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Defender Amber Brooks returns to Washington Spirit

Shoring up that defense

NWSL: Washington Spirit at NJ/NY Gotham FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing a free agency trend of securing the return of past players, the Washington Spirit have re-signed defender Amber Brooks to a one-year contract.

A nine-year veteran of the league, Brooks played for Portland Thorns, Houston Dash, and OL Reign before joining the Spirit in 2022. She began the season filling in as both a defender and midfielder but became one of the team’s reliable starting center backs after Emily Sonnett’s season ending injury. Over the course of the season, Brooks played in 16 matches with 11 starts.

“Amber is a very driven and hardworking player who is hungry to keep improving and help this team move forward,” Head Coach Mark Parsons said in the team announcement. “In a short space of time Amber has been an influential person in this group and I am looking forward to working with her.”

Brooks was particularly instrumental in Washington’s 4-3 win over San Diego, when she scored a brace of goals — and caused a sensation with an obscene gesture after the referee awarded the Wave a corner instead of a throw-in. The NWSL suspended her for one match for the gesture, but fans rewarded her performance by voting her Player of the Week.

After starting this offseason period with only two designated defenders on the roster, the Spirit have now signed three defenders in just over a week and are looking much more comfortable. The question now is whether they will continue to bring in new defenders, building up an area of the roster that was weak in 2022, or pivot to acquiring additional attacking talent.

Keep an eye out for more news before the league begins its holiday pause on player moves on Thursday evening!

2023 Roster (so far)

Goalkeepers (1): Aubrey Kingsbury

Defenders (6): Camryn Biegalski; Amber Brooks; Gabrielle Carle; Emily Sonnett; Sam Staab; Anna Heilferty

Midfielders (7): Jordan Baggett; Dorian Bailey; Bayley Feist; Tori Huster; Ashley Sanchez; Marissa Sheva; Andi Sullivan

Forwards (4): Maddie Elwell; Ashley Hatch; Tara McKeown; Trinity Rodman