The Washington Spirit on Monday held their first media call since being allocated seven U.S., Canada and Mexico national team players. The call featured Spirit General Manager Chris Hummer, head coach Mike Jorden and United States Soccer Federation-allocated defender Ali Krieger.
Krieger, for her part, seemed genuinely thrilled to be playing not just back in the States, but in the DMV, the Alexandria native calling the move back home a "no brainer." Krieger, coming off a five-year stint at German side FFC Frankfurt (with a one-year loan to the WPS edition of the Freedom in 2009), also said that there is a sense among the USWNT players that the NWSL's attempt to make a professional women's league a permanent fixture on the U.S. sporting map is "something bigger than ourselves."
Turning to the recent allocation process, which assigned the pool of players whose salaries will be subsidized by the three big North American national soccer federations, Jorden said that the organization feels good about their lot, and that securing Krieger was a top priority. In response to a question about the very strong crop of players allocated to Portland Thorns FC - which included Alex Morgan, Christine Sinclair and Tobin Heath - Hummer said, "We expected it," and also noted that the Western New York Flash similarly received a strong allocation, including former Washington Freedom player Abby Wambach. Hummer found no fault in the arrangement, though, pointing to the "great venues" available in Portland and Rochester and calling it "good for the league" to have stars playing where the biggest home crowds will be.
Hummer repeated that the Spirit are happy with their allocation, which will allow Jorden to focus on building the team's foundation upon an already-strong defense. Looking forward, Hummer indicated that the team will focus on the free agent market to attract attacking players but could also lean on this Friday's college draft, depending on the team's draft position. The NWSL draft order has yet to be determined and will be set by a blind draw.
Jorden, Hummer and the front office team at the Spirit spent last season with D.C. United Women, the name licensed from the MLS outfit. Hummer had nothing but praise for United, saying that there is no competition between the two organizations. He stated that, while no formal joint marketing is planned between United and the Spirit, both sides are open to exploring those possibilities.
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