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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)
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.

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