Notebook: Orlando, Houston make front office moves; more player news
The latest NWSL news
Orlando City Stadium (Photo credit: Mark Thor/Orlando Pride)
Orlando City Stadium (Photo credit: Mark Thor/Orlando Pride)

As the 2019 NWSL College Draft approaches, teams are continuing to make moves. Here’s the latest news from around the NWSL following a busy Monday:


The Orlando Pride named former Orlando City (MLS) player Erik Ustruck as general manager. Ustruck will manage all aspects of the Pride’s technical operations, the club said, and report to Luiz Muzzi, the new executive vice president of soccer operations for Orlando City SC.

The Pride said that Ustruck has been assisting with the team’s search for a new head coach, who will be announced in the near future. The Pride also said that Ustruck will represent the Pride at the 2019 NWSL College Draft, which will take place Thursday.

Ustruck was most recently the manager of soccer operations for the Pride and Orlando City.

“I am honored and excited to begin this new position with the Pride and want to thank Luiz and the rest of the executive leadership for entrusting me with this opportunity,” Ustruck said in a Pride news release. “We have already hit the ground running, not only to put together a strong, competitive roster, but also to build a team culture here in Orlando that every player will want to be a part of.”

Brian Ching has stepped down as managing director of the Houston Dash, the club announced on Monday, to focus on personal and entrepreneurial interests. He will serve as an advisor to the Dash for the 2019 season.

Dash head coach James Clarkson will be the technical director for the Dash, and oversee all soccer operations and player personnel decisions.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to have worked for the Dash. I remember the first time we discussed the idea of creating an NWSL club, and six years later we have the most talented team in the history of the club,” Ching said in a Dash news release. “I will be available to help in any way possible as James gets acclimated with the league, starting with the NWSL College Draft next week. Fans can find me at BBVA Compass Stadium as I support James and the rest of the team for an exciting NWSL season.”

Also on Monday, the North Carolina Courage announced the signing of Swedish midfielder Julia Spetsmarkpending the receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

Spetsmark made her senior international debut for Sweden in 2016 and made one appearance at the 2017 Euros. She most recently played for Djurgården in the Damallsvenskan in Sweden, scoring six goals in 11 games after joining the team in July of 2018.

“Julia fits our profile for an attacking player. Skillful, pacey, excellent 1-on-1 ability, crafty and relentless both sides of the ball,” said Courage head coach Paul Riley said in a team news release.  “It’s a tremendous opportunity for Julia and we believe this will be key in her establishing herself as an invaluable piece on the Swedish national team. Excited to add her to all the other key attacking pieces we have.”

Washington Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan has been added to the U.S. women’s national team roster for their upcoming training camp in Portugal and friendlies in France and Sweden, U.S. Soccer announced Monday.

The USWNT will now have 27 players in camp.


U.S. WNT Roster by Position – January Camp 2019 (Caps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (4): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 3/0), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 19/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 38/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 30/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 12/1), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage; 75/24), Emily Fox (UNC; 2/0), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 112/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 149/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 27/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 26/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 81/6), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars; 2/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 73/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 62/7), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 20/6), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 41/8), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 11/0), McCall Zerboni (North Carolina Courage; 7/0)

FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 142/25), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 265/105), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage; 3/1), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 153/98), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 106/46), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 43/12), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 145/41)

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