Ellis names 24-player training camp roster ahead of April friendlies

USWNTMarch 21

Notebook: Teams share updated preseason rosters

NewsMarch 19

Notebook: Thorns re-signings, new kits and more news

NewsMarch 18

Creating the narrative: Ubogagu’s journey back to England

Player FeatureMarch 13

Notebook: Schmidt joins the Dash, NWSL re-signings, Utah’s new kit and more

NewsMarch 12

England wins SheBelieves Cup; USA finishes with a win for second

SheBelieves CupMarch 05

Teams announce preseason rosters

NewsMarch 05

NWSL preseason schedules for every team

League NewsMarch 04

Notebook: Player signings, theme nights, and more as NWSL preseason kicks off

NewsMarch 04

SheBelieves Cup: USWNT and England tie, Japan beats Brazil

USWNTMarch 02

Notebook: Spirit re-signings; Sky Blue preseason schedule and more

NewsMarch 01

SheBelieves Cup: England wins, USWNT and Japan tie

USWNTFebruary 27

Notebook: Fox announces WWC coverage; news across the NWSL

NewsFebruary 27

Notebook: Courage re-signings; Killion back with Sky Blue FC; Utah preseason schedule

NewsFebruary 26

Houston Dash acquire Christine Nairn from the Orlando Pride

NewsFebruary 26

NWSL announces full 2019 schedule

ScheduleFebruary 22

England, Brazil name rosters for SheBelieves; tournament begins on Wednesday

NewsFebruary 22

Notebook: Busy week across the NWSL; call-ups, coaching hires, preseason matches and more

NewsFebruary 22

Courage acquire Stephanie Labbé

NewsFebruary 22

2019 Home Openers

ScheduleFebruary 21

XI games to watch this season

ScheduleFebruary 21

A+E Networks and NWSL end partnership

League NewsFebruary 20

McCaskill’s brace crowns Sydney FC W-League Champions

NewsFebruary 19

Canada, Scotland name Algarve Cup rosters; Japan calls in Utsugi for SheBelieves Cup

NewsFebruary 15

Spirit acquire Australian internationals Amy Harrison, Chloe Logarzo

NewsFebruary 15

Notebook: Spirit announce preseason schedule; new social look for USWNT

NewsFebruary 12

Ellis names 23 NWSL players to USWNT SheBelieves Cup roster

USWNTFebruary 12

Notebook: Preseason schedules rolling in; Courage sign Haran

NewsFebruary 11

Kerr scores a historic hat trick in W-League Finals Series

NewsFebruary 11

NWSL players set for W-League Finals Series

NewsFebruary 07

Notebook: Dagny Brynjarsdottir’s back for Portland, plus more news across the NWSL

NewsFebruary 04

Big moves for Reign FC: New venue, new city, new minority owners

NewsJanuary 30

Spirit, Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington announce broadcast partnership

NewsJanuary 30

Notebook: Erceg back with Ferns; W-League highlights; Naho thanks Seattle

NewsJanuary 29

Player Insight

VideoJanuary 24

Press goal lifts USWNT to 1-0 win over Spain

USWNTJanuary 22

Sinclair scores 178th international goal as Canada opens up 2019 with win over Norway

CANWNTJanuary 22

USWNT falls to France, snapping 28-game unbeaten streak

USWNTJanuary 19

Sights and Sounds from the 2019 NWSL College Draft

FeatureJanuary 17

After celebrating on draft day, Maria Sánchez is ready to get to work in Chicago

FeatureJanuary 16

Notebook: Morgan, Naeher win Concacaf awards; Spirit sign Crosson; Reign re-sign Yanez, Oyster

NewsJanuary 16

Amanda Duffy named President of NWSL

NewsJanuary 15

Sky Blue acquire Kawasumi from Reign FC in exchange for Groom

NewsJanuary 15

Courage head coach Paul Riley signs multi-year contract

NewsJanuary 14

Notebook: Gibbons announces retirement; Kgatlana named CAF Player of the Year; England roster announced

NewsJanuary 14

Orlando Pride announce Marc Skinner as head coach

NewsJanuary 14

Canada names January roster

CANWNTJanuary 14

Homecoming for the Chicago Red Stars

NWSL College DraftJanuary 11

Highlights from panels at the 2019 United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago

NewsJanuary 11

Draft recap: NWSL welcomes new players in Chicago

NWSL College DraftJanuary 11

Ellis names 24-player training camp roster ahead of April friendlies

The USWNT faces Australia on April 4, Belgium on April 7

Ali Krieger makes her return to a U.S. women's national team training camp. (Photo credit: Roy K. Miller/isiphotos.com)

U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis has named the training camp roster prior to a pair of upcoming friendlies against Australia and Belgium in April. All 24 players on the roster are from the NWSL, including number one overall draft pick for the Chicago Red Stars, Tierna Davidson.

The USWNT will hold a six-day training camp in Santa Barbara, Calif. before the two friendlies. The team will face Australia in Commerce City, Colo. at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on April 4, then head to Los Angeles to play Belgium at the Banc of California Stadium on April 7.

Forward Alex Morgan of the Orlando Pride will get another chance to crack 100 career goals in April. Morgan scored her 99th goal for the USWNT during the SheBelieves Cup against Japan.

The Pride’s Ali Krieger is back on a USWNT roster for the first time since the 2017 Tournament of Nations. Krieger, who has 98 caps for the national team, last appeared on April 6, 2017 in a friendly against Russia as a second-half sub.

In a Q&A shared on the U.S. Soccer site, Ellis addressed Krieger’s return to the national team. “I spoke with Ali and she’s excited to come into camp and help this team in any way she can. Opportunities, however they transpire, are exactly that, and Ali has been a great pro and will no doubt lean on her experience and strengths when she comes back into this environment. Recently, she has been training with her club in the outside back position and with the potential to add depth on the right side, it was good timing to bring Ali into this camp to join the other six defenders.”

U.S. Soccer reported that defender Kelley O’Hara of Utah Royals FC was not available for selection for the training camp due to an ankle issue, but midfielder Lindsey Horan of Portland Thorns FC has returned after missing the SheBelieves Cup with a quadriceps injury.

U.S. WNT Roster – Australia & Belgium Friendlies (Club; Caps/Goals)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 20/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 41/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 35/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 17/1), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 80/24), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 98/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 153/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 27/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 30/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 77/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 64/7), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 23/6), Allie Long (Reign FC; 40/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 45/8), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 11/0), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 8/0)

FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 146/27), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 269/105), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 6/1), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 158/99), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 111/47), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 48/13), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 149/43)

April friendlies schedule

USWNT vs. Australia
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
April 4, 9:00 p.m. ET
FS1

USWNT vs. Belgium
Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, California
April 7, 9:00 p.m. ET
ESPN2

Notebook: Teams share updated preseason rosters

The 2019 NWSL season kicks off on April 13

As the third week of NWSL preseason began, five NWSL teams issued updates on their preseason rosters on Monday. If available, additional details about each roster can be found by clicking each team’s name on the list below.

MORE | Teams announce preseason rosters

Updated preseason rosters:

NRI = non-roster invitee

NYR = not yet reported to camp

CDP = 2019 NWSL College Draft Pick


GOALKEEPERS (4): Adelaide Gay (NRI), Stephanie Labbé, Sam Leshnak (NRI), Katelyn Rowland

DEFENDERS (10): Abby Dahlkemper, Abby Erceg, Ally Haran, Hailey Harbison (CDP), Jaelene Hinkle, Shannon Horgan (NRI), Julie King, Kaleigh Kurtz, Merritt Mathias, Morgan Reid

MIDFIELDERS (12): Debinha, Elizabeth Eddy, Samantha Mewis, Lauren Milliet (CDP), Heather O’Reilly, Denise O’Sullivan, Peyton Perea (NRI), Cari Roccaro, Meredith Speck, Julia Spetsmark, Ryan Williams, McCall Zerboni

FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn, Kristen Hamilton, Jessica McDonald, Leah Pruitt (CDP), Lynn Williams

 


GOALKEEPERS (3): Lainey Burdett (NRI), Ashlyn Harris, Haley Kopmeyer

DEFENDERS (6): Alika Keene (NRI), Alanna Kennedy, Ali Krieger, Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Shelina Zadorsky

MIDFIELDERS (9): Joanna Boyles (NRI), Bridget Callahan (NRI), Kristen Edmonds, Abby Elinsky (NRI), Erin Greening (CDP), Leah Mohammadi (NRI), Emily van Egmond, Marisa Viggiano (CDP), Dani Weatherholt

FORWARDS (8): Danica Evans, Caitlin Farrell (NRI), Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Camila Martins Pereira (NYR), Alex Morgan, Chioma Ubogagu, Marta Vieira da Silva

 


PORTLAND THORNS FC

GOALKEEPERS (3): Bella Bixby, Britt Eckerstrom, Adrianna Franch

DEFENDERS (9): Elizabeth Ball, Ellie Carpenter, Kelli Hubly, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Madison Pogarch (NRI), Katherine Reynolds, Gabby Seiler, Emily Sonnett

MIDFIELDERS (9): Celeste Boureille, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Tobin Heath, Arden Holden (NRI), Lindsey Horan, Emily Ogle (CDP), Midge Purce, Angela Salem, Sandra Yu (NYR)

FORWARDS (9): Simone Charley (NRI), Ana Crnogorcevic, Marissa Everett (NRI), Caitlin Foord, Tyler Lussi, Ifeoma Onumonu, Hayley Raso, Christine Sinclair, Mallory Weber

 


GOALKEEPERS (4): Michelle Betos, Kelsey Dossey (NRI), Scout Watson (NRI), Lydia Williams

DEFENDERS (7): Lauren Barnes, Steph Catley (NYR), Celia Jimenez Delgado, Kristen McNabb, Theresa Nielsen, Megan Oyster, Christen Westphal

MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Andrews, Jessica Fishlock (NYR – ON LOAN), Elise Kellond-Knight, Allie Long, Morgan Proffitt, Rumi Utsugi, Beverly Yanez, Sakky Yoshida (NRI)

FORWARDS (10): Bethany Balcer (NRI), Jorian Baucom (NRI), Kiersten Dallstream, Shea Groom, Darian Jenkins, Jaycie Johnson, Emma Kete (NRI), Megan Rapinoe, Jasmyne Spencer, Jodie Taylor

 


GOALKEEPERS (4): Didi Haracic, Kaylan Marckese (CDP), Kailen Sheridan

DEFENDERS (8): Caprice Dydasco, Sabrina Flores (CDP), Mandy Freeman, Asako Ideue (NRI), Estelle Johnson, Amandine Pierre-Louis, Domi Richardson, Erica Skroski

MIDFIELDERS (10): Imani Dorsey, Julie James, Sarah Killion, Carli Lloyd, Paige Monaghan, Gabriela Morais (NRI), Shade Pratt (NRI), Raquel Rodriguez, Amanda Rooney (NRI), Madison Tiernan, Kenie Wright (CDP)

FORWARDS (6): Kyra Carusa (CDP), Nahomi Kawasumi, Jen Hoy, Savannah McCaskill, McKenzie Meehan, Elle Sweeney (NRI)

 

 

Notebook: Thorns re-signings, new kits and more news

The latest news from NWSL preseason

Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Menges was drafted by the Thorns in 2014. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

On Thursday, Portland Thorns FC announced the re-signings of four players: Emily Menges, Midge Purce, Tyler Lussi and Ifeoma Onumonu.

It will be Menges’ sixth season with the club and Lussi’s third, after both were drafted by the Thorns. Purce and Onumonu were selected by the Thorns in the 2018 Dispersal Draft, and this will be their second year in Portland.


On Friday, FIFA confirmed that video assistant referees will be used at the the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It will be the first Women’s World Cup to feature VAR, after it was used at last summer’s men’s World Cup.


Portland Thorns FC unveiled their new custom jerseys on Wednesday. The primary jersey is an interlocking red and black design, that is inspired by the smoke the Rose City Riveters set off when the Thorns score a goal. The secondary kit is all-white and features a gray motif of smoke.


The North Carolina Courage unveiled their new jersey on Friday, featuring a star above the crest to represent their 2019 NWSL Championship win.


The Chicago Red Stars announced the return of their 10th anniversary kit, which will be worn on the road. The club said a new home jersey would be unveiled soon.


Sky Blue FC announced the hiring of high performance coach Morgan Hofacker and strength and conditioning coach Christopher Ascari last week, completing the technical staff of head coach Denise Reddy.

Creating the narrative: Ubogagu’s journey back to England

Ubogagu scored four goals for the Pride in 2018

Chioma Ubogagu has been with the Pride since 2017. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

Orlando Pride forward Chioma Ubogagu strives to be a storyteller on the pitch. She’s left-footed, quick, and loves the creative freedom she gets from the ball at her foot.

Ubogagu was born in England to Nigerian parents, where football and Arsenal—she quickly learned—were a way of life. When she was young, her parents separated. She moved with her mother to Dallas, Texas,  though she still returned to England once a year to visit her father and see other family. But her life, as she knew it, was in Texas.

“When I was four years old I was a part of my first soccer team in Texas, but I’d say I’ve been attempting to play since I was three,” Ubogagu told NWSL Media over the phone on Monday. “I copied what my brothers did growing up. They played soccer and they are also why I became an Arsenal fan, why I played FIFA, and PlayStation. ”

While Ubogagu was born in England, her upbringing and evolution through the game happened in the United States. She got involved in the youth national team system early on, and played for the Under-18, Under-20, and Under-23 teams. A top recruit at Stanford, the Cardinal won the Women’s College Cup her freshman year in 2011, and she was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. Sky Blue FC liked what they saw, and picked Ubogagu in the 2015 NWSL College Draft even though she already was looking at a potential return to England.

Arsenal was a way of life, and Arsenal it would be. Ubogagu made her professional debut in 2015 and scored Arsenal’s only goal of the match in a draw against Notts County.

But soccer in the United States came knocking once again. Ubogagu went back to Texas, and signed with the Houston Dash in 2016 following her year with the Gunners. A year later, Houston traded her to the Orlando Pride  By November of 2017, Ubogagu had earned her first call-up to the U.S. women’s national team for a set of friendlies against Canada, but she didn’t dress for either match, let alone earn a cap.

Thanks to where she was born and her parents, Ubogagu could represent Nigeria, England or the United States. While the entirety of her international play so far had been for America, she decided last year that she would represent England.

“I think the best way for me to explain it is I think everything happens for a reason,” Ubogagu said about her decision to play for England, “And it was this feeling I had [when I was playing for the U.S.] that didn’t quite feel like it was for me.”

During the 2018 NWSL season, Ubogagu expressed her interest in playing for the Lionesses to former Pride head coach Tom Sermanni.

“I told him that I think that I want to play for England and asked him what his thoughts were. He then started the conversation with Phil [Neville].” It didn’t take her long to get on England’s radar. One year after her USWNT call-up, she was called in by the Lionesses for a set of friendlies against Sweden and Austria.

“That first training camp with England, there was no doubt in my head that I wasn’t supposed to be there and try and make the World Cup team. This time, it was a feeling that just felt so right.”

Ubogagu made her international debut against Austria on November 8, 2018. And just like her first professional appearance, the scene couldn’t have been more perfect for her first international goal.

MORE | Chioma Ubogagu called up by England for November friendlies

The cap was earned, the jersey fit. But as 2019 rolled around, Ubogagu had doubts all over again when she was left off England’s SheBelieves Cup roster.

“I had to have a pretty tough conversation with [Phil]. He put me on standby, you know if something happened or if someone wasn’t able to go then I would get to go to the tournament,” Ubogagu said. “I had come home from Australia (Ubogagu spent most the NWSL offseason on a loan to Brisbane Roar in the W-League) at this point. I was training and stuff, so when I had to have that conversation with him I was really disappointed, really sad, and I didn’t sleep that night.”

Despite the restless night, Ubogagu knew that she couldn’t just give up. “I started just getting up at 4 a.m. to train. I guess I could have chilled and taken a few days off, but I wanted to train my anger, and the craziest part is that two to three days later I got a call.”

Ubogagu was called in as a replacement player for Jill Scott who withdrew from the tournament to prepare her full fitness ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

MORE | England wins SheBelieves Cup

“What’s meant for you won’t miss you,” Ubogagu quoted. Her voice was full of pride—it’s a saying that her mom told her, back when Ubogagu had called after missing the initial roster for the SheBelieves Cup.

“My mom is my ultimate hero. She is the strongest woman I know, just crazy smart and insanely hard working. She’s my rock. Every time I’m going through something I’m blowing up her phone until she answers and that’s what I did. Her advice to me was like, ‘Now is the time you need to be consistent, you are x-days away from the World Cup.’”

“Football is an up and down journey and you can’t get too high on the highs and too low on the lows,” Ubogagu said and is now in the full swing of preseason in Orlando for the Pride’s preseason. She is also learning for the first time how to balance international duty and responsibilities.

“The amazing part is that they can intertwine if I’m controlling what I can control at the club level and putting my efforts in fully at training. It’s going to translate to the international level.”

Ubogagu’s still working on writing her story. But, if you ask her, she’s in complete control of the narrative.

“In soccer, when I have the ball, I like having the creativity that doesn’t allow for people to know what I’m going to do. I’m in control and I’ve always loved that freedom.”

Notebook: Schmidt joins the Dash, NWSL re-signings, Utah’s new kit and more

The latest news from around the NWSL

Sophie Schmidt and Canada have qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France this summer. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The Houston Dash have signed Canadian midfielder Sophie Schmidt, the club announced Tuesday. Schmidt was acquired through the NWSL Discovery Process.

Schmidt spent the last three years in Germany playing for FFC Frankfurt, scoring six goals in 52 appearances. Before that, she spent two seasons with Sky Blue FC. She scored eight goals in 41 appearances during her time in the NWSL. Schmidt has 180 caps for the Canada, with 18 goals and 20 assists.

“Sophie is another player with extensive international experience in Europe and with the Canadian women’s national team,” Dash head coach James Clarkson said in a press release issue by the club. “Her experience and ability with the ball will have a major impact on the team.”  


Defender Tierna Davidson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft by the Chicago Red Stars, has officially signed a contract with the club, the Red Stars announced Monday.


On Friday, the North Carolina Courage announced the re-signings of four players: Julie King, Merritt Mathias, Morgan Reid and Ryan Williams.

Mathias joined the team in a trade with Reign FC prior to the 2018 season. King was acquired in the 2018 Dispersal Draft, but did not play last year due to ankle surgery. Williams and Reid were both selected by the Courage in the 2018 NWSL College Draft, and made their first professional appearances in the International Champions Cup last summer.


Sky Blue FC has re-signed forward McKenzie Meehan, the club announced Friday.  It will be her third year with the team after being drafted by Sky Blue in the 2017 NWSL College Draft.

“I am excited and grateful to be joining Sky Blue for a third season,” Meehan said in a team press release. “I’m looking forward to preparing with my teammates for a great season ahead!”


Yael Averbuch will serve as Executive Director of the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association, the NWSLPA announced last week.

Averbuch previously served as NWSL President since its launch. Earlier this month, Averbuch announced that she had suspended her professional career due to illness.

In a statement, the NWSLPA said that Averbuch “will direct the NWSLPA when it comes to adding value to the player experience and representing the voice and interests of the players in conversations with the League.”


Utah Royals FC unveiled their new secondary kit on Saturday, ahead of their second season in the NWSL.

 

England wins SheBelieves Cup; USA finishes with a win for second

England claim their first SheBelieves Cup with a 3–0 win over Japan

The Orlando Pride forward subbed into the match for England in the second half. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Last year, the United States edged England for the 2018 SheBelieves Cup title. In 2019, it was the Lionesses’ turn.

On Tuesday in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium, England claimed the SheBelieves Cup trophy with a dominant 3-0 win over Japan. Japan and England entered the final day of the tournament tied with four points respectively, but the Lionesses made their statement early by scoring all three goals in just the first half of play.

This is the first time England has won the SheBelieves Cup tournament.

The U.S. women’s national team finished in second place in the tournament after defeating Brazil 1-0 on Tuesday night. Japan and Brazil finished in third and fourth place, respectively.

United States 1 – Brazil 0

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath scored the U.S.’s only goal of the night in the 20th minute. It was her second goal of the tournament. Washington Spirit forward Mallory Pugh played in Heath down the right flank and Heath weaved her way into the final third where she slotted a through ball into Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan. Morgan attempted a shot, but it was deflected away by Brazilian goalkeeper Aline. The ball bounced back into the path of Heath who was crashing to the top of the box. Heath finished it one time into the top of the near post.

In the 75th minute, Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris came up big with a huge reaction save. Orlando Pride forward Marta served a dangerous in-swinging ball into the box where several Brazilian players were crashing. Harris made a one-handed diving save to keep her team ahead.

The U.S. continued to press for another as the clock ran out, but the game concluded with Heath’s lone goal being the game-winner to clinch the second-place finish.

The U.S. will next face Australia on April 4 in Colorado as their preparation continues for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.


England 3 – Japan 0 

Reign FC forward Jodie Taylor started for England and chipped in two assists in the first half and Pride forward Chioma Ubogagu entered the game as a substitute in the 65th minute.

England’s first goal came in just the 12th minute of play thanks to Lucy Staniforth. Taylor earned her first assist of the day when she flicked on a through ball right down the center of the field into the path of Staniforth. Staniforth collected the pass and dribbled with pace to the top of the box and ripped one into the lower right post.

Taylor got herself involved for the second goal too, lofting a one-time cross into the box where Karen Carney headed the ball home for the 2-0 lead.

Before halftime, Beth Mead put her team ahead 3-0 with an absolute stunner with her left foot. Mead ran onto a through ball down the right side of the pitch, dribbled with pace and then cut the ball onto her left and struck it into the far left corner.

Teams announce preseason rosters

The 2019 NWSL season kicks off on April 13

NWSL preseason began on Monday, March 4. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL preseason began on Monday and the league’s nine teams announced their preseason rosters.

A number of players are not yet in camp because of international duty (SheBelieves, Algarve Cup, Cup of Nations, Cyprus Cup, friendlies). Those players are listed with “NYR” (not yet reported to camp) next to their names. Additional details about each roster can be found by clicking each team’s name on the list below.

 

Full preseason rosters for each team:

NRI = non-roster invitee

NYR = not yet reported to camp

CDP = 2019 NWSL College Draft Pick


GOALKEEPERS (4): Emily Boyd, Megan Hinz (NRI), Alison Jahansouz (NRI), Alyssa Naeher (NYR)

DEFENDERS (13): Tierna Davidson (CDP/NYR), Hannah Davison (CDP), Brooke Elby, Chandra Eigenberger (NRI), Zoey Goralski (NRI), Sarah Gorden, Christina Murillo, Katie Naughton, Kayla Sharples (CDP), Casey Short (NYR), Bianca St Georges (CDP/NYR), Chelsea Surpris (NRI), Arin Wright

MIDFIELDERS (10): Morgan Brian, Danielle Colaprico, Vanessa DiBernardo, Julie Ertz (NYR), Kelly Fitzgerald (NRI), Alyssa Mautz, Nikki Stanton, Michele Vasconcelos, Jill Vetere (NRI), Erin Yenney

FORWARDS (6): April Bockin (CDP/NYR), Katie Johnson, Sam Kerr (NYR), Maria Sanchez (CDP), Jenna Szczesny (CDP), Yuki Nagasato


GOALKEEPERS (4): Jane Campbell (NYR), Bianca Henninger, Devon Kerr (NRI), Cosette Morche (NRI) 

DEFENDERS (12): Lindsay Agnew (NYR), Amber BrooksAllysha Chapman (NYR), Whitney Church (NRI), Taylor Comeau, Janelly Farias (NRI), Vanessa Flores (NRI), Jazmin Jackmon (CDP), Satara Murray, Clare Polkinghorne (NYR), Ally Prisock (CDP), Riley Smith (NRI), Ari Romero 

MIDFIELDERS (12): Betsy Brandon (CDP), Grace Cutler (CDP), Haley Hanson, Paige Hayward (NRI), Kara Hoffman (NRI), Sofia Huerta, Jen Laponte (NRI), Veronica Latsko, Kristie Mewis (NYR), Christine NairnMeleana Shim (NYR), Rachel Stelter (NRI)

FORWARDS (10)Rachel Daly (NYR), Jamia Fields (NRI), Olivia Jarrell (NRI), Colleen Kennedy (NRI), CeCe Kizer (CDP), Kayla McCoy (CDP), Kealia Ohai, Nichelle Prince (NYR), Kyah Simon (NYR), Crystal Thomas (NRI) 


GOALKEEPERS (5): Kelsey Daughtery (NRI), Adelaide Gay (NRI), Stephanie Labbé, Sam Leshnak (NRI), Katelyn Rowland

DEFENDERS (10): Abby Dahlkemper (NYR), Abby Erceg (NYR), Ally Haran, Hailey Harbison (CDP), Jaelene Hinkle, Shannon Horgan (NRI), Julie King*, Kaleigh Kurtz, Merritt Mathias*, Morgan Reid*

MIDFIELDERS (18): Debinha (NYR), Nickolette Driesse (NRI), Elizabeth Eddy, Meagan Harbison (NRI), Samantha Mewis (NYR), Gianna Milaro (NRI), Lauren Milliet (CDP), Heather O’Reilly, Denise O’Sullivan (NYR), Peyton Perea (NRI), Cari Roccaro, Meredith Speck, Julia Spetsmark, Kaycie Tillman (CDP), Charlotte Williams (NRI), Ryan Williams*, Taryn Wright (NRI), McCall Zerboni (NYR)

FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (NYR), Kristen Hamilton, Jessica McDonald (NYR), Leah Pruitt (CDP), Lynn Williams

*- contract offer extended


GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (NYR), Haley Kopmeyer, Lainey Burdett (NRI)

DEFENDERS (7): Alika Keene (NRI), Alanna Kennedy (NYR), Ali Krieger, Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Kim Reynolds (NRI), Shelina Zadorsky (NYR)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kristen Edmonds, Emily van Egmond (NYR), Dani Weatherholt, Erin Greening (CDP), Marisa Viggiano (CDP), Joanna Boyles (NRI), Bridget Callahan (NRI), Abby Elinsky (NRI)

FORWARDS (7): Danica Evans, Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Camila Martins Pereira (NYR), Alex Morgan (NYR), Chioma Ubogagu (NYR), Marta Vieira da Silva (NYR)


GOALKEEPERS (3): Britt Eckerstrom, Adrianna Franch (NYR), Bella Bixby (formerly Geist)

DEFENDERS (9): Elizabeth Ball, Ellie Carpenter (NYR), Kelli Hubly, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Madison Pogarch (NRI), Katherine Reynolds, Gabby Seiler, Emily Sonnett (NYR)

MIDFIELDERS (11): Celeste Boureille, Dagny Brynjarsdottir (NYR), Katy Byrne (NRI), Connie Caliz (NRI), Tobin Heath (NYR), Arden Holden (NRI), Lindsey Horan, Emily Ogle (CDP), Midge Purce, Angela Salem (NYR), Sandra Yu (NYR)

FORWARDS (9): Simone Charley (NRI), Ana Crnogorcevic (NYR), Marissa Everett (NRI, NYR), Caitlin Foord (NYR), Tyler Lussi, Ifeoma Onumonu, Hayley Raso (NYR), Christine Sinclair (NYR), Mallory Weber


GOALKEEPERS (5): Michelle Betos, Kori Butterfield (NRI), Kelsey Dossey (NRI), Scout Watson (NRI), Lydia Williams (NYR)

DEFENDERS (8): Lauren Barnes, Steph Catley (NYR / INT), Celia Jimenez Delgado (NYR / INT), Siobhan McDonough (NRI), Kristen McNabb, Theresa Nielsen (NYR / INT), Megan Oyster, Christen Westphal

MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Andrews, Jessica Fishlock (NYR – ON LOAN), Elise Kellond-Knight (NYR / INT), Allie Long, Morgan Proffitt, Rumi Utsugi (NYR / INT), Beverly Yanez, Sakky Yoshida (NRI)

FORWARDS (11): Bethany Balcer (NRI), Jorian Baucom (NRI), Kiersten Dallstream (NRI), Shea Groom, Darian Jenkins, Jaycie Johnson, Emma Kete (NRI), Summer Mason (NRI), Megan Rapinoe (NYR), Jasmyne Spencer, Jodie Taylor (NYR)


GOALKEEPERS (4): Grace Bendon (NRI), Didi Haracic (NYR), Kaylan Marckese (CDP), Kailen Sheridan (NYR)

DEFENDERS (8): Caprice Dydasco, Sabrina Flores (CDP), Mandy Freeman, Asako Ideue (NRI), Estelle Johnson, Amandine Pierre-Louis, Domi Richardson, Erica Skroski

MIDFIELDERS (10): Imani Dorsey, Julie James, Sarah Killion, Carli Lloyd (NYR), Paige Monaghan, Gabriela Morais (NRI), Shade Pratt (NRI), Raquel Rodriguez, Madison Tiernan, Kenie Wright (CDP)

FORWARDS (6): Kyra Carusa (CDP), Nahomi Kawasumi, Jen Hoy, Savannah McCaskill, McKenzie Meehan, Elle Sweeney (NRI)


GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart, Melissa Lowder (NRI), Abby Smith

DEFENDERS (12): Katie Bowen (NYR), Rachel Corsie (NYR), Grace Hancock (NRI), Sam Johnson, Michelle Maemone (CDP), Sydney Miramontez, Rebecca Moros, Maddie Nolf (CDP), Kelley O’Hara (NYR), Becky Sauerbrunn (NYR), Haley Skolmolski (NRI), Gaby Vincent (NRI)

MIDFIELDERS (9):  Lo’eau LaBonta, Veronica Boquete, Makenzy Doniak, Amanda Laddish, Taylor Lytle, Gunny Jónsdóttir (NYR), Diana Matheson (NYR), Desiree Scott (NYR), Raissa Strom Okimito (NRI)

FORWARDS (6): Christen Press (NYR), Brittany Ratcliffe, Amy Rodriguez, Katie Stengel, Erika Tymrak, Alexandra Kimball (CDP)


GOALKEEPERS (5): Aubrey Bledsoe, Shae Yanez (NRI), Samantha Leshnak (NRI), Rachel Boaz (NRI), Sammy Jo Prudhomme (NRI)

DEFENDERS (11): Megan Crosson, Jessica Davis (NRI), Mallory Eubanks, Amy Harrison (NYR), Tegan McGrady (CDP), Sam Staab (CDP), Paige Nielsen, Dorian Bailey (CDP), Mackenzie Berryhill (NRI), Carlin Hudson (NRI), Jackie Simpson (NRI), Megan Cox (NRI)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Meggie Dougherty Howard, Rose Lavelle (NYR), Joanna Lohman, Andi Sullivan (NYR), Chloe Logarzo (NYR), Tori Huster, Jordan DiBiasi (CDP, NYR), Amanda Rooney (NRI)

FORWARDS (10): Cali Farquharson, Ashley Hatch, Arielle Ship, Mallory Pugh (NYR), Cheyna Matthews (NYR), Bayley Feist (CDP), MyKayla Brown (NRI), Georgia Cloepfil (NRI), Tiffany McCarty (NRI), Lana Spitler (NRI)

NWSL preseason schedules for every team

NWSL preseason kicked off March 4

Thorns FC set to host fourth-annual Spring Invitational. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

NWSL preseason kicked off on Monday, March 4. While the regular season is only a little over a month away, there are plenty of chances to see your team in action before the start of the 2019 season on April 13.

Here’s the list of NWSL preseason matches for every team in the league.

For more details on how to attend, check with each team for their preseason matches.

 

Chicago Red Stars

March 9 | vs. University of Missouri | 3:00 p.m. ET (closed to public)

March 24 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | Merlo Field, University of Portland | 8:00 p.m. ET

March 27 | vs. Reign FC | Merlo Field, University of Portland | 4:30 p.m. ET

March 30 | vs. U.S. WNT U-23 | Merlo Field, University of Portland | 4:30 p.m. ET

 

Houston Dash

March 7 | vs. Houston Baptist University | Sorrels Field – HBU | 8:00 p.m. ET

March 9 | vs. University of Texas | Houston Sports Park | 4:00 p.m. ET

March 16 | Intra-Squad scrimmage | Houston Sports Park | 11:00 a.m. ET

March 23 | vs. Texas A&M University | Ellis Field – TAMU | 6:00 p.m. ET

March 30 | vs. Texas Tech University | Houston Sports Park | 3:00 p.m. ET

March 30 | vs. Baylor University | Houston Sports Park | 6:00 p.m. ET

North Carolina Courage

March 9 | vs. Clemson | WakeMed Soccer Park, Field 7 | 12:30 p.m. ET

March 19 | vs. UNC | Location TBD | 3:30 p.m. ET

March 20 | vs. Wake Forest | Location TBD | 4:00 p.m. ET

March 23 | vs. Orlando Pride | Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park | 1:00 p.m. ET

March 30 | vs. South Carolina | WakeMed Soccer park, Field 4 | 2:00 p.m. ET

April 6 | vs. Virginia | WakeMed Soccer Park, Field TBD | 2:00 p.m. ET

Orlando Pride

March 23 | vs. North Carolina Courage | Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park | 1:00 p.m. ET

Remaining preseason games TBA at a later date.

Portland Thorns FC

March 24 | vs. Chicago Red Stars | Merlo Field, University of Portland | 8:00 p.m. ET

March 27 | vs. U.S. WNT U-23 | Merlo Field, University of Portland | 10:30 p.m. ET

March 30 | vs. Reign FC | Merlo Field, University of Portland | 10:30 p.m. ET

Reign FC

March 16 | vs. UCLA Bruins | SilverLakes Soccer Complex | 3:00 p.m. ET

March 24 | vs. U.S. WNT U-23 | Merlo Field, University of Portland | 2:30 p.m. ET

March 27| vs. Chicago Red Stars | Merlo Field, University of Portland | 4:30 p.m. ET

March 30 | vs. Portland Thorns FC | Merlo Field, University of Portland | 10:30 p.m. ET

April 5 | vs. University of Washington | Husky Soccer Stadium, UW | 10:30 p.m. ET

Sky Blue FC

March 16 | vs. St. John’s University | Sportika Sports | 3:00 p.m. ET

March 23 | vs. University of West Virginia | Sportika Sports | 3:00 p.m. ET

March 29 | vs. Rutgers University | Sportika Sports | 7:00 p.m. ET

April 6 | vs. University of North Carolina | Sportika Sports | 3:00 p.m. ET

 

Utah Royals FC

March 20 | vs. Long Beach University | George Allen Field, Long Beach, CA | 10:00 p.m. ET

March 23 | vs. USC Trojans | George Allen Field, Long Beach, CA | 3:15 p.m. ET

Washington Spirit

March 16 | vs. James Madison University | City Stadium, Richmond, VA | 7:00 p.m. ET

March 23 | vs. FC Bordeaux | Maryland SoccerPlex | 7:00 p.m. ET

March 30 | vs. University of North Carolina | Evergreen Sportsplex, Leesburg, VA | 5:00 p.m. ET

April 6 | vs. Virginia Tech | Maryland SoccerPlex | 7:00 p.m.

Notebook: Player signings, theme nights, and more as NWSL preseason kicks off

The latest NWSL news

Kopmeyer signed a new contract with the Orlando Pride for this season. (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com)

Preseason is officially here. Teams are up and running and preseason rosters are being announced, but there is still plenty more news to catch up on across the league.

On Monday, the Washington Spirit announced the signing of all five of their 2019 NWSL College Draft picks. The Spirit signed first-round picks Jordan DiBiasi, Sam Staab, Tegan McGrady and Dorian Bailey, and second-round pick Bayley Feist.

“We feel we’ve drafted five top players who can all contribute right away in this league, and we believe making an immediate commitment to them is important,” Spirit head coach Richie Burke said in the team’s press release. “We’ve got five young stars of the future and I’m really looking forward to integrating them into our squad.”

MORE | Draft recap: NWSL welcomes new players in Chicago

The Spirit also announced nine theme nights during the 2019 season at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

“From day one I have said we are going to transform our fan experience with significant enhancements to all we do,” Washington Spirit CEO Larry Best said in the Spirit’s press release. “Our Monumental Sports and NBC Sports Washington broadcast agreement was the start. Next was the Fan Zone, improved concessions and in-seat service, and the launch of our online shopping. Today, we are announcing game themes for the first time. Details about these theme nights and other exciting news will soon follow. This party is just getting started!”

May 4 | Reign FC – Star Wars Night

May 18 | Portland Thorns FC – Armed Forces Night

June 1 | Utah Royals FC – Development Academy Senior Night

June 22 | Houston Dash – Pride Night

June 29 | North Carolina Courage – Teacher Appreciation Night

July 20 | Houston Dash – First Responders Night

August 10 | Chicago Red Stars – Public Servants Night

August 21 | Utah Royals FC – Youth Soccer Night

September 28 | North Carolina Courage – Nurses Appreciation Night

 


Sky Blue FC also announced their schedule of theme nights for 2019 home games at Yurcak Field.

April 20 | Houston Dash – Home Opener

April 28 | Portland Thorns FC – World Cup Sendoff

May 11 | Washington Spirit – Champion Women Night

May 25 | Portland Thorns FC – Memorial Weekend

June 22 | Orlando Pride – Pride Night

July 12 | Utah Royals FC – Health & Wellness Night

July 24 | Washington Spirit – World Cup Return

August 14 | Chicago Red Stars – Back to School Night


The Houston Dash acquired defenders Satara Murray and Ari Romero through the NWSL Discovery Process, the club announced on Monday.

Murray joins Houston from Liverpool FC Women in England’s FA Women’s Super League. The defender spent four seasons with Liverpool FC. Romero joins the Dash from Valur Reykjavík in Iceland’s Úrvalsdeild kvenna.

“We’re very excited to be adding SataraShe will bring vast experience from four years of playing for Liverpool,” said head coach James Clarkson.I would like to thank Liverpool for working with us to make this possible.  She is from Austin, so it’s also great to be adding a Texan to the squad.” 

The Dash also announced their preseason schedule over the weekend. The Dash will play against five universities in addition to an intra-squad scrimmage. On March 7, the Dash will travel to face Houston Baptist University and two days later will host the University of Texas on March 9.

On March 16, the Dash will host an intra-squad scrimmage and then will travel to Texas A&M on March 23. On March 30, the Dash will wrap up preseason play with a doubleheader at Houston Sports Park against Texas Tech and Baylor University.


The Orlando Pride re-signed five players to new contracts, the club announced over the weekend. The club signed goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer, defender Toni Pressley, and forwards Camila, Rachel Hill and Danica Evans to new contracts.

“I am personally delighted that the players have signed for the new season,” new Pride head coach Marc Skinner said in the Pride’s release. “We’re really excited to finally get started. From now on, it’s a matter of a collective effort to challenge and continually improve every day. It’s the start of something really exciting for everyone involved.”


Chicago Red Stars forward Stephanie McCaffrey announced she will not return to the Red Stars for the 2019 season due to her ongoing neurological illness.

“After a long and trying battle with a neurological illness this year, my doctors, family, and I have decided it is not in the best interest of my health to continue playing professional soccer,” McCaffrey said in a statement.

McCaffrey was selected fifth overall by Chicago in the 2015 NWSL College Draft out of Boston College. She was then traded to the Boston Breakers, but found her way back to the Red Stars in a trade in the summer of 2016. She made 34 appearances over three seasons and scored twice.

SheBelieves Cup: USWNT and England tie, Japan beats Brazil

The SheBelieves Cup concludes Tuesday with Japan vs. England and U.S. vs. Brazil

Megan Rapinoe scored the game's first goal for the United States in the 2-2 draw vs. England. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The United States and England tied 2-2 in a back-and-forth game to conclude Day 2 of the SheBelieves Cup in Nashville. The result is the second consecutive 2-2 draw for the United States in the tournament, and drops their overall record in 2019 to 1-1-2.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of things we need to fix from the last two games – the goals against. There’s some great lessons in here for us but we have to learn them. We have to get better. We can’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again,” Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe said on FOX after the game.

“Too many technical errors, too many tactical lapses, and we’re getting exposed for it. And onto the World Cup, it’s only going to get worse so we need to learn from these things quickly.”

The U.S. is in third place in the tournament with two points. Japan and England are tied on points with four, and Japan is in first place on goal differential.

On Saturday vs. England, Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch earned the start and her first international appearance as Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher missed the match with a shoulder injury.

After a fairly quiet first half hour, both teams scored brilliant goals to take the game into halftime tied at 1-1.

The United States got on the scoresheet first courtesy of a half-volley from Rapinoe. Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O’Hara played a cross into the box that was headed by England defender Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), but Daly’s clearance didn’t go far and fell right to Rapinoe.

England evened the score in the 36th minute on an indirect free kick goal from Steph Houghton. The free kick was set up after Franch picked up a back pass from Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit) with her hands in the penalty box.

After a lengthy delay setting up the free kick, England midfielder Toni Duggan took the first touch and then Houghton bent her shot around the wall, past a diving Franch and inside the far post.

England took the lead in the 52nd minute. Fran Kirby chipped a pass over the United States backline and into the path of Nikita Parris, who slotted it to the far post and past Franch to make it 2-1 in favor of the Lionesses.

England pestered the United States backline all game. In the 62nd minute, Ellen White stole a pass from Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), but hit her shot just wide. Then a minute later, White drew a dangerous free kick from 30 yards out, but Houghton’s shot was deflected by Christen Press (Utah Royals FC) on the wall.

Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn subbed on in the 61st minute, her first appearance of the tournament after missing Wednesday’s opener with a minor injury. Courage midfielder Sam Mewis also made her first appearance of the tournament, subbing on in the 64th minute.

The United States evened it in the 67th minute after a scramble in the box. Rapinoe’s corner kick bounced around and off several players from both teams. Daly cleared one shot off the line, but Portland Thorns FC forward Tobin Heath hit the rebound into the goal to tie the match at 2-2.

The U.S. had a chance to take the lead in the 78th minute, Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz‘s header off a Rapinoe corner kick skimmed off the crossbar.

England also had chances late. In the 90th minute, Reign FC forward Jodie Taylor, who subbed on minutes earlier, played a pass to Duggan, but Duggan’s shot was right at Franch.

The United States pushed hard late for a goal, and Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan had  a chance in the game’s final moments, but England cleared the ball away before she could take a shot.

“I feel like they did leave it all out there on the field. I think we can start the game with the same intensity and enthusiasm we finished that game. But proud of the effort for sure in the second half, valuable lessons for sure,” U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis said on FOX after the game.


In Saturday’s first game, Debinha scored, but Brazil gave up two late goals to Japan to drop their second game of the SheBelieves Cup.

With the 3-1 win, Japan has four points and, following the United States-England draw, is in first place in the tournament. Japan and England are tied on points with four, but Japan is in first place on goal differential. Japan will face England on Tuesday and both teams can claim the SheBelieves Cup title with a win.

Brazil is now eliminated from contending for the SheBelieves Cup. It’s Brazil’s sixth straight loss, a streak that began with a 4-1 loss to the United States at the 2018 Tournament of Nations on August 2. Brazil’s last win was over Japan in last summer’s Tournament of Nations, a 2-1 win on July 29.

On Saturday, Brazil had the majority of the chances in the first half vs. Japan, but fell behind 1-0 on a 44th minute chip from Yuka Momiki.

Momiki scored the 91st minute game-tying goal for Japan vs. the United States on Wednesday night.

But Brazil came out strong in the second half, again earning more good chances than Japan, and eventually capitalized to tie the game. After a number of Brazil shots in the box, North Carolina Courage midfielder Debinha collected a loose ball, turned and sent a right-footed shot across her body and into the lower left corner of the goal to make it 1-1.

Debinha and Orlando Pride forward Marta, who both played all 90 minutes, were key offensive sparks for Brazil in the game.

Japan, however, found their moments and scored two goals in the final ten minutes of the match to take the 3-1 win.

First, after a Japan counterattack led by Jun Endo, Rikako Kobayashi scored on a header assisted by Momiki.

Then in the 85th minute, Yui Hasegawa scored on a left-footed shot through traffic to seal the match.

The SheBelieves Cup concludes on Tuesday night with Japan vs. England and United States vs. Brazil.

 

Notebook: Spirit re-signings; Sky Blue preseason schedule and more

The latest NWSL news

The Spirit midfielder chipped in one assist in the 2018 NWSL season. (Photo credit:

The Washington Spirit re-signed six players for the 2019 NWSL season, the club announced on Friday.

Meggie Dougherty Howard, Mallory Eubanks, Ashley Hatch, Tori Huster, Arielle Ship and Andi Sullivan all will return to the Spirit.

“We have a fabulous group of players returning to our 2019 squad,” said Spirit head coach Richie Burke said in a press release. “I’m really looking forward to getting going with all of them during our preseason preparation starting next week.”

The Spirit also announced earlier in the week that they signed forward/defender Paige Nielsen.

Nielsen was selected in the 2016 NWSL College Draft by Reign FC, but has spent the past few years playing overseas. Most recently Nielsen played in the W-League for Canberra United.

 


Sky Blue FC announced their full preseason schedule which includes four matches at Sportika Sports.

Sky Blue will first face St. John’s University on Saturday, March 16 at 3 p.m. ET. Next up, Denise Reddy’s team will play the University of West Virginia on Saturday, March 23 at 3 p.m. ET and then will close out the month against Rutgers University on Friday, March 29 at 7 p.m. ET. Sky Blue’s final preseason match will be against the University of North Carolina on Saturday, April 6 at 3 p.m. ET.

 


On Friday,  Reign FC defender Yael Averbuch announced that she will not return to the team for preseason ahead of the 2019 NWSL season due to illness. Averbuch has been in an ongoing battle with ulcerative colitis.

“Yael is a warrior. I know how much she loves the game and how hard she has worked to get back on the pitch,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a press release. “The entire team supports her in her fight to get healthy and we’ll welcome her back to the team whenever she is ready to play again.”

“I look forward to returning to play with Reign FC as soon as I’m physically able to give it my all,” said Averbuch.

 

SheBelieves Cup: England wins, USWNT and Japan tie

The tournament now moves to Nashville on Saturday

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath had an assist again Japan. (Photo credit: Howard Smith/isiphotos.com)

On a cold night in Philadelphia at Talen Energy Stadium, the U.S. women’s national team had to settle for a 2-2 draw against Japan to open up their 2019 SheBelieves Cup campaign.

In similar fashion to last years tournament, Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe put the U.S. on the board early. Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz played Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath down the flank and Heath dribbled with pace end-line and whipped the ball across to a crashing Pinoe. Rapinoe beat Japan’s backline and knocked the ball in for the 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.

In the second half Japan equalized thanks to a one-touch strike from Emi Nakajima in the 67th minute.

In the 78th minute, Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan regained the lead for the USWNT. After subbing into the game just moments before, Utah Royals FC forward Christen Press made an immediate impact when she gained possession of the ball in the final third and crossed the ball into the path of Morgan. This was Morgan’s 99th international career goal for the United States.

In stoppage time (90+1′), Japan’s Yuka Momiki finished near post past Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to level up the game at 2-2. With the result, the U.S. and Japan both finished the day with one point in the standings of SheBelieves Cup.


Earlier in the day, England beat Brazil 2-1 to kick off the 2019 SheBelieves Cup. Beth Mead scored the game-winner for the Lionesses in the 75th minute.

Orlando Pride forward Marta set up the early magic for Brazil when she made a dynamic run into the box forcing England defender Lucy Bronze to commit to her. Bronze fouled Marta and Brazil was rewarded with penalty kick. Andressa Alves finished the penalty kick and Brazil went up 1-0 in the 16th minute.

At the beginning of the second half, Ellen White leveled the match with a far post left-footed shot. The Lionesses found their stride in the second half and Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly entered the match for England just moments before Mead’s game-winner. Mead’s shot looked like it was a dangerous cross to the far post, but the ball cruised into the upper net to seal the game at 2-1.

 

Notebook: Fox announces WWC coverage; news across the NWSL

Coaching hires, roster news and more

Aly Wagner is heading to France this summer with FOX. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

We’re officially 100 days out from the start of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

On Wednesday, FOX announced major details of its coverage for France this summer, including its top commentary team, television schedule and digital plans. Aly Wagner and JP Dellacamera will lead FOX’s broadcast team, and the network will headquarter its coverage from Paris from a set at Place du Trocadéro.

All 52 matches of the World Cup will air live across the FOX networks: 22 will be on broadcast television on FOX, 27 matches will air on FS1, and three will air on FS2. All of the games will also be streamed via FOXsports.com and their app.

FOX provided a document with a full listing of their programming for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The network will also be providing additional coverage via two daily studio shows. FOX will also stream a new show every matchday via Twitter from their studio, and will support the specific World Cup content with coverage on FOX Soccer Tonight from their Los Angeles location.


On Wednesday, the Orlando Pride announced that Carl Green will be joining the team as an assistant coach. Much like new head coach Marc Skinner, Green is also incoming from Birmingham City Women.

Green previously served as Birmingham City’s Sports Scientist and Strength and Conditioning coach, and he also holds a UEFA “B” coaching license.

“Carl is an integral part of my team and I am thrilled that he is able to join me at the start of this exciting project. Carl has a wonderful blend of applied functional sports science and coaching. His personality is infectious and I’m sure the players will love his attitude and love working with him,” Marc Skinner said in Orlando’s press release.


The Chicago Red Stars have added Megan Young as the First Team High-Performance Director ahead of the 2019 season. Young previously worked for Auburn University, including strength and conditioning programming for their women’s soccer and basketball programs.

“I am excited to bring my performance expertise and integrate that with a club and coaching staff who value investment in multi-modal approaches to improve the women’s success and maximize their performance,” Young said in the team’s press release.


On Wednesday, the Washington Spirit announced they have waived defender Whitney Church.

The Spirit drafted Church in 2015 with the No. 30 overall pick, and Church played four seasons in Washington. She played every minute of their postseason run to the 2016 NWSL Championship in Houston. Last year, she appeared in 22 regular season games for the Spirit, and finished second on the team in defensive clearances with 103.

Church has cleared the waiver process and is now discovery eligible for the other eight clubs across the league.


Reign FC also shared two player-related news items on Wednesday.

Defender Alyssa Kleiner announced her retirement from professional soccer via an Instagram post on February 10. Before her time with Reign FC in 2018, Kleiner also played for Portland Thorns FC and the Washington Spirit.

“It’s been amazing to see my dream of playing professional soccer realized,” Kleiner said in Reign FC’s press release. “I’m thankful for my fans, coaches, staff, and teammates for their love and support throughout the years. This beautiful game will always hold a special place in my heart, but it is time to grow in other aspects. I’m excited for the next challenge that lies ahead of me!”

Reign FC also announced that they have signed midfielder Morgan Proffitt, marking her return to the NWSL after heading to SK Slavia Praha of the Czech First Division in 2018. Proffitt previously played for both the Red Stars and the Spirit before heading to Europe last summer.

“I’m looking forward to working with Morgan this season,” head coach Vlatko Andonovski said in the team’s press release. “She’s a talented player with a lot of potential and I know she’ll be a valuable addition to our midfield.”

Notebook: Courage re-signings; Killion back with Sky Blue FC; Utah preseason schedule

The latest NWSL news

Debinha returns to the Courage for the 2019 NWSL season. (Photo credit: John Todd/isiphotos.com)

Preseason is just around the corner, with teams reporting in on March 4. Here’s all the latest news from around the NWSL.

The North Carolina Courage announced that forward Jessica McDonald, forward Kristen Hamilton, defender Jaelene Hinkle, midfielder Elizabeth Eddy and forward Debinha will all be returning for the 2019 NWSL season. All five of these players have been with the Courage since 2017 when the club was relocated to Cary, North Carolina.

Utah Royals FC announced their preseason schedule on Monday. Laura Harvey’s squad, in its second season, will report to training camp next week at Zions Bank Training Center. After 10 days of camp, Utah will travel to Los Angeles, California from March 18-23 to face Long Beach University on March 20 and then University of Southern California on March 23. Both games will be played at George Allen Field in Long Beach, California.

MORE | Full 2019 NWSL Schedule 


On Monday, Sky Blue FC welcomed back midfielder Sarah Killion for her fifth season. Sky Blue re-signed Killion to a new contract ahead of the 2019 NWSL season.

“I have spent four years with Sky Blue FC and while every year has brought its own challenges, improvements are now being made in this organizations,” Killion said in the team’s press release.

“I trust that the right steps are being taken for the good of the players and staff. My teammates are tough, resilient, skilled and extremely hard-working. I know that they show up every day and bring their 100% regardless of circumstances or conditions. I feel honored and blessed to sign another contract with Sky Blue and to wear the same jersey as the player next to me. This year is going to have to be a collective effort from the top down, but I am so excited to be a part of what is about to unfold at Sky Blue FC. Preseason cannot come soon enough!”

Killion has scored 10 goals and recorded six assists in 82 appearances since joining the New Jersey club. Last season, Killion was first on her team in multiple categories and was the only player to appear in every match. She was first in interceptions (53), tackles (71), passes (1,139) and touches (1,539).


On Tuesday, the U.S. women’s national team updated their SheBelieves Cup roster and listed Chicago Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico as out due to a reaggravated groin injury. Colaprico initially sustained the injury while playing in the W-League this past season for Sydney FC. Defender Emily Fox will replace Colaprico on the roster.

MORE | SheBelieves Cup rosters, how to watch

 

Houston Dash acquire Christine Nairn from the Orlando Pride

The Pride get a 2019 international roster spot and the Dash’s natural third- and fourth-round picks in the 2020 NWSL College Draft

Christine Nairn scored one goal and had four assists in 2018. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

Midfielder Christine Nairn has been acquired by the Houston Dash from the Orlando Pride in exchange for a 2019 international roster spot and the club’s natural third- and fourth-round picks in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, the clubs announced on Tuesday.

“Christine Nairn is a fantastic addition to the Dash and is going to play an important role this season,” Dash head coach James Clarkson said in Houston’s press release. “She brings a wealth of experience with more than 100 NWSL appearances and will provide great options in midfield.”

Nairn was acquired by the Pride in January 2018 from Reign FC. Last season with the Pride she played in 20 games and chipped in one goal and four assists.

Nairn has been competing in the NWSL since 2013 when she was drafted to Reign FC as the seventh pick overall. Nairn has also played for the Washington Spirit in the NWSL from 2014-2016. The midfielder has 132 career NWSL appearances.

 

NWSL announces full 2019 schedule

The 2019 NWSL season kicks off on April 13

Lindsey Horan was named the 2018 NWSL MVP. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

The National Women’s Soccer League released the full 2019 regular season schedule on Thursday. For the third-straight year all nine teams will play a 24-game regular season schedule, with 12 home games and 12 away games.

Preseason will begin on March 4 and the regular season will begin the weekend of April 13-14. The league will take a break for the group stage of 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup from June 3-14 and return June 15-16. The regular season will conclude with four matches on October 12.

The 2019 NWSL Championship will take place on October 26.

MORE | Full 2019 NWSL Regular Season Schedule

For 2019, fans in the United States can watch all of the NWSL’s regular season matches via streaming on Yahoo! Sports. International fans will be still be able to follow the action on the NWSL app and NWSLsoccer.com

  • The season kicks off with the reigning 2018 NWSL Champions, the North Carolina Courage, taking on two-time Golden Boot winner and NWSL’s all-time leading goal scorer Sam Kerr and the Chicago Red Stars on April 13 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The Washington Spirit and Sky Blue FC will also face-off on April 13 at Maryland SoccerPlex.
  • Portland Thorns FC fans will have to wait until June 2 for the big home opener at Providence Park. All of the other NWSL teams have their home openers in April, but Providence Park has been undergoing a large expansion construction project that won’t be complete until later this spring.
  • The Thorns have a chance to set a new attendance record in the NWSL thanks to the expansion of Providence Park, with a new seating capacity of around 25,000. The Orlando Pride still hold the all time NWSL record thanks to the 23,403 fans who attended their inaugural match in 2016.
  • Reign FC will make their debut in Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington on Sunday, April 21 vs. the Orlando Pride.
  • This year there will be 12 mid-week (Wednesday) games and one game on Monday, May 27 at Cheney Stadium featuring Reign FC vs. the North Carolina Courage.

Full schedule (all times ET)

Game Date Time
NC Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars 4/13/19 7:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue FC 4/13/19 7:00 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns FC 4/14/19 5:00PM
Houston Dash vs. Reign FC 4/14/19 6:00 PM
NC Courage vs. Orlando Pride 4/17/19 7:00 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC 4/20/19 3:30 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash 4/20/19 6:00 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. Washington Spirit 4/20/19 9:00 PM
Reign FC vs. Orlando Pride 4/21/19 10:00 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Utah Royals FC 4/27/19 7:30 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Reign FC 4/27/19 8:00 PM
Houston Dash vs. NC Courage 4/28/19 6:00 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Portland Thorns FC 4/28/19 6:00 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars 5/3/19 9:30 PM
NC Courage vs. Sky Blue FC 5/4/19 7:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Reign FC 5/4/19 7:00 PM
Houston Dash vs. Orlando Pride 5/5/19 6:00 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Washington Spirit 5/11/19 3:00 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash 5/11/19 3:30 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns FC 5/11/19 7:30 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. NC Courage 5/12/19 6:00 PM
Reign FC vs. Sky Blue FC 5/18/19 4:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns FC 5/18/19 7:00 PM
NC Courage vs. Utah Royals FC 5/19/19 5:00 PM
Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars 5/19/19 6:00 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Portland Thorns FC 5/25/19 6:00 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. Orlando Pride 5/25/19 8:00 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington Spirit 5/26/19 6:00 PM
Reign FC vs. NC Courage 5/27/19 7:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Utah Royals FC 6/1/19 7:00 PM
Orlando Pride vs. NC Courage 6/1/19 7:30 PM
Reign FC vs. Houston Dash 6/2/19 4:00 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars 6/2/19 6:00 PM
Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit 6/15/19 10:00 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. Sky Blue FC 6/15/19 10:00 PM
NC Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC 6/15/19 7:45 PM
Houston Dash vs. Orlando Pride 6/15/19 8:30 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Utah Royals FC 6/21/19 11:00 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Orlando Pride 6/22/19 7:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash 6/22/19 7:00 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Reign FC 6/23/19 6:00 PM
Utah Royals FC FCvs. Reign FC 6/28/19 10:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. NC Courage 6/29/19 7:00 PM
Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns FC 6/29/19 8:30 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars 6/30/19 5:00PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Reign FC 7/5/19 11:00 PM
NC Courage vs. Houston Dash 7/5/19 7:00 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit 7/6/19 7:30 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Sky Blue FC 7/6/19 8:00 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Utah Royals FC 7/12/19 7:30 PM
NC Courage vs. Reign FC 7/13/19 7:00 PM
Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars 7/13/19 8:30 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride 7/14/19 3:00 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. Portland Thorns FC 7/19/19 10:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash 7/20/19 7:00 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Sky Blue FC 7/20/19 7:30 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. NC Courage 7/21/19 6:00 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Houston Dash 7/24/19 10:30 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Washington Spirit 7/24/19 7:30 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. NC Courage 7/27/19 10:00 PM
Reign FC vs. Chicago Red Stars 7/28/19 4:00 PM
Houston Dash vs. Sky Blue FC 7/28/19 7:00 PM
Houston Dash vs. Reign FC 8/2/19 7:00 PM
NC Courage vs. Washington Spirit 8/2/19 7:00 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Sky Blue FC 8/3/19 11:00 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Utah Royals FC 8/3/19 8:00 PM
Reign FC vs. Portland Thorns FC 8/7/19 10:00 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. Sky Blue FC 8/7/19 10:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars 8/10/19 7:00 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash 8/10/19 7:30 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. NC Courage 8/11/19 3:00 PM
Reign FC vs. Utah Royals FC 8/11/19 4:00 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars 8/14/19 7:00 PM
NC Courage vs. Houston Dash 8/16/19 7:00 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit 8/17/19 10:30 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Utah Royals FC 8/17/19 7:30 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Reign FC 8/18/19 1:00 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride 8/21/19 7:30 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Utah Royals FC 8/21/19 7:30 PM
NC Courage vs. Reign FC 8/24/19 7:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride 8/24/19 7:30 PM
Houston Dash vs. Sky Blue FC 8/24/19 8:30 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars 8/25/19 3:00 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit 8/31/19 7:30 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. Portland Thorns FC 9/6/19 9:30 PM
Reign FC vs. Orlando Pride 9/7/19 10:00 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. NC Courage 9/7/19 3:00 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Houston Dash 9/8/19 6:00 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. NC Courage 9/11/19 10:30 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars 9/11/19 7:30 PM
Houston Dash vs. Utah Royals FC 9/13/19 8:30 PM
NC Courage vs. Orlando Pride 9/14/19 7:00 PM
Washington Spirit vs. Reign FC 9/14/19 7:30 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars 9/15/19 5:00 PM
Reign FC vs. Utah Royals FC 9/18/19 10:00 PM
Reign FC vs. Sky Blue FC 9/21/19 10:00 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Houston Dash 9/21/19 10:30 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington Spirit 9/21/19 8:00 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. NC Courage 9/21/19 9:00 PM
Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit 9/25/19 8:30 PM
Washington Spirit vs. NC Courage 9/28/19 7:00 PM
Chicago Red Stars vs. Utah Royals FC 9/28/19 8:00 PM
Sky Blue FC vs. Orlando Pride 9/29/19 1:00 PM
Reign FC vs. Portland Thorns FC 9/29/19 4:00 PM
Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit 10/12/19 10:30 PM
NC Courage vs. Sky Blue FC 10/12/19 7:00 PM
Orlando Pride vs. Reign FC 10/12/19 7:30 PM
Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash 10/12/19 9:30 PM

 


England, Brazil name rosters for SheBelieves; tournament begins on Wednesday

England vs. Brazil and United States vs. Japan on the first day of the SheBelieves Cup on Feb. 27

Rachel Daly has been called in by England for the SheBelieves Cup. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne/isiphotos.com)

Earlier this week, England and Brazil announced their rosters for the 2019 SheBelieves Cup with NWSL players on both teams. The United States and Japan released their rosters last week, so the full tournament slate is set and all four teams will feature NWSL players. The tournament begins on February 27 in Philadelphia.

Jodie Taylor (Reign FC) and Rachel Daly (Houston Dash) have been named to the squad for England. Marta (Orlando Pride) and Debinha (North Carolina Courage) are on the roster for Brazil, as well as former Pride defender Mônica, who recently left the club.

Update  — On February 25, England announced that Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride) has been called in to replace Jill Scott.

Update  — On February 26, U.S. Soccer announced that Emily Fox will replace Danielle Colaprico on the USWNT’s roster, after Colaprico suffered a reaggravation of a groin injury.

 

Full SheBelieves Cup rosters for all four teams:

Brazil

Goalkeepers: Aline, Letícia, Luciana

Defenders: Érika, Jucinara, Kathellen, Letícia, Mônica, Poliana, Tamires, Tayla

Midfielders: Andressa Alves, Formiga, Juliana, Luana, Marta, Thaisa

Forwards: Adriana, Beatriz Zaneratto, Debinha, Geyse, Ludmila, Raquel

 

England

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley, Mary Earps, Carly Telford

Defenders: Gemma Bonner, Lucy Bronze, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Steph Houghton, Abbie McManus, Demi Stokes, Leah Williamson

Midfielders: Karen Carney, Isobel Christiansen, Fran Kirby, Lucy Staniforth, Georgia Stanway, Chioma Ubogagu, Keira Walsh

Forwards: Toni Duggan, Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, Jodie Taylor, Ellen White

 

Japan

Goalkeepers: Erina Yamane, Rei Takenaka, Ayaka Saito

Defenders: Aya Sameshima, Saori Ariyoshi, Saki Kumagai, Shiori Miyake, Risa Shimizu, Risako Oga, Nana Ichise, Asato Miyagawa, Moeka Minami

Midfielders: Mizuho Sakaguchi, Rumi Utsugi, Emi Nakajima, Moeno Sakaguchi, Arisa Matsubara, Yui Hasegawa, Hina Sugita, Narumi Miura

Forwards: Kumi Yokoyama, Yuka Momiki, Mayu Ikejiri, Rikako Kobayashi, Jun Endo

 

United States

Goalkeepers:  Adrianna Franch, Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher

Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Emily Fox, Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Casey Short, Emily Sonnett

Midfielders: Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, Samantha Mewis, Andi Sullivan, McCall Zerboni

Forwards: Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe

 


SheBelieves Cup Full Schedule:

Wednesday, Feb. 27 | Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.

  • England vs. Brazil | 4 p.m. ET | ussoccer.com
  • USA vs. Japan | 7 p.m. ET | FS1

Saturday, March 2 | Nissan Stadium; Nashville, Tenn.

  • Brazil vs. Japan | 2 p.m. ET | ussoccer.com
  • USA vs. England | 4:30 p.m. ET | FOX

Tuesday, March 5 | Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.

  • Japan vs. England | 5:15 p.m. ET | ussoccer.com
  • USA vs. Brazil | 8 p.m. ET | FS1

Notebook: Busy week across the NWSL; call-ups, coaching hires, preseason matches and more

The latest NWSL news

The North Carolina Courage and Orlando Pride will meet ahead of the season in a preseason match in Cary, N.C. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

There’s been no shortage of news across the NWSL this week.

Orlando Pride defender Monica announced on Instagram that she will not be returning to the Pride for the 2019 season. Monica played in 17 games for the Pride in 2018 and recorded 15 starts on the backline. She finished the season with 40 clearances, 17 blocks, and 31 interceptions.

View this post on Instagram

It took me a little while to write this to you all because I did not know how to say bye to my purple family. When I came here, the love was instant, from people who did not even know me at the time. I lived some of the best moments of my life here, in Orlando. Here, I was treated as a professional and received from you all daily support and love that I could have never dreamed of. However, unfortunately, this year I will not be part of the purple warriors on the field but I am very happy for all those years I spent here. I am very grateful to all of you who in a certain way helped me and followed me during this time… friends, family and you, my beloved fans, thank you! I hope to come back soon, our journey did not come to an end yet. valeu @obsplayers 👊🏽✅mais uma etapa concluída… #obsplayer #purple #thecrow #pridescrown #ourcityourpride #orlando #futfem #womensoccer #dreams #grateful #gratidao🙏

A post shared by Monica Hickmann Alves (@monicahickmann) on


Sky Blue FC re-signed forward Jen Hoy to a new contract ahead of the 2019 season, the club announced on Wednesday. Hoy was acquired by Sky Blue in a trade with the Chicago Red Stars in January 2018 and appeared in 10 matches in her first season with New Jersey.

“Jen is the type of player that contributes both on and off the field,” Sky Blue FC head coach Denise Reddy said in the club’s press release. “In addition to her talent on the ball, her leadership and experience in the league is a huge asset to this team and we are excited to have her return for another year at Sky Blue.”

Sky Blue FC also announced they have hired assistant coaches Alex Mendolia and Christiane Lessa, as well as goalkeeper coach Hugo Macedo on Thursday.

“We have put together a strong, experienced and diverse technical staff to ensure we get the best out of each individual player,” Reddy said. “These coaches all bring international experience, expertise and are specifically knowledgeable of the women’s game here in the States.”


Washington Spirit forward Cheyna Matthews was named to Jamaica’s national team roster for a set of two friendlies against Chile before the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Before she earned the call-up, Matthews attended Jamaica’s January camp for the first time in her career.


On Wednesday, the North Carolina Courage and Orlando Pride announced that they will play in a preseason game on Saturday, March 23 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The game will be a part of North Carolina Football Club’s first-ever Friendship Cup international doubleheader.

Courage vs. Pride will kick off at 1 p.m. ET followed by NCFC vs. Necaxa of Mexico’s Liga MX at 3:30 p.m. ET.

North Carolina Courage forward Crystal Dunn participated in Major League Soccer’s Black History Month panel. MLS invited five members from the soccer community to come together and discuss race and their black experience in soccer. The full panel is available on the MLS site.


New Australia women’s national team head coach Ante Milicic announced the 23 players that will represent the Matildas at the inaugural Cup of Nations in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne later this month.

The 2019 Cup of Nations will kick-off at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah on Thursday, February 28. 11 NWSL players were named to the roster.

Lydia Williams (Reign FC), Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC), Steph Catley (Reign FC), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Clare Polkinghorne (Houston Dash), Chloe Logarzo (Washington Spirit), Emily Van Egmond (Orlando Pride), Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns FC), Elise Kellond-Knight (Reign FC), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars) and Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC).


In addition to the three Reign FC players named to Australia’s roster, the club sends off seven other players on international duty during the FIFA break. Megan Rapinoe (United States),  Allie Long (United States), Rumi Utsugi (Japan), Jodie Taylor (England), Theresa Nielsen (Denmark) and Celia Jiménez Delgado (Spain).

 

Courage acquire Stephanie Labbé

The Canadian goalkeeper rejoins the NWSL

Stephanie Labbé has 25 career clean sheets for Canada. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The North Carolina Courage have acquired Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé. The club made the news official on Friday and said that per club policy, no further details of the transaction would be disclosed.

Labbé rejoins the NWSL after playing for the Washington Spirit in 2016 and 2017, making 25 appearances and recording seven clean sheets. She parted ways with the Spirit after the 2017 season, and most recently played for Linköpings FC in Sweden.

Labbé joins a team that has earned 26 clean sheets over the last two seasons, including the playoffs, split between two goalkeepers: Katelyn Rowland and Sabrina D’Angelo. This offseason, D’Angelo departed the team for Vittsjö in Sweden, meaning that the Courage were in need of a second goalkeeper.

For the Canadian national team, Labbé has made 57 appearances and earned 25 clean sheets. She was the starting goalkeeper at the 2016 Olympics, where Canada earned a bronze medal. Canada has qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, meaning that Labbé will be likely to miss a portion of the season due to this summer’s tournament.

“Losing Sabs [D’Angelo] was never going to be easy but gaining Steph [Labbé] is massive for the club,” Courage head coach Paul Riley said in a team press release. “She has fantastic feet, excellent organization skills, great shot blocker and has a proven presence which is crucial in the top levels of the game. Her training habits are exemplary and I’m sure Kate [Rowland] and Steph will push each other every day to develop their own game. Proud to have two such quality goalkeepers at the prime of their careers. We are excited to get Steph in our training environment to further improve the squad as we look to establish COURAGE country as the destination for the world’s best players.”

 

 

2019 Home Openers

The Courage will open the 2019 NWSL season at home vs. the Red Stars on April 13

The 2019 NWSL season kicks off on April 13. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The NWSL released the full 2019 schedule on Thursday. Eight teams will play their home openers in the first two weeks of the season, but we’ll have to wait a little longer to see Providence Park in 2019.

Among the highlights: the North Carolina Courage will open the season at home vs. the Chicago Red Stars, in a rematch of the 2017 and 2018 NWSL semifinals.

Due to stadium construction, Portland Thorns FC won’t play their home opener until June 2, when they welcome the Red Stars to the newly renovated Providence Park.

Following their offseason move, Reign FC will play their first game at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma on April 21 vs. the Orlando Pride. The Red Stars will be in the same stadium, but with a new name, as Toyota Park is now Seat Geek Stadium. They’ll host the Thorns on April 20 for their home opener.

View the full list of home openers below.

MORE | 2019 NWSL schedule released

 

Home openers by team:

April 20 vs. Portland Thorns FC
3:30 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Seat Geek Stadium
Tickets


April 14 vs. Reign FC
6 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
BBVA Compass Stadium
Tickets


April 13 vs. Chicago Red Stars
7 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park
Tickets


April 14 vs. Portland Thorns FC
5 P.M. ET
Orlando City Stadium
Tickets


June 2 vs. Chicago Red Stars
6 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Providence Park
Tickets


April 21 vs. Orlando Pride
10 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Cheney Stadium
Tickets


April 20 vs. Houston Dash
6 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Yurcak Field
Tickets


April 20 vs. Washington Spirit
9 P.M. ET
Rio Tinto Stadium
Tickets


April 13 vs. Sky Blue FC
7 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex
Tickets

Home openers by date:

Home teams listed first and in bold

April 13

North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars
7 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park
Tickets

Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue FC
7 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex
Tickets


April 14

Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns FC
5 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Orlando City Stadium
Tickets

Houston Dash vs. Reign FC
6 P.M. ET
BBVA Compass Stadium
Tickets


April 20

Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC
3:30 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Seat Geek Stadium
Tickets

Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash
6 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Yurcak Field
Tickets

Utah Royals FC vs. Washington Spirit
9 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Rio Tinto Stadium
Tickets


April 21

Reign FC vs. Orlando Pride
10 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Cheney Stadium
Tickets


June 2

Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars
6 P.M. ET | Yahoo! Sports
Providence Park
Tickets


XI games to watch this season

The 2019 NWSL season kicks off on April 13

The 2019 NWSL season kicks off on April 13. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Here are eleven games we simply can’t wait to see this season.

 

North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars
Saturday, April 13 | 7 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park

When you break many NWSL records, and complete the best season in American women’s professional soccer history with a dominating 3-0 win in the NWSL Championship, you get to kick off the NWSL season at home. The reigning champions North Carolina Courage will welcome the Chicago Red Stars to Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary on April 13 to open the seventh season of NWSL action.

It’s a rematch of the 2018 NWSL semifinal, which was set to be played in North Carolina, but was moved because of Hurricane Florence. The Courage won the semifinal 2-0 after it was moved to Providence Park in Portland. And that win wasn’t the first time North Carolina has kept Chicago from advancing to the NWSL Championship. The Courage also beat the Red Stars in the 2017 semifinal. Despite the Red Stars going 3-1-2 vs. the Courage during the last two regular seasons, they’ve have not been able to make it past North Carolina in the postseason.

This game could be the professional debut of U.S. women’s national team defender Tierna Davidson, who was drafted by the Red Stars with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft after leaving Stanford early to join the league.


Houston Dash vs. Reign FC
Sunday, April 14 | 6 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
BBVA Compass Stadium

 
The Houston Dash beat Reign FC for the first time last May thanks to Veronica Latsko‘s stoppage time game-winner. Latsko cited the goal as her favorite moment from her rookie season, and for good reason — the Dash had never earned a point vs. the Reign in their history until her goal. The match still stands as the only time the Dash have not lost to the Reign.


Reign FC vs. Sky Blue FC
Saturday, May 18 | 4 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
Cheney Stadium

 
After Reign FC play their first game at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma on April 21, the next time they’ll be at home is on May 18 when Sky Blue FC visit. It’ll be the first time the two teams meet since the offseason trade that sent Shea Groom to the Reign and Nahomi Kawasumi to Sky Blue FC. Kawasumi is beloved by Reign fans, and it will be quite strange for them to see her in the opponent’s jersey.


North Carolina Courage vs. Utah Royals FC
Sunday, May 19 | 5 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park

 
Not only did Utah Royals FC hand the North Carolina Courage their only defeat of the year, they actually never lost to the 2018 NWSL Champions last season—the only team to accomplish the feat. In addition to their last-second dramatic win, Utah pulled off two ties vs. the Courage. Utah Royals FC finished in fifth place in 2018, just shy of getting another chance to face the Courage in the playoffs and, perhaps, pull off another big upset. Brittany Ratcliffe had North Carolina’s number last season—one of just two players to score more than one goal vs. the league’s best defense. The only other player to score twice vs. the Courage? Sam Kerr.

 

Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars
Saturday, July 13 | 8:30 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
BBVA Compass Stadium

 
The NWSL is back with a full slate of games the first weekend after the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the first chance to possibly see the league’s international stars post-tournament. Red Stars and Australia forward Sam Kerr is poised to make headlines in France, and this could be her first NWSL game following the World Cup. The Dash and Red Stars wrapped up their season series on May 12 last year, so it’s been quite awhile since the two teams played each other. The Dash nearly had an opening weekend win over the Red Stars last year, but the Red Stars equalized late to steal a point.

This season will also be the first opportunity for Sofia Huerta and Taylor Comeau to face their old Red Stars team following last year’s blockbuster midseason trade.


Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride
Sunday, July 14 | 3 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
Providence Park

 
Every seat in Providence Park could be filled as Portland Thorns FC welcome the Orlando Pride to town the first Sunday after the Women’s World Cup. With the new capacity of the stadium expected to be around 25,000, the Thorns will have a chance to set a new NWSL record for attendance. The current record is held by the Pride, set in their inaugural home opener.


Utah Royals FC vs. Portland Thorns FC
Friday, July 19| 10 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
Rio Tinto Stadium

 
Lindsey Horan had one of her best performances of the season vs. Utah Royals FC on July 6, a 4-0 win for the Thorns, on her way to winning the MVP trophy. Portland went unbeaten vs. Utah in 2018, scoring seven total goals vs. one of the leagues’s stingiest defenses.


Portland Thorns FC vs. North Carolina Courage
Sunday, August 11 | 3 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
Providence Park

 
Two straight NWSL Championships have now been Courage vs. Thorns (and the teams met in the 2016 semifinals when the Courage were the Western New York Flash). So, there’s a bit of rivalry between the two clubs. While they’ll meet for the first time in 2019 on June 15 in North Carolina, August 11 will be the first time the Courage return to Providence Park since their 3-0 win over the Thorns in the 2018 NWSL Championship. It’ll also be the first time the teams will meet with their full complement of the players, as their first meeting is during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Will 2019 see yet another repeat final between the two teams?


Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride
Wednesday, August 21 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
Seat Geek Stadium

 
The Red Stars—led by two-time Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr —emphatically eliminated the Pride from playoff contention in 2018. In a game the Pride needed to win to stay alive, Kerr was just too much to handle, tallying two goals and an assist in a 3-1 win. Kerr scored four goals in three games vs. Orlando last season.


Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride
Saturday, August 24 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex

 
There always seems to be drama when the Spirit and Pride meet. Who can forget Marta‘s 86th minute game-winning goal from last season?

Or that time Marta and Mallory Pugh each bagged braces with Pugh equalizing in the 90th minute? Or the three highlight reel goals from Marta, Camila and Alex Morgan in 2017? Or Pugh and Ashley Hatch scoring late to steal a win for the Spirit last season?


Reign FC vs. Portland Thorns FC
Sunday, September 29 | 4 p.m. ET
Yahoo! Sports
Cheney Stadium

 
The Reign may have moved to Tacoma, but the Thorns/Reign rivalry will still be strong. Thorns FC beat Reign FC on the final weekend of the regular season to snatch the No. 2 seed away from the Reign, who had held for it much of the season. Then Portland won again at home in the semifinals to advance to the final.

Once again, the final Cascadia clash will come late in the regular season, this time on the Reign’s new home pitch in Tacoma. Will another playoff spot be on the line?


A+E Networks and NWSL end partnership

A+E Networks and NWSL announced the amicable end to their partnership on Thursday

The National Women’s Soccer League issued the following press release on Wednesday:

 

CHICAGO (Feb. 20, 2019) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and A+E Networks today announced an amicable end to their partnership, to take effect immediately, with one year remaining in their three-year broadcast agreement.

The two entities announced their partnership in early 2017, with A+E Networks acquiring an equity stake in the league, joining existing team ownership groups. The joint venture between NWSL and A+E Networks included the launch of NWSL Media to lead media and sponsorship initiatives, and Lifetime became an official sponsor and broadcast partner of the league. Lifetime will continue to support the league through a sleeve sponsorship agreement.

Said David Granville-Smith, COO and CFO, A+E Networks: “A+E Networks and Lifetime were proud to support the amazing athletes of the NWSL and to have produced a first-class Game of the Week production that highlighted their amazing talents. We are excited to continue to support the league with the sleeve sponsorship in 2019 and look forward to seeing the NWSL grow in the years to come.” 

“Our two seasons with A+E were rewarding for our league, players, sponsors and fans, just as we had anticipated, and the experiences on the path we traveled with a national television partner have served NWSL well today and will for the future,” said NWSL President Amanda Duffy.  “The continued support from Lifetime through the sleeve sponsorship speaks to the authenticity and strength of the partnership we forged during these past two seasons. NWSL is a pioneering league, still in its infancy, as it builds and evolves to become the premier women’s league in the world’s most popular sport.”

NWSL Media will continue operating as the commercial arm of the league, overseeing all of its global broadcast and sponsorship rights, and managing all digital assets for the NWSL, including the league’s social media platforms.   

For 2019, all of the NWSL’s regular season matches will be streamed on Yahoo! Sports while international fans will be able to watch games on the NWSL app and NWSLsoccer.com.

The 2019 NWSL season schedule will be released on Thursday, February 21.

Playing its first season in 2013, the NWSL is a 9-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league set to kick off its historic seventh season this year with support from the Canadian Soccer Association and United States Soccer Federation.      

McCaskill’s brace crowns Sydney FC W-League Champions

Sydney FC defeated Perth Glory 4-2 in the W-League Grand Final

Savannah McCaskill finished the Grand Final with two goals in three shots and 89 minutes played. (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com)

Sky Blue FC forward Savannah McCaskill scored a brace on Saturday to lead Sydney FC past Perth Glory 4-2 in the W-League Grand Final.

Houston Dash midfielder Sofia Huerta and new Washington Spirit midfielder Chloe Logarzo chipped in a goal each for the Sky Blues. Sydney FC were crowned the W-League champs for the first time since 2013.

On the other side of the pitch, Perth Glory found the back of the net twice thanks to Chicago Red Stars forwards Sam Kerr and Alyssa Mautz. All six goals in Saturday’s Grand Final came from NWSL players.

Kerr finished the W-League season with 17 goals. Kerr became the first player to ever score three goals in the W-League Finals Series when she scored a hat trick against Melbourne Victory Women in the semifinals. Kerr holds both the W-League (68 goals) and NWSL (59 goals) all-time scoring records.

Huerta opened up the game in the sixth minute when she took a touch with her right foot at the top of the box and then blasted a shot into the right corner to give the Sky Blues a 1-0 lead.

Kerr scored her 17th goal of the season in the 23rd minute to even the game up 1-1.

Sydney FC found a way to get ahead just before the break when Portland Thorns FC forward Caitlin Foord served a ball to the head of McCaskill. McCaskill connected with the service and finished it to make it 2-1 Sydney FC in the 41st minute.

McCaskill finished her second of the day in the 61st minute to extend the Sky Blues lead to 3-1. McCaskill read a lofted header that went over the Perth Glory defense, brought the ball down and finished it far post.

Mautz got Perth Glory to within a goal in the 68th minute with a volley finish, but Logarzo sealed the game up in the 70th minute with an absolute stunner from a distance.

MORE | Spirit acquire Australian internationals Amy Harrison, Chloe Logarzo

Other NWSL players featured in the Grand final were Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride) and Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit) representing Sydney FC, and Rachel Hill (Orlando Pride), Nikki Stanton (Chicago Red Stars) and Katie Naughton (Chicago Red Stars) representing Perth Glory.

Canada, Scotland name Algarve Cup rosters; Japan calls in Utsugi for SheBelieves Cup

The Algarve Cup and SheBelieves Cup begin on February 27

Canada will play Iceland in the Algarve Cup on February 27. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Canada has named eight NWSL players to the 23-woman roster for the Algarve Cup, Canada Soccer announced on Friday.

Canada will face Iceland on February 27 and Scotland on March 1 in the first two games of the tournament in Portugal. Canada will then play a final match on March 6 (opponent to be determined based on standings) to determine placement in the tournament. Both Scotland and Canada are headed to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.

The eight NWSL players: Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash), Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride), Diana Matheson (Utah Royals FC), Desiree Scott (Utah Royals FC), Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC) and Lindsay Agnew (Houston Dash).

The 2019 Algarve Cup will feature Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Norway, China PR, Denmark, Switzerland, Scotland, Iceland, Portugal and Poland. It runs from February 27 to March 6.


 
Canada Algarve Cup Women’s National Team Roster:

GK: Stephanie Labbé, age 32, from Stony Plain, AB
FB: Allysha Chapman, age 30, from Courtice, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
CB: Kadeisha Buchanan, age 23, from Brampton, ON/ Olympique Lyonnais (Division 1 Féminine France)
CB: Shelina Zadorsky, age 26, from London, ON/ Orlando Pride (NWSL)
M: Rebecca Quinn, age 23, from Toronto, ON/ Paris FC (Division 1 Féminine France)
F: Deanne Rose, age 19, from Alliston, ON/ University of Florida Gators (NCAA)
M: Julia Grosso, age 18, from Vancouver, BC / The University of Texas at Austin (NCAA)
M: Diana Matheson, age 34, from Oakville, ON/Utah Royals FC (NWSL)
F: Jordyn Huitema, age 17, from Chilliwack, BC / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)
FB: Ashley Lawrence, age 23, from Caledon, ON/Paris Saint Germain (Division 1 Féminine France)
M: Desiree Scott, age 31, from Winnipeg, MB/ Utah Royals FC (NWSL)
F: Christine Sinclair ( C ), age 35, from Burnaby, BC/ Portland Thorns (NWSL)
M: Sophie Schmidt, age 30, from Abbotsford, BC
M: Gabrielle Carle, age 20, from Lévis, QC/Florida State University (NCAA)
F: Nichelle Prince, age 23, from Ajax, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
F: Janine Beckie, age 24, from Highlands Ranch, CO/ Manchester City (FA Women’s Super League)
M: Jessie Fleming, age 20, from London, ON/UCLA (NCAA)
GK: Erin McLeod, age 35, from St. Albert, AB/ Växjö DFF (Damallsvenskan)
F: Adriana Leon, age 26, from King City, ON/West Ham United (FA Women’s Super League)
CB: Shannon Woeller, age 29, from Vancouver, BC/ Eskilstuna United DFF (Damallsvenskan)
GK: Kailen Sheridan, age 23, from Whitby, ON/ Sky Blue FC (NWSL)
FB: Lindsay Agnew, age 23, from Kingston, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
FB/F: Jenna Hellstrom, age 23, from Sudbury, ON/ Växjö DFF (Damallsvenskan)


On Thursday, Scotland announced the roster for this year’s Algarve Cup. Utah Royals FC defender Rachel Corsie has been called in for the tournament.

Scotland will play Canada on March 1 to open the tournament and then Iceland on March 4, before the final game for placement on March 6.


On Friday, Japan named its roster for this year’s SheBelieves Cup and Reign FC midfielder Rumi Utsugi has been called in for the tournament.

Japan will play its first game vs. the United States in Philadelphia, followed by games vs. Brazil (in Nashville) and England (in Tampa). All four teams are ranked in the top ten in the world, and have qualified for the Women’s World Cup.

The U.S. announced its roster earlier this week. All games will be available to fans in the United States on FOX/FS1 or streaming on ussoccer.com.

SheBelieves Cup Full Schedule:

Wednesday, Feb. 27 | Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.

  • England vs. Brazil | 4 p.m. ET | ussoccer.com
  • USA vs. Japan | 7 p.m. ET | FS1

Saturday, March 2 | Nissan Stadium; Nashville, Tenn.

  • Brazil vs. Japan | 2 p.m. ET | ussoccer.com
  • USA vs. England | 4:30 p.m. ET | FOX

Tuesday, March 5 | Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.

  • Japan vs. England | 5:15 p.m. ET | ussoccer.com
  • USA vs. Brazil | 8 p.m. ET | FS1

Spirit acquire Australian internationals Amy Harrison, Chloe Logarzo

Harrison and Logarzo join the Spirit from Sydney FC

Logarzo has earned 29 caps with the Australian WNT. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The Washington Spirit have signed Australian international Amy Harrison and agreed to a loan for fellow Matilda Chloe Logarzo, the club announced on Thursday, pending completion of international paperwork. Harrison and Logarzo, both midfielders,  join the Spirit from Sydney FC in the W-League.

“Adding two quality players of proven international pedigree like Chloe and Amy is huge for our club,” Spirit head coach Richie Burke said in a press release. “Having spoken to both players regularly during this process, I know they are very excited to join us here in Washington — and I believe they will make a huge impact with our team and in our league.”

Harrison and Logarzo will be on the pitch this weekend in the W-League Grand Final against Perth Glory FC. Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe will also be competing this weekend for Sydney FC.

“It’s not an accident that their Sydney FC team is in the W-League finals this weekend, both players are serial winners and I know they’ll bring that mentality to our club. I’m absolutely thrilled to have both Matildas players at Washington Spirit this season,” Burke said.

Logarzo earned Sydney FC’s Player of the Year honors after starting every game and scoring three goals this W-League season. For Australia, Logarzo has earned 29 caps and scored six goals.

Despite being out with an injury for much of the 2018 W-League season, Harrison made 10 appearances, starting in nine games, for Sydney FC. For the Matildas, Harrison has made eight career appearances.

Notebook: Spirit announce preseason schedule; new social look for USWNT

The latest NWSL news

Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle gears up for her third NWSL season. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne/isiphotos.com)

The Washington Spirit announced their preseason schedule ahead of the 2019 NWSL season on Tuesday. The Spirit are set to play four games and will open up against James Madison University on March 16.

On March 23, the Spirit will welcome Girondins de Bordeaux of the Division 1 Féminine to the Maryland SoccerPlex. The Spirit will wrap up their preseason matches against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels on March 30 and Virginia Tech on April 6.

Washington Spirit 2019 Preseason Schedule
March 16 at City Stadium in Richmond, Va.
Spirit vs. James Madison University at 7 p.m. ET

 

March 23 at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.
Spirit vs. FC Bordeaux at 7 p.m. ET

 

March 30 at Evergreen Sportsplex in Leesburg, Va.
Spirit vs. UNC at 5 p.m. ET

 

April 6 at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.
Spirit vs. Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. ET


The U.S. women’s national team not only announced their 23-player roster for the 2019 SheBelieves Cup, but also has a new social look. Both the USWNT Twitter and Instagram social handles have changed from @ussoccer_wnt to @USWNT.

 


New Jersey’s First Lady Tammy Murphy made a statement on behalf of Sky Blue FC ownership on Tuesday about improvements for 2019. She committed to an active role in the club activities.

“We recognize there have been challenges,” Murphy wrote, “but I am looking forward to working with our team to create a climate of success. We are excited about the new players who are now a part of the Sky Blue family, and we can’t wait to see them join our returning players. But above all, we appreciate the dedication and loyalty of our fans.”

Murphy’s full statement is below:

Ellis names 23 NWSL players to USWNT SheBelieves Cup roster

The SheBelieves Cup begins on February 27

The 2019 SheBelieves Cup will feature the United States, England, Japan and Brazil. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 23-woman roster for the SheBelieves Cup, which begins on February 27. All 23 players are from the NWSL. The U.S. will play its first game on February 27 vs. Japan in Philadelphia, followed by games vs. England (in Nashville) and Brazil (in Tampa).

The U.S., England, Japan and Brazil are all ranked in the top ten in the world. The tournament is a key test for the four Women’s World Cup bound teams ahead of this summer.

This year’s No. 1 overall pick by the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL College Draft, defender Tierna Davidson, is among those named to the roster. Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico, who earned her first two caps at the end of 2018, and North Carolina Courage forward Jessica McDonald, who scored her first goal in November of 2018, are also on the roster.

U.S. Soccer said Portland Thorns FC midfielder and 2018 NWSL MVP Lindsey Horan is unavailable due to a quadriceps injury.

In addition to the 23 on the roster, four more players will be part of the training camp that will be held in Tampa prior to the tournament: goalkeeper Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), defender Merritt Mathias (North Carolina Courage), midfielder Allie Long (Reign FC) and defender Emily Fox (University of North Carolina).

U.S. Soccer also announced that all U.S. games will be broadcast in the U.S. on FS1 or FOX, and the other three games will stream on ussoccer.com. (Full schedule below)


U.S. WNT 2019 SheBelieves Cup Roster (Caps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 19/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 40/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 32/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 14/1), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 77/24), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 112/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 151/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 27/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 28/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars; 2/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 74/18), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 21/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 43/8), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit 11/0), McCall Zerboni (NC Courage; 8/0)

FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 143/25), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 266/105), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 5/1), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 155/98), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 108/47), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 45/13), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC; 146/41)


SheBelieves Cup Full Schedule:

Wednesday, Feb. 27 | Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.

  • England vs. Brazil | 4 p.m. ET | ussoccer.com
  • USA vs. Japan | 7 p.m. ET | FS1

Saturday, March 2 | Nissan Stadium; Nashville, Tenn.

  • Brazil vs. Japan | 2 p.m. ET | ussoccer.com
  • USA vs. England | 4:30 p.m. ET | FOX

Tuesday, March 5 | Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.

  • Japan vs. England | 5:15 p.m. ET | ussoccer.com
  • USA vs. Brazil | 8 p.m. ET | FS1

Notebook: Preseason schedules rolling in; Courage sign Haran

The latest NWSL news

Thorns FC set to host fourth-annual Spring Invitational. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

On Monday, Portland Thorns FC announced the details for their fourth-annual Spring Invitational. The tournament will be presented by Tillamook and will run from March 24-30 at the University of Portland. It will feature four teams: the Thorns, the Chicago Red Stars, Reign FC and the U.S. Under-23 women’s national team.

2019 Thorns Spring Invitational Schedule

Sunday, March 24 at University of Portland (Merlo Field)
Reign FC vs. U.S. U-23 women’s national team at 11:30 a.m. PT
Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars at 5 p.m. PT

Wednesday, March 27 at University of Portland (Merlo Field)
Chicago Red Stars vs. Reign FC at 1:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Thorns FC vs. U.S. U-23 women’s national team at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)

Saturday, March 30 at University of Portland (Merlo Field)
Chicago Red Stars vs. U.S. U-23 women’s national team at 1:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Thorns FC vs. Reign FC at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) 

In other NWSL preseason news, the Red Stars and Reign FC announced their preseason schedules ahead of the 2019 NWSL regular season.

The Red Stars will play four matches throughout preseason, including their three games at the Thorns Spring Invitational and one against the University of Missouri for a closed-door scrimmage on Saturday, March 9.


Reign FC will begin their 2019 campaign with a training session on March 4. Reign FC will then travel to play the UCLA Bruins on March 16 before heading to Portland for the Thorns Spring Invitational on March 24. Reign FC will close out their preseason schedule against the University of Washington on April 5.


The North Carolina Courage announced on Monday that they have acquired Wake Forest University defender, Ally Haran.

“Ally has a fantastic opportunity to stake her claim to a starting job,” Courage head coach Paul Riley said in the team’s press release.

“She has the athleticism, mindset and ability on the ball to fit right in with our environment. At the end of the day, players must love the process of doing their best every day, all of the time. She will be coming into a nurturing, curious environment and it’s our job to get the best out of her. She has many great tools and in a World Cup year she has a brilliant chance to elevate her game and be a key impact member of our squad.”

Kerr scores a historic hat trick in W-League Finals Series

Perth Glory and Sydney FC set to meet in W-League Grand Final this weekend

Sam Kerr is the all-time leading goal scorer in the W-League and the NWSL. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

Perth Glory Women and Sydney FC Women will meet in the W-League Grand Final on Saturday at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium after a thrilling weekend of semifinal action.

Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr made history, again, leading Perth Glory with a hat trick to defeat Melbourne Victory Women. Kerr became the first player to ever score three goals in the W-League Finals Series as Glory finished with a 4-2 victory.

Kerr broke the W-League all-time scoring record last month reaching 64 career goals, and now is at 67 after her explosive performance on Saturday. Kerr is also the all-time leading scorer in the NWSL with 59 goals.

Kerr wasn’t the only NWSL player to put on a show over the weekend. Orlando Pride forward Rachel Hill  also chipped in a goal for Perth Glory and now has six goals this W-League season. Before Hill and Kerr put Perth Glory on the board, Orlando Pride forward Christine Nairn got Melbourne Victory ahead early.

Nairn dribbled with pace down the right flank and whipped in what looked like a driven right-footed service, but the ball slipped in the near post and put Melbourne Victory ahead just under two minutes into the game.

Kerr’s first goal was all about timing–the NWSL and W-League Golden Boot winner managed to read the near-post service from Leticia McKenna and finish one-time with two Melbourne Victory defenders in her path.

Next it was Hill’s turn. She headed home a service from Kerr to give Perth Glory the 2-1 lead in the 86th minute. Melbourne Victory responded with another one of their own before Kerr took over and scored two more times in extra time in the 97th and 107th minute.

Perth Glory return to their third W-League Grand Final.


And returning to their second consecutive W-League Grand Final, Sydney FC defeated Brisbane Roar 2-1 over the weekend. Thorns FC forward Caitlin Foord and Houston Dash midfielder Sofia Huerta scored for Sydney FC. Foord is second-best in the league with 10 goals in 13 appearances. Her 10th goal came in the 32nd minute in the semifinals when she received the ball at the top of the box, turned and finished far post to put her team up 1-0.

Orlando Pride defender Alanna Kennedy assisted Huerta’s goal following a corner. Huerta’s left-footed shot in the 68th minute would be the eventual game-winner.

Several NWSL players will be featured in the Grand Final with Sofia Huerta (Houston Dash), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC), Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns FC), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride) and Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit representing Sydney FC and Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Rachel Hill (Orlando Pride), Nikki Stanton (Chicago Red Stars), Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars) and Katie Naughton (Chicago Red Stars) representing Perth Glory.


The W-League shared a guide to watching the Grand Final

NWSL players set for W-League Finals Series

The W-League Finals Series begins this weekend

Sam Kerr plays for Perth Glory and Yuki Nagasato plays for Brisbane Roar in the W-Leauge. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

The Westfield W-League wrapped up its 11th regular season this past weekend, featuring over 35 NWSL players. The W-League semifinals are set for this weekend with Melbourne Victory facing Perth Glory on Saturday (10 p.m. ET) and then Brisbane Roar hosting Sydney FC on Sunday (3 a.m. ET).

There will be several NWSL players vying for a final berth this weekend–for Melbourne Victory, Christine Nairn (Orlando Pride), Dani Weatherholt (Orlando Pride) and Samantha Johnson (Utah Royals FC) will face the all-time W-League goal scorer Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Rachel Hill (Orlando Pride), Nikki Stanton (Chicago Red Stars), Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars) and Katie Naughton (Chicago Red Stars).

The semifinal between Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory will be a rematch from last weekend when Melbourne Victory defeated Perth Glory 2-1. Despite the defeat, Kerr scored her 11th goal of the season—last month Kerr broke the W-League all-time scoring record reaching 64 career goals. She is now the all-time scorer in both the W-League and the NWSL (59 goals).

MORE | Notebook: Erceg back with Ferns; W-League highlights; Naho thanks Seattle

Orlando Pride forward Rachel Hill scored five goals this season for Perth Glory, good for third-best in the league. She also leads the W-League in assists with six. Perth Glory teammate Alyssa Mautz chipped in four goals, finishing fourth-best in the league.

Melbourne is soaring into the Finals Series after clinching the regular season with a 7-2-3 overall record for 24 points. Christine Nairn finished the regular season with four assists, good for second-best across the league. Nairn was also second for chances created this season with 31.

NWSL players dominated in chances created across the board. Kerr led the way with 39, followed by Nairn and Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns FC/Sydney FC) each with 31 chances created respectively, Hill (29), Elizabeth Addo, who played for Reign FC before being waived this week, created 25 chances, Yuki Nagasato (Chicago Red Stars/Brisbane Roar) created 25 chances, Elise Kellond-Knight (Reign FC/Melbourne City FC) had 25 too, Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars/Perth Glory) created 24 chances and then Theresa Nielsen (Reign FC/Melbourne City FC) created 23 chances.

The other semifinal match features Brisbane Roar vs. Sydney FC. Brisbane Roar have Nagasato (Chicago Red Stars), Clare Polkinghorne (Houston Dash), Carson Pickett (Orlando Pride), Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride), Celeste Boureille (Portland Thorns FC) and Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC).

Sydney FC also are properly stacked with NWSL players in Sofia Huerta (Houston Dash), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC), Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns FC), Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride) and Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit).

Sydney FC return to the W-League Final Series for their 11th consecutive season. Foord scored nine goals in 12 appearances this season, second-best in the league. Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe finished the regular season with 45 saves in 11 appearances, third highest in the W-League.

Brisbane Roar finished in second place in the regular season with 20 points and a 6-4-2 overall record, and Sydney FC finished just behind them in the standings with 19 points and a 6-5-1 overall record. Carson Pickett finished third-highest in the W-League regular season with 63 crosses in 11 appearances.


In addition to all the NWSL players gearing up for the Finals Series, the other five W-League teams also featured NWSL talent. Melbourne City FC Women, who won the last three Grand Finals, have a handful of Reign FC players on the roster: Lauren BarnesSteph Catley, Elise Kellond-Knight, Theresa NielsenJasmyne SpencerJodie Taylor and Lydia Williams. Additionally, Kyah Simon (Houston Dash) also played for Melbourne City this past season, but recently underwent ankle reconstruction surgery.

Melbourne finished the season in fifth place with a 6-5-1 overall record for 19 points.

Reign FC forward Jasmyne Spencer scored four goals in 11 appearances to lead her team.

Adelaide United Women finished the regular season in fourth place with a 5-4-3 record for 18 points. Houston Dash defender Amber Brooks and forward Veronica Latsko played for them this season, along with Utah Royals FC forward Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir. Latsko scored nine goals in 12 appearances for Adelaide, which put her in a three-way tie for second-most goals across the league. Amber Brooks led her side in assists with three in 12 appearances.

Four NWSL players, Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit), Britt Eckerstrom (Portland Thorns FC), Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride) and Katie Stengel (Utah Royals FC) played for the Newcastle Jets this season, however Smith and Stengel both suffered injuries in December. Smith tore her ACL while playing for Newcastle against Perth Glory, and Stengel suffered an ankle injury that has kept her sidelined in a boot. Newcastle finished in seventh place with a 5-6-1 overall record for 16 points.

Eckerstrom finished the regular season with the most saves across the league with 61 in 12 appearances for Newcastle.

Canberra United and the Western Sydney Wanderers sit at the bottom of the W-League ladder after 14 weeks. Canberra United finished in eighth place with a 3-5-4 record for 13 points, while the Western Sydney Wanderers won one game this season and finished at 1-10-1 for four points. Canberra featured three NWSL players in Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC) and Rachel Corsie (Utah Royals FC). The Western Sydney Wanderers had a duo of Utah Royals FC players on their roster in Lo’eau LaBonta and Sydney Miramontez.


The W-League shared a guide to watching the Finals Series.

Notebook: Dagny Brynjarsdottir’s back for Portland, plus more news across the NWSL

The latest NWSL news

In 2017, Brynjarsdottir played in 11 games (6 starts), recording one assist. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

On Monday, the Washington Spirit announced that they have re-signed forward Cali Farquharson ahead of the 2019 NWSL season. Farquharson has made 31 appearances for the Spirit since being drafted in 2016 out of Arizona State University.


Portland Thorns FC also announced a re-signing to start the week. Midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir has re-signed with the Thorns following the birth of her son. Brynjarsdottir played previously in Portland in 2016 and 2017, with 28 appearances and 17 starts.

“We are excited to welcome Dagny back to Portland,” Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons said in the team’s press release. “She is a tenacious and energetic central midfielder who provided plenty of versatility during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. We love Dagny’s winning mentality and her desire to be the best she can be each day. She knows this club inside out and is an important addition ahead of the 2019 season.”


The Football Ferns announced that they will play Norway in two international friendlies in Spain in April. Tom Sermanni’s New Zealand squad will take on Norway in Marbella on April 5 and April 9 in preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Last week the Ferns named their squad for the inaugural Cup of Nations in Australia next month. North Carolina Courage defender Abby Erceg will make her official return from international retirement. Rosie White (Chicago Red Stars) and Katie Bowen (Utah Royals FC) will also represent the NWSL on the roster.

 


The NWSL Players’ Association announced on Monday that they will hold their first ever auction with proceeds benefiting the PA and players of the NWSL.

Big moves for Reign FC: New venue, new city, new minority owners

Reign FC will play home games at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, beginning this season

Seattle Reign FC announced Wednesday that it will move to Tacoma, Washington and play home matches in Cheney Stadium beginning in 2019. Also, the club will now be known as Reign FC.

Cheney Stadium, built in 1960, is also home to the Tacoma Rainiers of Minor League Baseball and Tacoma Defiance (formerly Seattle Sounders FC 2) of the United Soccer League. The Tacoma Defiance began playing their home games at Cheney Stadium in 2018. Cheney Stadium has a capacity of 6,500, with a grass field playing surface.

“We spent a lot of time inside Cheney Stadium to imagine the matchday experience we could provide,” Reign FC owner and president Bill Predmore said in the team’s press release announcing the changes. “We can say with certainty that the experience our players and fans will have at Cheney Stadium will be an exponential jump from what we could deliver at Memorial Stadium.”

Predmore continued: “We worked incredibly hard over the past year to find a solution that would allow us to continue playing our home matches in Seattle, but the requirements imposed by the NWSL limited our options. … Out of these challenging circumstances arose an opportunity that fills us with great optimism for our future.”

In addition to the new name and new venue, the ownership group of Reign FC will expand. The operating group of the Rainiers and Defiance, which is led by Rainiers chairman and CEO Mikal Thomsen, will take a minority ownership stake in Reign FC. Also, Seattle Sounders FC owner Adrian Hanauer and his mother, Lenore Hanauer, will make a separate minority investment in Reign FC.

“Adrian and Lenore have both been supportive of our club since its inception, so we are excited to welcome them to the Reign FC ownership group,” Predmore said. “The renewed strength of the ownership group will provide long-term stability, support and strategic leadership that will ensure that Reign FC is able to achieve success both on and off the pitch.”

Predmore made the announcement at a press conference at Cheney Stadium, alongside Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe. They were joined by Thomsen, Tacoma mayor Victoria Woodards, Rainers president and owner Aaron Artman and Seattle Sounders GM and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey, among others, as part of a larger announcement about sports in Tacoma.

“Can you believe that right here in Tacoma we’re getting a professional women’s soccer team?” Woodards said after announcing the news. “Let’s be frank with one another. Women have not always gotten the most investment in sports, but here in Tacoma, we’re going to get it right. We’re making investments, not just in the sport, but in the women who play the sport, and they deserve to play in spaces that are just as great as the fields and stadiums that we have built for men’s sports teams and that’s what we’ll do in Tacoma. So those of you who know me, know that I say, we can’t do it alone. We’ve got to make this successful together. So let’s all come together. It’s already happening, but let’s make sure that in Tacoma, it is the most successful in the country and we can do that together.”

Artman said at Wednesday’s press conference that Reign FC will train at Foss High School in Tacoma.

“I’ll speak on behalf the team. [I] had conversations with different players, kind of wrapping our head around the move. We genuinely are so excited about this move. I think we see the huge upside and potential that this can offer our club. Everyone is really thrilled to, first of all, play on grass. This is going to add five years to my career,” Rapinoe said with a smile. “It seems like a huge opportunity for the club and to grow the game and for women’s football in general.”

Predmore said the name change to “Reign FC” is to represent the entire region. “Tacoma will be our home, but we’ll invest significant effort to retain our connection to Seattle and the Eastside,” he said in the press release.

Predmore also expressed excitement about the move to Tacoma, a city located on Puget Sound south of Seattle, and the potential that the city and the new partnerships hold for Reign FC. Sounders FC and the Rainiers previously reached an agreement to build a new facility in Tacoma, a 5,000 seat venue on the Cheney Stadium site. Reign FC said that the Metro Parks Tacoma Board and Tacoma City Council have approved feasibility studies of the project, and those studies are underway.

“Over the last year we spent a significant amount of time with the group operating the Rainiers and Sounders FC’s USL squad. We found their vision for growing the game in Tacoma extremely compelling. The more we talked, the more we believed Tacoma could be an ideal long-term option for our organization,” he said.

“Tacoma is a city on the rise. It has an understated charm, many areas of undeniable beauty, and has incredible potential to be the next great city in the Pacific Northwest. It ultimately became clear that Tacoma was the best possible option for our organization.”

Earlier this month, Reign FC announced a new presenting jersey partner in Zulily, a Seattle based online retailer. Zulily will also be the front jersey sponsor for Seattle Sounders FC.

Additionally, the Reign FC online store is live with new 2019 Reign FC merchandise. Fans can visit ReignFCshop.com to shop.

Fans can also visit reignfc.com/tickets to place a deposit on season tickets. The 2019 NWSL season will kick off the weekend of April 13-14.

“We are the newest citizens of the Tacoma community, so we’ll do everything we can to help the city realize its full potential. We are thrilled to call the city our new home.”

In an open letter posted on their website, written by Bill and Teresa Predmore, they addressed Reign FC fans and explained the changes. They also said the team plans to hold free open training sessions in Seattle each month.

“We truly believe the best is yet to come, and we are hopeful that you will continue to support Reign FC as we make this incredible journey forward,” they wrote. [Read the full letter]

Spirit, Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington announce broadcast partnership

The broadcast partnership will provide local TV and digital broadcasts of a minimum of 12 Spirit games

The Spirit finished the 2018 NWSL season in eighth place. (Photo credit: Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com)

On Wednesday, the Washington Spirit announced a new broadcast partnership with Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington for the 2019 NWSL season. The broadcast partnership will provide local TV and digital broadcasts of a minimum of 12 Spirit games during the upcoming season.

The full broadcast schedule for the 2019 season will be provided in the coming weeks, after the NWSL regular season schedule is announced. 

“On the day I was hired I said we were going to greatly improve the Washington Spirit experience for our players and fans. Our partnership with Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington is part of fulfilling this commitment,” Washington Spirit CEO Larry Best said in the team’s press release. “Our fans will have greater access to viewing our matches, and our players will have unprecedented exposure for their world-class play on the field. I’m proud that the Spirit are the first NWSL club to establish this type of partnership and I am delighted that our brand is associated with the best in the business. It doesn’t get better than Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington.”

The Spirit will also work with MSN and NBC Sports Washington on additional cross-promotional activities—promising new original content on the team on and off the field.

“This agreement with Monumental Sports and NBC Sports Washington is truly groundbreaking,” Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan said. “My teammates and I value every avenue for enhancing the bond with our fans and this partnership enables us to take it to another level.”

Notebook: Erceg back with Ferns; W-League highlights; Naho thanks Seattle

The latest NWSL news

Courage defender Abby Erceg was the 2018 NWSL Defender of the Year. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

Football Ferns head coach (and former Orlando Pride head coach) Tom Sermanni has named his squad for the inaugural Cup of Nations in Australia next month. North Carolina Courage defender Abby Erceg has made her official return from international retirement, and other NWSL players named to the roster are Rosie White (Chicago Red Stars) and Katie Bowen (Utah Royals FC).


As the W-League approaches the final stretch of the season, NWSL players continue to shine. Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr is not only the NWSL’s all-time leading scorer with 59 goals, but added another record to her career as she became the all-time leading scorer in the W-League over the weekend with 64 goals.

Portland Thorns FC forward Hayley Raso earned her first start over the weekend for the Brisbane Roar in the W-League after recovering from a serious back injury for the past few months. In her return to the starting lineup, Raso also managed to chip in a goal just 18 minutes into the match.


In continuation of the special relationship between Seattle Reign FC and Nahomi Kawasumi, Kawasumi issued a lengthy heartfelt tribute to her time in Seattle. Earlier this month, Sky Blue FC acquired the midfielder from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for forward Shea Groom.

“For me,” Kawasumi said, “my time at Seattle Reign FC is like my treasure. I cherish my memories with you forever. I love Seattle Reign FC so much, and of course it’s so hard to leave the team I love so much. However, my goal is to keep getting better as a player, I think I still have a lot of room to grow and to get to another level higher, I made a decision to leave the team even though it was very tough decision.”

Her former teammates certainly appreciated the message, but Jess Fishlock also pointed to the culture built by Reign FC in a tweet. “Not only does this show just how amazing NAHO is and why we all love her. But perhaps – also shows how great Reign FC is .. the Organisation .. the Culture it creates to have these WORLD CLASS players not only thrive .. but also have it mean so much to them.”


The Orlando Pride waived defender Poliana last week. According to the Pride press release, Poliana expressed a desire to return to Brazil after the 2018 NWSL season and the two sides mutually agreed to the move.

Player Insight

The 2019 NWSL College Draft picks share their thoughts on playing in the NWSL

(Left to right) Kayla McCoy, Tegan McGrady and Paige Monaghan. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

The 2019 NWSL College Draft picks share who they are most looking forward to sharing the field with in the NWSL.

Featuring: Kayla Sharples (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Ogle (Portland Thorns FC), Marisa Viggiano (Orlando Pride), Ally Prisock (Houston Dash), CeCe Kizer (Houston Dash), Paige Monaghan (Sky Blue FC), Lauren Milliet (North Carolina Courage), Kayla McCoy (Houston Dash), Jordan DiBiasi (Washington Spirit), Tegan McGrady (Washington Spirit), Sam Staab (Washington Spirit) and Jazmin Jackmon (Houston Dash).

Watch more Player Insight videos on our YouTube Playlist.

Press goal lifts USWNT to 1-0 win over Spain

The USWNT gets their first win of 2019

Christen Press scored the game's only goal in the U.S. win over Spain on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

After a loss on Saturday to France, the United States ground out a 1-0 win over Spain on Tuesday at Estadio José Rico Pérez in Alicante. Both teams are headed to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and could meet again this summer — but Tuesday’s game marked the first time the countries had ever played each other. It’s also the first time the U.S. has ever played in Spain.

Utah Royals FC forward Christen Press gave the USWNT the 1-0 lead in the 54th minute with an impressive individual effort. After receiving a pass from Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle several yards shy of the midfield line, Press sprinted the more than half the field and bent a short around goalkeeper Sandra Paños. Spain defender Andrea Pereira tried to clear the ball, but it rolled over the line.

North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni came on in the 69th minute to replace Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz. It’s Zerboni’s first game since breaking her left elbow in September in a USWNT game vs. Chile. Zerboni missed the NWSL playoffs and the Concacaf Women’s Championship due to the injury.

Pride forward Alex Morgan came into the game sitting on 98 goals, and nearly had her 99th in the 80th minute, but Paños hit the long-range effort over the crossbar.

Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe wowed fans with a bicycle kick in the 13th minute as she served the ball into a dangerous area of the box, but it was just out of the reach of Ertz and Morgan, and the U.S. was unable to capitalize on it.

Rapinoe, Ertz and Heath all missed Saturday’s loss to France due to precautionary reasons, but were back in the starting line-up on Tuesday.

The USWNT will next be in action when the SheBelieves Cup begins on February 27.


Starting XI vs. Spain: Alyssa Naeher, Emily Sonnett, Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. The available subs: Samantha Mewis, Carli Lloyd, Mallory Pugh, Tierna Davidson, Jessica McDonald, Christen Press, Ashlyn Harris, McCall Zerboni and Andi Sullivan.

Sinclair scores 178th international goal as Canada opens up 2019 with win over Norway

Sinclair is now six goals from tying Abby Wambach for most international goals in history

Christine Sinclair scored her 178th international goal on Tuesday, as Canada beat Norway 1-0 in a friendly at La Manga Stadium in Spain. The win comes in Canada’s first official match of the 2019 calendar year as they prepare for the summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Canada, ranked No. 5 in the world, and Norway, ranked No. 13 in the world are both headed to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, so the match was an important tune-up for the tournament.

Sinclair’s goal came in the 66th minute. Jenna Hellstrom crossed the ball into the box and Sinclair found herself open. The Portland Thorns FC forward headed the ball down and to the far post for the game’s only goal. Hellstrom earned the assist just a minute after subbing into the match.

Sinclair now has 178 career international goals, just six behind U.S. legend Abby Wambach’s record of 184. She also earned her 275th international cap in the match, good for fourth all-time.

Sinclair’s first goal ever, coincidentally, came against Norway in just her second cap.

Five NWSL players started in the match: Christine Sinclair, Allysha Chapman, Shelina Zadorsky, Desiree Scott and Nichelle Prince. Rebecca Quinn entered the match as a sub in the second half.

Before her goal, Sinclair had the game’s best chance in the 14th minute. On a ball served into the box, she scooped a left-footed shot from close range, but Norway goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth was able to make the save.

Canada will next be in action in February at the Algarve Cup and will play Iceland and Scotland in their first two games.

 

 

 

 

 

USWNT falls to France, snapping 28-game unbeaten streak

The loss is the United States' first since the summer of 2017

Kadidiatou Diani scored twice for France in a 3-1 win over the United States on Saturday night. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

In the end, it just wasn’t the United States’ night as they fell 3-1 to France to open the 2019 schedule. The loss snapped a 28-game winning streak that began after their loss to Australia in the summer of 2017. The United States had gone 25-0-3 during that streak before Saturday night’s loss.

In a preview of a possible quarterfinal match at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, No. 3 ranked France and the No. 1 ranked United States met in Le Havre in France in front of a sold-out crowd.

France largely controlled the match from start to finish. It was the first friendly of the year for both national teams, but France’s players are well into their club seasons, while the U.S. players are in the NWSL offseason.

France got off to a flying start and scored the game’s opening goal in the 9th minute. Delphine Cascarino torched down the right sideline and around Emily Fox, starting at left back. Cascarino’s pass went into the center of the box, and as Morgan Brian slipped, Kadidiatou Diani turned and slotted far post and past Alyssa Naeher to give France the early lead.

The match marked the third USWNT cap for Fox, the only college and non-NWSL player on the roster for this January camp and friendlies.

The French crowd was loud and boisterous throughout the match, a glimpse of the atmosphere that we can expect for the World Cup which begins in June. Stade Océane in Le Havre is one of nine venues for the tournament, and the United States will next play there on June 20 in their group stage finale vs. Sweden.

Diani scored her second goal of the night in the 57th minute, a brilliant floating chip over Naeher from the right wing. Diani ran onto a pass over the backline, and hit it first-time for the goal.

In between the two strikes, France had several other chances to add to their lead. They tried a replay of their opening goal in the 27th minute, but this time Brian was able to clear the ball out of danger after Diani flicked it towards Gaëtane Thiney.

Marion Torrent found the head of Eugénie Le Sommer with a cross in the 30th minute, but Naeher stopped the shot and there were no French players close enough to pick up the rebound.

Naeher came up with another big save in the 39th minute, pushing a point-blank shot from Diani out of bounds.

The United States had one of their best offensive chances in the 42nd minute after a weak clearance in the box from France, but goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi was able to catch Lindsey Horan‘s header.

Le Sommer had another chance in the 51st minute after former Portland Thorns FC midfielder Amandine Henry stole a ball in the midfield and passed to Le Sommer. But the French forward, who scored vs. the U.S. the last time these teams met in 2018, saw her hard shot go wide.

In the 53rd minute, Tierna Davidson subbed in for Fox and took over as the left back. The game was Davidson’s first since being drafted last week with the No. 1 overall pick by the Chicago Red Stars after leaving Stanford early to join the league. It was also her first competitive game since injuring her ankle last fall while in college.

Crystal Dunn, who usually starts at left back for the USWNT, started in the midfield on the night. She slipped back into the right back spot after Carli Lloyd subbed in for Emily Sonnett in the 70th minute.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto scored the home side’s third goal in the 78th minute to seal the win.

Mallory Pugh scored a consolation goal for the U.S. in second half stoppage time to break the shutout.

The U.S. will next be in action on Tuesday when they face Spain.


Saturday’s starting XI: Alyssa Naeher, Emily Sonnett, Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn, Emily Fox, Morgan Brian, Lindsey Horan, Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh, Alex Morgan and Christen Press. The available subs: Samantha Mewis, Carli Lloyd, Tierna Davidson, Rose Lavelle, Jessica McDonald, Adrianna Franch, Danielle Colaprico, McCall Zerboni and Andi Sullivan.

U.S. Soccer tweeted that Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Casey Short and Julie Ertz missed the game due to minor injuries and said that Kelley O’Hara was not yet match fit following offseason ankle injury.

Sights and Sounds from the 2019 NWSL College Draft

Highlights from the 2019 NWSL College Draft in Chicago

 

The best moments from the 2019 NWSL College Draft:


More 2019 NWSL College Draft content:

 


Watch the full 2019 NWSL College Draft:

 

After celebrating on draft day, Maria Sánchez is ready to get to work in Chicago

Sánchez was drafted by the Red Stars in the second round of the 2019 NWSL College Draft

Maria Sánchez recorded 16 assists for Santa Clara in 2018. (Photo courtesy: Santa Clara Athletics/Don Jedlovec)

Idaho native and Santa Clara forward Maria Sánchez didn’t attend the 2019 NWSL College Draft in Chicago, but the moment she was selected caught the attention of many. In a widely-shared video, Sánchez learned she would be drafted by the Chicago Red Stars while surrounded by her Santa Clara teammates as they watched the draft broadcast on a large television in the team lounge.

“They were heading out to practice and I was watching the draft in the team lounge. Right before practice started, we were all just there watching the draft and stuff. That’s when I got the call saying that I was going to be picked. [Santa Clara athletic trainer Sean Shahmirzadi] started recording and it was just perfect timing.”

When Red Stars head coach Rory Dames called to let Sánchez know she’d be getting selected, she admits it was a whirlwind of emotions.

“He was talking to me and he said, ‘Your name’s about to be announced.’ I was just in disbelief and then my teammates were all looking at me. It was just crazy,” she said.

In December, Sánchez announced on social media that she had graduated from Santa Clara, and would continue to pursue her dream of playing professional soccer. Shortly after, she declared for the NWSL College Draft, where she was selected in the second round, 15th overall, by the Chicago Red Stars.

“It’s exciting to see how many talented players they have and how they’ve done the last few seasons. They’re always one of the top teams,” she said of the Red Stars. “So, the fact that they believe in me and to have an opportunity to play with them — it’s just one in a million for me.”

Sánchez already feels a connection with her new team, as some Mexican internationals are part of the current squad (Katie Johnson and Christina Murillo) and Santa Clara alums have played or currently play in Chicago (Leslie Osborne, Sofia Huerta, Julie Ertz).

“Just seeing the team history and the current roster. It’s crazy to think that I have the chance to play there,” she said.

Her particular skill set of whipping in crosses with a strong left foot — coupled with experience at the international level — had Sánchez on several mock boards when draft day arrived.

“I practice a lot on that. Perfecting my crosses and making sure that I can give good [service] to my teammates,” Sánchez said. “So, I think that’s one of my stronger [attributes]. Obviously, it’s hard to find a left-footer. It’s rarer to find a left-footer. So, I think that’s helped me a lot.”

The 22-year-old winger led all NCAA Division I colleges and universities in assists with 16 during the 2018 season, and believes she can make an impact at the professional level.

“Some of my coaches that I’ve had, they’ve really complimented my left foot, and being able to cross the ball and assist my teammates,” she said.  “I think everybody loves scoring goals, but for me, one of my [skills] that makes me really happy is assisting.”

The Mexican international has represented El Tri since she was a teenager. She participated in her first senior level Women’s World Cup back in 2015 when she was only 19 years old, and she wowed the soccer community when she participated in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

Back in October, Mexico had a disappointing and shocking elimination during the 2018 Concacaf Women’s World Cup qualifiers, and will miss next summer’s tournament in France. Now, Sánchez is kicking off the new year by being drafted into the NWSL and named to Mexico’s Cyprus Cup roster. She’s looking forward to continuing her professional soccer career, and believes an opportunity in the NWSL can have an impact on her game both professionally and at the international level.

“Honestly, I think that sometimes you kind of need that to make you realize anything can happen. And I want to work hard so that hopefully an upset like that doesn’t happen again in my career anymore. … That just gives me motivation to work hard. To be aware of how real it is in soccer to be upset like that,” she said.

“But definitely excited to work hard and hopefully make a change in Mexico’s program. I think being on a team like Chicago will really help me, not just in my professional career, but in my playing with Mexico, and to hopefully improve our outcomes there.”

Sánchez is eager to make the most of her opportunity with the Red Stars, and looking forward to not only competing, but learning through her teammates and their examples.

“I’m really excited about [working with] Julie Ertz, Sam Kerr, Katie Johnson, and everybody. I think being able to learn from them and see their work — the work that they put into the sport, the discipline they have, and just seeing what the life of a professional soccer player is,” she said.

“College is different, you have to attend school and other things to do. I’m excited to see how they manage their day, how they work at practice, and kind of see them as my role models. Hopefully, one day I can be like them.”

Notebook: Morgan, Naeher win Concacaf awards; Spirit sign Crosson; Reign re-sign Yanez, Oyster

The latest NWSL news

Morgan scored five goals for the Pride in 2018. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan won the Concacaf Female Player of the Year award for the third-straight year and Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was named Female Goalkeeper of the Year.

Morgan picked up her fourth Concacaf award (2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018) after leading the U.S. women’s national team to a 5-0-0 record in the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship. She finished the year with a team-high 18 goals and added three assists in 19 appearances.

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan finished in third place for the Female Player of the Year award and Naeher, Horan and Morgan were all named to the Female Best XI along with North Carolina Courage forward Crystal Dunn, Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn and Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair.

The Concacaf awards are determined by national team head coaches, national team captains, media and fans. The awards look at players, coaches and referees who have “excelled in Concacaf and FIFA-sanctioned tournaments involving the Confederation’s national teams and clubs.”


North Carolina Courage defender and the 2018 NWSL Defender of the Year Abby Erceg is available for selection for the Football Ferns. Erceg first made her debut for New Zealand in 2006 and was captain of the team from 2014 to 2017. She has competed at three Olympic Games and three FIFA Women’s World Cups.

“Abby is a world-class and highly-experienced international player,” New Zealand head coach Tom Sermanni said. “To have someone of her ability make herself available for the program as we build to the World Cup is a huge boost for everyone.”

The Football Ferns begin their preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup where they have been drawn in Group E, in which they will face Canada, Cameroon and the Netherlands.


The Washington Spirit announced the signing of defender Megan Crosson. Crosson joins the Spirit after previously logging time as a national team replacement player. Crosson has also spent time with the Houston Dash (2016-2017) and overseas with Speranza FC of Japan and UGD Tenerife of Spain.


Seattle Reign FC announced on Tuesday that they have re-signed forward Beverly Yanez ahead of the 2019 season.

Yanez first joined the Reign from Japan’s INAC Kobe Leonessa for the 2014 NWSL season before signing with Seattle ahead of the 2015 season. Yanez helped the Reign win the Shield back-to-back in 2014 and 2015 and has scored 23 goals over her five seasons in Seattle.

“Bev is a truly special player, both on and off the pitch,” Reign FC owner and president Bill Predmore said in a press release. “Her incredible work ethic, understanding of the game, and relentless positivity have made her a huge contributor to our success over the past five seasons.”

On Wednesday, the Reign announced the re-signing of defender Megan Oyster for the 2019 season. Seattle picked up Oyster in the NWSL Dispersal Draft on January 30, 2018. With the Reign, Oyster started in 21 games and helped the Reign earn 12 clean sheets last season.

“Megan was an important addition to our defense last season,” said head coach Vlatko Andonovski in the Reign press release. “She’s a strong, steady defender and I’m looking forward to seeing her build on her success in 2019.”


In international news, Jamaica named their January training camp roster and Spirit forward Cheyna Matthews and former Spirit forward Havana Solaun were named to the roster. Kayla McCoy, who was recently selected by the Houston Dash at the 2019 NWSL College Draft out of Duke University, was also called into camp.


Wales announced their squad that will face Italy and Reign FC midfielder Jess Fishlock was named to the roster.

Amanda Duffy named President of NWSL

Duffy will continue to oversee all aspects of the league’s day-to-day operations

Amanda Duffy at the 2019 NWSL College Draft. (Photo credit: Robin Alam/isiphotos.com)

The National Women’s Soccer League issued the following news release on Tuesday afternoon:

 

AMANDA DUFFY NAMED PRESIDENT OF NWSL

CHICAGO (Jan. 15, 2019) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that Amanda Duffy has been named President of the NWSL. Duffy joined the NWSL in January 2017 as Managing Director of Operations prior to being named Managing Director for the league in 2018.

In her new role as President, the highest office of NWSL, she will continue to oversee all aspects of the league’s day-to-day operations and will work closely with the league’s owners on the strategic direction and objectives for NWSL as it continues to grow and raise standards for the sport on a global basis.

“Amanda has been instrumental in operating the league as Managing Director,” said North Carolina Courage Owner and Executive Committee Chair Steve Malik. “She’s an extremely talented professional and we feel that she will continue to foster the league’s growth as President. As we look to the future, her experience and talents are a great fit for taking the league to the next level.”

Duffy was a driving influence with the launch of NWSL Media, the commercial arm of NWSL, as well as with the development of the historic partnership between the league and A+E Networks. She presently holds a seat on the NWSL Media Board of Directors.  

“I would like to thank the NWSL Board for its support and confidence in me,” said Duffy. “The NWSL has made significant strides over the past six seasons thanks to the world class talent of our players, the vision of our owners and the commitment by everyone associated with the league to make NWSL the global destination for the very best in women’s professional soccer.  Add to that the remarkable support from our fans, sponsors and media partners, and we’ve built an outstanding foundation that all of us can work from to realize the extraordinary promise of NWSL and each of our teams.”

Duffy previously worked for Louisville City FC – rising through the ranks of the United Soccer League (USL) club which she joined as the vice president of operations in October 2014 before being promoted to general manager in December 2014 and ultimately being tapped to serve as president in November 2015.  She also spent more than seven years at the league headquarters for the USL, where she worked in a number of areas in connection with USL PRO and USL W-League – including strategic planning, league management, and other administrative roles.  

 


Sky Blue acquire Kawasumi from Reign FC in exchange for Groom

Kawasumi spent four seasons with the Reign

Kawasumi (left), Groom (right)

Sky Blue FC acquired midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for forward Shea Groom, the clubs announced on Monday evening.

Kawasumi first joined the Reign in 2014 on loan from Japanese club INAC Kobe Leonessa. Kawasumi spent four seasons total with the Reign, having earned a full contract from Seattle in 2016. Kawasumi played in 68 games for the Reign and scored 18 career goals.

“Nahomi has had over a decade of experience with the Japanese national team and her international experience alone is a huge asset for us,” Sky Blue FC head coach Denise Reddy said in a press release. “In addition, she has had proven success in this league, success that we believe will transfer here to Sky Blue.”

“I will play for Sky Blue FC this season,” Kawasumi said. “I am looking forward to playing with my new teammates. I will do my best for Sky Blue and will cooperate with the team for the championship and I’m very happy for you to call me ‘Naho’ when you cheer for me.”

Kawasumi shared the following statement regarding her departure from Seattle:

“Hello, our precious fans of Seattle Reign FC. I am going to play for Sky Blue FC this season. I tried to do my first challenge to play outside Japan in U.S.A. Seattle Reign FC gave me such a feeling that playing in NWSL is so fun!! My teammates, coaches, staff, fans, and the city of Seattle has been the best for me. Although I’m very sad to leave my favorite club, please say hello again because we are friends forever. I hope Seattle Reign FC will achieve a good outcome. I appreciate all of you, Seattle.”


Groom’s will be reunited with her former FC Kansas City coach, Vlatko Andonovski, in his second season as head coach for Reign FC. Groom has been in the NWSL since 2015 and has played 75 games between her time at FCKC in 2015 and 2016, and Sky Blue FC for the past two seasons. The forward has scored 19 goals in her professional career and scored two goals in 2018 with Sky Blue.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Shea again,” Andonovski said in a press release. “She’s a very talented player. She was an impactful player for me in Kansas City and I know she’ll fit in well in Seattle.”

“I’m both humbled and honored to join the Reign family,” said Groom. “It’s an incredible organization that breeds success in this league and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Courage head coach Paul Riley signs multi-year contract

Riley is a two-time NWSL Coach of the Year

Riley led the Courage to an 17-1-6 record in 2018. (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com)

The North Carolina Courage have signed NWSL Coach of the Year Paul Riley to a multi-year contract, the club announced on Monday.

Riley led the Courage to a historic treble in 2018, winning the inaugural Women’s International Champions Cup (ICC), the NWSL Shield and the NWSL Championship. The Courage closed out the 2018 season with a 17-1-6 record and set NWSL regular seasons records for most wins (17), points (57), fewest losses (1), most goals scored (53), fewest goals allowed (17), goals against average (.71) and largest goal differential (+36).

Riley joined the Courage from Western New York Flash (2016). In the team’s first season, went on to lead the Courage to the NWSL Shield in 2017. Riley was named the NWSL Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2018.

“We are thrilled to have Paul continue to guide the team,” North Carolina Football Club President and GM Curt Johnson said in a press release. “Paul is a consummate professional who has built a strong, winning culture within the Courage. We look forward to having him lead the team with continued success for years to come.”

As for Riley, he considers it a “tremendous honor” to continue on in North Carolina, as he said in the official release for his new contract. “Steve Malik is a visionary who completely understands the fantastic growth in the women’s game. Courage country is a special place. We have an amazing group of talented players who are willing to walk the wire in the clouds. They have given me the Courage to follow them. It’s an exhilarating time at the club and our fanbase is second to none. I’m looking forward to the challenge of a World Cup year and we have a motivated staff who will strain every sinew they have to service the team and make the club successful.”

The club also announced that Bobby Hammond (VP of Operations) will also assume the title of Assistant General Manager for the Courage.

Notebook: Gibbons announces retirement; Kgatlana named CAF Player of the Year; England roster announced

The latest NWSL news

Gibbons played two seasons in the NWSL (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com)

Over the weekend, Sky Blue FC defender Christina Gibbons announced her retirement from professional soccer.

Gibbons joined Sky Blue ahead of the 2018 season after playing her rookie city with FC Kansas City. Gibbons was picked up by the New Jersey club via trade from Utah Royals FC ahead of the 2018 season which sent Kelley O’Hara and Taylor Lytle to Utah in exchange for Gibbons and Shea Groom.

With Sky Blue, Gibbons played in 18 games for 1,430 minutes. The defender made 34 clearances, 29 interceptions and 13 blocks.

Gibbons posted her decision to retire on her Instagram on Saturday.

Last week, Houston Dash forward Thembi Kgatlana was named the 2018 African Women’s Player of the Year.

 


England named their 28-player roster for their first training camp of the year. Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly, Orlando Pride forward Chioma Ubogagu and Seattle Reign FC forward Jodie Taylor were all named to the roster.

The Lionesses will travel to Aspire Academy in Doha to begin their training for the SheBelieves Cup in February and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.


On Jan. 11, the Washington Spirit announced that they have waived goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. According to the press release, Wys requested to be waived to pursue opportunities overseas. Wys made one appearance in goal for the Spirit in 2018.

Orlando Pride announce Marc Skinner as head coach

Skinner will lead the Pride in their fourth season in the NWSL

Skinner to be second-ever head coach in Orlando Pride history. (Photo credit: Orlando Pride)

The Orlando Pride have hired Marc Skinner as head coach for the 2019 NWSL season, the team announced on Monday.

Skinner joins the Pride as the second-ever head coach in club history. Before coming to the NWSL, Skinner spent the last two and half seasons as the manager at Birmingham City Women F.C. of England’s FA Women’s Super League.

“I want to thank the Orlando City SC organization for giving me the opportunity to lead the Pride ahead of the 2019 NWSL season,” Skinner said in a press release. “I believe that this is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I’m excited to see what the group can bring to this league, and my staff and I will work hard to give them the direction to reach new heights.”

“Marc will bring a breath of fresh air to the Pride through his modern approach to the game while instilling a foundation of principles to build from. He is both an innovative and progressive manager. We have an incredible opportunity in 2019 and beyond, and we are confident that Marc has the ability to create a winning culture with the Pride,” Orlando Pride General Manager Erik Ustruck said.

Skinner is also a UEFA “A” License holder.

The Pride finished the 2018 NWSL season in seventh place with an overall record of 8-10-6. Skinner and the Pride will begin their fourth season as a club in the NWSL in April.

Skinner’s support staff will be announced at a later date.

Canada names January roster

Nine NWSL players were named to the roster

Prince scored one goal for the Dash in 2018. (Photo credit:

Canada soccer has named their 2019 January camp roster ahead of their two matches in Europe later this month. Canada will take on Switzerland on Jan. 17 and Norway on Jan. 22 in La Manga.

Nine NWSL players were named to the training camp roster ahead of the two matches in Spain.

Sabrina D’Angelo (North Carolina Courage), Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC), Lindsay Agnew (Houston Dash), Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash), Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride), Rebecca Quinn (Washington Spirit), Desiree Scott (Utah Royals FC), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash) and Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC).

“This year is all about preparing for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, so we are eager to get together in Europe and continue the momentum we built throughout 2018,” head coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller said in a press release. “Switzerland and Norway are both difficult sides, so these two matches will serve as an excellent opportunity to test ourselves against strong European opponents.”

Following the January matches and ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, Canada will also compete in the Algarve Cup in February. Their first match is against Iceland on Feb. 27.

Canada Soccer Women’s National Team January 2019 Roster 

Stephanie Labbe, age 32, from Stony Plain, AB/ Linköpings FC (Damallsvenskan)
Allysha Chapman, age 29, from Courtice, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
Kadeisha Buchanan, age 23, from Brampton, ON/ Olympique Lyonnais (Division 1 Féminine France)
Shelina Zadorsky, age 26, from London, ON/ Orlando Pride (NWSL)
Rebecca Quinn, age 23, from Toronto, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)
Deanne Rose, age 19, from Alliston, ON/ University of Florida Gators (NCAA)
Julia Grosso, age 18, from Vancouver, BC / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)
Jordyn Huitema, age 17, from Chilliwack, BC/ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)
Ashley Lawrence, age 23, from Caledon, ON/Paris Saint Germain (Division 1 Féminine France)
Desiree Scott, age 31, from Winnipeg, MB/ Utah Royals FC (NWSL)
Christine Sinclair ( C ), age 35, from Burnaby, BC/ Portland Thorns (NWSL)
Sophie Schmidt, age 30, from Abbotsford, BC
Nichelle Prince, age 23, from Ajax, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
Janine Beckie, age 24, from Highlands Ranch, CO/ Manchester City (FA Women’s Super League)
Jessie Fleming, age 20, from London, ON/UCLA (NCAA)
Sabrina D’Angelo, age 25, from Welland, ON/North Carolina Courage (NWSL)
Adriana Leon, age 26, from King City, ON
Shannon Woeller, age 28, from Vancouver, BC/ Eskilstuna United DFF (Damallsvenskan)
Kailen Sheridan, age 23, from Whitby, ON/ Sky Blue FC (NWSL)
Lindsay Agnew, age 23, from Kingston, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
Jayde Riviere, age 17, from Markham, ON/ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (Ontario)
Jenna Hellstrom, age 23, from Sudbury, ON/ Växjö DFF (Damallsvenskan)
Vanessa Gilles, 22, from Ottawa, ON/ Les Girondins de Bordeaux (Division 1 Féminine France)

 

Homecoming for the Chicago Red Stars

The Red Stars welcomed seven new players at the 2019 NWSL College Draft

Davison was selected

The Chicago Red Stars were right at home at the 2019 NWSL College Draft on Thursday, Jan. 10, at the United Soccer Coaches Convention at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The Red Stars welcomed seven new players to their team for the 2019 season – including the first overall pick, Tierna Davidson out of Stanford University.

Red Stars head coach Rory Dames said getting Davidson was “like another Christmas present.” Luckily for Dames and the Red Stars, their tree had plenty of presents under it at this year’s draft. In addition to picking up the 2018 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, the Red Stars also selected Maria Sanchez (No. 15 overall) from the University of Santa Clara, Bianca St. Georges (No. 20 overall) from West Virginia University, Kayla Sharples (No. 26) from Northwestern University, April Bockin (No. 31 overall) from the University of Minnesota, Hannah Davison (No. 33) from Northwestern University and Jenna Szczesny (No. 35 overall) from Loyola University Chicago.

“In a World Cup year having as many good players as you can is important,” Dames told NWSL Media after the draft, “and the fact that Hannah and [Kayla] and Jenna all live here is a huge bonus.”

Davison, Sharples and Szczesny don’t have to worry about venturing to a new city to start their professional careers. The local trio brought a roar of excitement from Red Stars fans in the Skyline Ballroom.

“With Hannah and Kayla, it’s exciting to see it come full circle. I take a lot of pride in watching kids that come through the [Chicago] Eclipse Soccer Club and then gravitate up through to college and have the opportunity to play at this level,” Dames said, as the longtime director of coaching for Chicago Eclipse Soccer Club. “All three of them, which is the bigger thing here, played on our [Chicago Red Stars] reserve team the last two years. The reserve team is an important part of our developmental piece for the Red Stars.”

“I’m so happy to be home. It’s a dream come true to be where I grew up and started playing soccer, where I have the best support system ever in my family. It’s very exciting and I couldn’t be happier,” Sharples said after the draft.

There’s a certain understanding that Dames said these three players already have instilled in them just from being on the reserve team.

“I think the last piece here is that they have been with the Red Stars, so they already know what it’s about so to be able to pull them from the reserve team to our team is exciting and it shows a natural progression.”

The draft picks got a warm welcome from current Red Stars players – longtime Chicago resident and Red Stars midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo attended the draft and couldn’t stop smiling, cheering and feeling slightly envious of the future picks since she never went to her own.

“It’s exciting! Especially that it’s here in Chicago,” DiBernardo told NWSL Media about what her first impression of the event was. “I didn’t go to my draft, so this is actually my first one. So it’s cool to see the set up and it’s exciting for all the girls that entered the draft to hopefully continue their careers.”

That “they already know what it’s about” quote that Dames’ said Davison, Sharples and Szczesny all understand from just coming through the Red Stars reserve team, is something that DiBernardo says has kept her and several of her teammates with the club.

“It’s a great culture here and I love being a part of this team. I think that’s something that you can see within our draft picks — that they just have stuck around. There are a lot of us that are still here from the beginning, so our careers have started and continued at the same club which is really fun.”

DiBernardo was selected No. 4 overall at the 2014 NWSL College Draft by the Red Stars. She joined Dames’ squad after playing for him at the WPSL and club level. That same year, Dames also added another key player to his squad that has stuck around and held down the midfield next to DiBernardo, Julie Ertz. This past season these two led the Red Stars to a 9-5-10 overall record which was good for a fourth place finish.

Whether it’s Ertz blocking and tackling and finding an outlet in DiBernardo to play through to Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr up front, or it’s the the tireless work done all over the field by midfielder Danielle Colaprico to find ways to keep the ball, the Red Stars have a squad of veterans who will continue to work for one another. Both Colaprico and longtime Red Stars defender Arin Gilliland joined the Red Stars at the 2015 NWSL College Draft. Each year, the Red Stars have selected at least one player at the NWSL College Draft that has returned the following year.

Davidson said one of the main reasons she’s excited to come to Chicago is for the special culture.

“They definitely helped me in my decision,” she said of her new Red Stars teammates, in a conference call with reporters after being selected No. 1 overall. Davidson is in Portugal with the U.S. women’s national team, alongside several Red Stars teammates like Ertz and Colaprico. “They gave me a lot of good advice, the inner workings of the team, what the team culture was like, the personality of players on the team and they really helped me take a first person look into the team without actually being there, which was incredibly helpful. They’ve definitely welcomed me in really well and I already feel a part of the team.”

Highlights from panels at the 2019 United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago

Members of the NWSL featured on panels during the convention

Alexi Lalas and Amanda Duffy (Photo credit: Meg Linehan/NWSL Media)

Chicago — Members of the NWSL were featured on panels during the  2019 United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago. Highlights from the panels:

 

Champions of Respect: Strategies for Creating LGBTQ Inclusive Teams Education Session

Featuring: Nevin Caple, Ross Duncan, Chris Holmes and Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger

 

On managing it all:

Krieger: A couple people sitting in the audience, that’s how I manage it. I don’t know if I really think twice about it. I know that I have this force within me, this drive to want to be a winner and be successful in everything that I do, and also inspire as many people as I can both young and old and I know through sport I can do that. I think that is just my mentality. This whole process, just going through my career both on and off the field, I try to manage it the best, most professional way I know how and to try and be my authentic self and try to reach as many people and connect with people, because we all are human. Just because I’m a professional player and public figure doesn’t mean I’m not a normal human being, so I really like to try and focus on that aspect of myself in connecting with fans, people, coaches, our administration and organization, and people within soccer. I really think that’s important.

 

Talking about sexuality within a team framework:

Krieger: Penn State, this was the first experience I had with exploring my sexuality and finding my authentic self and fluidity. I never realized I would start having those type of feelings until I reached college, and having that experience that I’m so grateful for. But, going through those experiences and through college and just being on different teams overseas as well, it was never really a thing. It was never really talked about. It was okay. So I feel like in women’s sports it’s very acceptable, more acceptable than in men’s sports. Going through school, we were all very open and honest with each other and I never went through any kind of discrimination, especially within my teammates. I had a handful of other teammates who are part of the LGBTQ community that are also very fluid. It just was never a thing we ever had to talk about it, and I’m just so thankful for that experience because it helped me go through my personal process in finding my truth and being more authentic with myself and sexuality and experiences. I feel very lucky that I had that at Penn State.

 

Advice to someone looking up to you:

Krieger: I think for me, I try to surround myself with really good people growing up, putting myself in challenging situations that help me grow. College did that in all aspects of my life, both personally and professionally. Control what you’re able to control, because you can’t control anybody but yourself and that’s your work ethic in everything that you do.


1 on 1 with Amanda Duffy, NWSL

Featuring: NWSL managing director Amanda Duffy and Alexi Lalas

 

On her day-to-day role and if it’s what a commissioner in the NWSL would do:

 Duffy: It’s not just the commissioner. It’s what does the staff of a league office look like? So, if we look at ours right now at NWSL, we have as of 5 p.m. today, we’ll be at four full-time staff at the NWSL. So I think that anybody can say that’s not what a league office looks and functions like. So do I do things that a commissioner would do? I’m probably doing things that a commissioner would not do just to keep our day-to-day function.

Examples of her day-to-day duties:

Duffy: The processing of our player contracts and player transactions. Everything to do with our players, I’m in the weeds of moving that along right now. We jus recently hired [a] director [of] operations and player affairs, Liz Dalton, who is on board with us so that is going to transition away. Patrick Donnelly, director of communications, today is his last day with the league so why I say at 5 p.m. this afternoon we move to four people. So, in the time being until we fill that gap in the position, I’ll be making sure we cover the media side of our business. So there is day-to-day stuff I’m doing right now because we aren’t resourced in the right way that I don’t think a commissioner would do.

Transition from being a player to the front office:

Duffy: I played at East Carolina University. When I came out of ECU in 2003, I went into camp with the Carolina Courage. 2003 was the last year of WUSA, so I went into camp with them and spent a little more than a month with them and ended up being cut by their roster. Then I had an opportunity to go to China which SARS, the outbreak of SARS, was ongoing at that time, so I decided against going to China. I went to Virginia Beach and played in the USL W-league ,where we had an undefeated season and won the national championship of the W-League. Wonderful season and I was anticipating to be back in camp with the Courage following that season in August, then the league shut its doors. So I was in a position of not really knowing what the future was and I finished undergrad, finished playing in college. I was one of those players that could get to the next level, but maybe needed that year of the W-League to get me prepared for it. And then that opportunity was just gone. So I ended up going to grad school. Played a couple more years in the W-League, which was the highest level in the United States at that point. And I felt like I was continuing to get better as a player, which was really hard to have that feeling and not be able to take it to what you would say is a professional level.

When I finished grad school I was doing an internship at USL to complete my masters degree and was just like, ‘I’m not ready to stop, but I don’t know what to do?’ But, fortunately the opportunity to go to Sweden fell into my lap and I took advantage of it. Just being in Sweden and being a part of that culture. I was there for a year — by the time I was done I was 26, a couple years out of grad school and it was just like, ‘Alright, I feel ready.’ I have played now, playing professional in Sweden. I’m living over here. It’s such a wonderful life experience, but it was not going to be my life for the next five to ten years. So I just knew that it was time.

I came back and I was fortunate to have maintained relationships with Tim Holt at USL and the group there and was fortunate enough to come back and be a part of USL as soon as I got back. It was because I knew the time was right to enter the next phase of life. I didn’t have as hard as a time of taking those steps.

There were certainly times, and I think the first year I was at USL, the W-League, there was one [team] in Orlando and the W-League team from Virginia Beach was down playing and they needed players, so I think I got registered and played a game or two with them. So it was cool to still be close and involved. The thing that I miss the most and I still miss the most, is the locker room and things and friendships that happen in the locker room. You just don’t replace those in any sort of business setting. Those are friendships that for a lifetime you have and are so special to me today. The transition was really easy because I knew that it was right and I knew that I had done what I could as a player and an athlete at that point. So as I moved through the next parts of it, all of the effort and energy I would put into the training and the games — just started going into work at a computer and administratively became a more consulting problem-solving work ethic I took on.


1 on 1 with Laura Harvey, Utah Royals FC

Featuring: Utah Royals FC head coach Laura Harvey and JP Dellacamera

 

On the competition of the NWSL:

Harvey: It’s difficult. In our league, you’ve got to try and win every game. To try and get into the top four, you can probably afford to lose four games, maybe five and scrape in, but that’s it. That’s the joy of the league. It’s so competitive.

 

On the growth of the NWSL:

Harvey: I remember coming here in 2013. I had just left Arsenal and I’m thinking, ‘What have I done? This is nuts.’ And we flew by the seat of our pants probably for two years in the league. Then I think we realized as a league, we’re not just here to make sure we throw out a performance every week, but we need to create this league to be sustainable. I think since 2015 probably, that’s been the mindset: How do we make sure that this keeps being sustainable? I think personally now in this last year, with Dell Loy Hansen, the owner of Utah Royals FC, he’s had a huge influence on — we don’t just now need to be sustainable. How do we be the best league in the world? I’ve always said we’re the most competitive league in the world and I stand by it. Now it’s, how do we raise everything to make sure that we’re there and I think he set a standard for that. All the other owners and all the other people that are invested in the league have done such a brilliant job to get us to this point — I think they needed someone like Mr. Hansen, if anyone’s met him don’t know that he’s very influential when you meet him, to push that little bit further and go, ‘We can do this.’ I do believe in the last 12 months he’s done that.

I think that’s why the housing, salary cap’s gone up. I think that’s why the finances for each player’s gone up and all the other standards around the league are gradually raising. People like him are a huge influence on that.

 

On equality between the men’s and women’s teams in Utah and owner Dell Loy Hansen:

Harvey: Hansen] said it a lot when I first met him and anyone who’s been in the women’s game long enough sometimes think, ‘Yeah. Whatever. That’s not going to be happen.’

Everything’s equal. Everything. If you look at equality and say there’s a 50/50 split on everything, we get that.

Even to the point that when RSL came into their season and we were starting our season last year, their grass fields weren’t quite thawed out from the snow and I was sitting there thinking, ‘Oh, we’re just going to get put to the back and we’re going to have to deal with what they don’t want.’ And it was completely not that.

He’s a huge influence on that, but everyone within in the club — even Mike Petke, the head coach of RSL, we sat in a meeting and it was like, ‘Right. 50/50. What do you want?’ I was like, ‘Wow, I get a say? That doesn’t normally happen.’

Super lucky. Players have loved it. But I think now from our perspective, internally, we want to give back to them and [Hansen] specifically by winning.

 

On becoming Utah’s head coach and coaching players like Amy Rodriguez and Becky Sauerbrunn:

Harvey: Amy Rodriguez was finally going to play for me. She’s never being traded ever again. I’m never trading her.

You think Becky Sauerbrunn’s a good player, and then you coach her and you realize how good she is. And not just how good she is, but how much she doesn’t actually think she’s that good, which is mind-blowing to me. So humble. I’m like, ‘No, you’re exceptional.’ It’s been a joy coaching someone like Becky. Even at the point of her career when she’s won everything, done everything, she still wants to learn. She still wants to be better every day and you can’t ask for much more than that.

On the evolution of her coaching style:

Harvey: I think I used to be an idealist. This is the way the game should be played. That’s probably been a big change in me. I think the sentence I say a lot now is, ‘You’ve got to play what the game gives you.’ Sometimes the idealist in me is withering away sometimes because our league is going very transitional.

In 2014 and 2015, when Seattle were very successful, we were a very possession-oriented team and the two teams who were successful in those years were us and [Kansas City] and we played very similar styles. … The same question that’s being asked of [North Carolina] now was ‘How do we stop Seattle and Kansas?’ The way to stop us at the time is to go transitional, so now it’s flipped itself. For everyone going against Carolina, it’s how do we stop Carolina? How do we compete with them? We’ve all realized that we have to be able to deal with how good they are in transition, both sides of the ball. And be prepared of how you’re going to prevent that potentially and how you’re going to stop that when they’re doing it.

I think the idea for me is I want the game to be beautiful and I want us to make a thousand passes and it to be like this heaven. But sometimes the game’s not like that so that’s been a big development in me.

I think I’ve finished fifth three years in a row, which is horrendous. So I think now with me I’m more about — I want to win. I don’t really care how. I just want to win. Honestly.

 


Global Spotlight: 2019 Women’s World Cup, Presented by Fox Sports

Featuring: Kyndra de St. Aubin, JP Dellacamera, Alexis Lalas and NWSL managing director Amanda Duffy

 

On the NWSL being on a global stage at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup:

Duffy: We had more than 50 NWSL players playing in the World Cup in 2015. Certainly, the United States are at least half of those, but a number of other countries were represented by NWSL in 2015 and we expect the same in 2019. Thinking about the Australians that are playing in NWSL, Brazil, Japan and several other countries that have great representation and are currently playing in the league and really make it — we talk about the U.S. women’s national team being the best national team in the world. We look at NWSL as the best women’s professional soccer league in the world. That is supported by the fact that so many U.S. players are playing in it,  but so many other internationals are in this league and driving the competition and driving the level of play better each season. It is a destination for players around the world.

 

On the growth of women’s soccer:

Duffy: I think from the league standpoint and how I’ve seen it evolve, is that it’s less about the women’s soccer business being charity driven. It is a business and people are approaching it with that mindset and there are opportunities to build the business of women’s professional soccer or women’s soccer in general. We’re able to work in general in the same business forums that we see on the men’s side. I think a lot of that has been driven also by the growth of the sport in the United States, not just women’s soccer in general over the recent years, but the sport over the last 10-15 years. There are more fans, more supporters. … We still maintain such a high level of youth participants in soccer and it’s helped all of the women’s side really move forward and accelerate at a pace that is good for the game.

 

Looking ahead to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and having the sport on a global stage:

Duffy: The tournament as a whole is going to be wonderful and the visibility. To have the women’s game on the global stage that it will be on and to know that so much of that visibility will come back into and through NWSL through the stories that will be told through the performance of the players — the players that will then come back to the United States and represent their clubs is going to be a great moment for NWSL and will really continue to push our growth forward.

Draft recap: NWSL welcomes new players in Chicago

Davidson, Mace and DiBiasi go 1-2-3

The Chicago Red Stars had six picks at the 2019 NWSL College Draft. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

Chicago —  At the 2019 NWSL College Draft on Thursday, Jan. 10, at the United Soccer Coaches Convention at McCormick Place, 36 new faces joined the NWSL for the league’s seventh season.

The Chicago Red Stars were right at home with the draft in their backyard and, with the first overall pick, selected Tierna Davidson out of Stanford University. Davidson, a junior for the Cardinal, registered for the draft in the last few days, giving up her final year of college eligibility to join the NWSL. Davidson learned that she was the first overall pick while she was in Portugal training with the U.S. women’s national team ahead of friendlies in France and Spain later this month.

“I’m really bummed that I couldn’t make it to the NWSL draft, but I’m extremely honored to have been chosen No. 1 overall by the Chicago Red Stars. I’d like to thank Rory [Dames, Red Stars head coach] and the rest of the Red Stars for having confidence in me,” Davidson said in a video recording from camp in Portugal. 

“Tierna is a player that doesn’t come a long very often,” Chicago Red Stars head coach Rory Dames told NWSL Media after the draft. “And not necessarily just the skill set, but her maturity level, the experience she already has internationally. She trains and plays with the best team in the world. Our players on that team have nothing but great things to say about her, and Hidecki [Nakada] and Paul [Ratcliffe], (Davidson’s coaches at Stanford), also have nothing but great things to say about her.”

Davidson was one of three Stanford players selected in the first round.

“It’s not usual to have a player that you can bring straight out of the college game that can step directly into your team and have an impact, and her impact is a little different also because she can go into the back, she leads the line, [she knows] when to step, when to drop, and [she knows how to] read the cues,” Dames said.

Cardinal teammate Jordan DiBiasi was selected at No. 3 by the Washington Spirit and was the first draft pick to be in attendance at the draft.

“I think my heart stopped for a second,” DiBiasi told the media when asked how she felt when her name was called. “And then it was just happiness and excitement. It means the world to me, I’m so thankful for the Washington Spirit taking a chance on me.”

The Spirit also selected Cardinal senior Tegan McGrady with the No. 7 overall pick. McGrady was also in Chicago to hear her name called.

“Every paper that I wrote in elementary school, I wrote that I wanted to be a professional soccer player,” McGrady told the media after being selected. “And to say that I’ve gotten to that point is one of the best feelings and another dream that I’ve accomplished.”

The Spirit had four picks in the first round after a trade between Sky Blue FC surfaced just minutes after the start of the draft. The Washington Spirit acquired the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft via trade from Sky Blue FC. In exchange, Washington sent the No. 29 selection in today’s draft and Caprice Dydasco, DiDi HaracicEstelle Johnson were all three traded to Sky Blue FC.

The Spirit got to celebrate on site with three of their selections in the first-round since No. 3 Jordan DiBiasi (Stanford), No. 4 Sam Staab (Clemson), No. 7 Tegan McGrady (Stanford) were all at the draft. Dorian Bailey (UNC) was chosen at No. 8 by the Spirit, but wasn’t in attendance.

DiBiasi and Staab have played together before at youth national team camps, and they were all smiles after being selected by the Spirit back-to-back.

“Playing with Jordan is going to be great,” Saab told the media when asked what she is most looking forward to this season. She also added that can’t wait to be part of an organization with “new management, new coaches and everything! I’ve had the chance to talk with a lot of their assistant coaches and the rest of their staff and they just seem like tremendous coaches.”

On January 8, just a couple days before the draft, the Spirit named Richie Burke as the new head coach. Burke got thrown right into it with the third overall pick at the 2019 draft, but said coming into this, he and his staff had a very clear game plan.

“Coming into this draft we were very clear about what we wanted and who we wanted to get, and we knocked it out the park. DiBiasi has got a can opener on both feet, she’s a tricky, creative, stylish, tactician,” Burke said. “She’s got a great football brain, a fantastic IQ, so that was a no brainer for me.”

Burke also mentioned DiBiasi’s name along with Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle as players he sees being creative on the ball this upcoming season.


The second round kicked off with Sky Blue FC making back-to-back picks (No. 10 and No. 11). Sky Blue FC earlier held the No. 2 overall pick and selected Haillie Mace out of UCLA. In the first round, Denise Reddy’s side also picked up Julia Ashley out of UNC with the No. 6 overall pick. Ashley, despite expressing how excited she was to be selected, told the media that she is undecided about what her next step will be for her professional career.

“I’ve been talking to my agent about possibly France, Sweden or Germany. I’m not sure yet, but it’s definitely an option.”

With the No. 10 pick, Sky Blue FC selected Paige Monaghan out of Butler University. Monaghan is from Succasunna, N.J., so she gets to return to her home pitch to start her professional career. “Im coming home!” Monaghan said at the draft.

Sky Blue then selected Julie James out of Baylor University at No. 11 overall.

The second round started heating up when the league took a time out following the No. 16 pick. The Thorns were on the clock with their first pick of the 2019 draft at No. 17, but traded the pick to the Spirit in exchange for the No. 31 pick and the Spirit’s natural second-round pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft.

The third round drama came when the Chicago Red Stars traded their No. 24 overall pick to the Thorns in exchange for the Thorns’ No. 31 and No. 35 picks. The Thorns selected Emily Ogle out of Penn State, for their first pick at the draft.