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Kuikka brings proven international track record to Thorns

Forecasting how players from other leagues will translate to the National Women’s Soccer League is a peculiar, underestimated challenge. Because of the athlete factory that is NCAA soccer, the U.S.’s top professional league has a depth of mature, competitive, physically-adept athletes that is unmatched in world soccer. That’s led to a style of play that sorts viewers into fans and detractors, though both groups can agree: The physical challenges of the NWSL make it the most unique high-level league in the world.

Natalia Kuikka is going to be thrown right in next season, but although she’s spent the last two seasons playing with Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC in Sweden’s first division, the 24-year-old Finland international is very familiar with soccer in the United States.