start to my professional career.”
The same day Parker signed her contract, reports began circulating that Racing Louisville FC was working to finalize a transfer to acquire Tigres UANL striker Uchenna Kanu. This transfer deal was finalized prior to Liga MX Femenil’s 6 p.m. ET deadline for a $150,000 fee from allocation money, and an additional $30,000 if Kanu scores 12 or more goals over the 2023 NWSL season, according to The Equalizer. Kanu is a major weapon in the attack, as she recorded 23 goals and six assists over 38 games for Tigres UANL.
Parker will return from Tigres UANL to finish out the remainder of her guaranteed 2023 contract with Racing Louisville FC at the end of June. Her return to the NWSL will coincide with many international players’ absences during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Tigres side has been a dominant one since entering Liga MX Femenil in 2016. Las Amazonas won the Torneo Clausura (closing tournament) in 2018 and 2019, won the Guard1anes Tournament in 2020 and 2021 and the Torneo Apertura (opening tournament) in 2022. By winning Guard1anes 2020 and 2021, Tigres UANL became the first Liga MX Femenilside to win back-to-back titles and earned the automatic champion title for the first iteration for the Campéon de Campeones in Liga MX Femenil.
Parker is entering Las Amazonas’ roster for the Torneo Clausura, where Tigres currently sitssecond in the league with a 4-0 record and a goal difference of 12. Tigres sits behind its rival Monterrey, also with a 4-0 record but a goal difference of 13.
“I can’t wait to be a part of the team and develop as a player and do what I can to help win,” Parker said. “I know there is so much to be learned and I am really looking forward to it.” Parker is also excited to put her Spanish minor to use while with Las Amazonas.
Parker will join fellow American Mia Fishel on the roster – a striker out of UCLA who was selected No. 5 overall by the Orlando Pride in the 2022 NWSL Draft but instead opted to sign a contract with Tigres before the start of its 2022 campaign. Parker is expected to travel to Monterrey, Nuevo León at the end of this week to beginning training with the squad.
“Tuscaloosa fans – I know we don’t typically like the tigers, but maybe we can make an exception,” Parker said. “Roll Tigres, Roll Louisville, and Roll Tide.”
Tigres’ season is set to run through May 12, 2023. Matches can be viewed via streaming services such as Hulu, ESPN+ and FuboTV in the United States.