The Washington Spirit have traded Christine Nairn to the Seattle Reign for midfielder Havana Solaun and three draft picks, including the #3 and #36 overall picks in the 2017 NWSL draft. It’s another leadership loss for the Spirit, coming shortly after the trade that saw Ali Krieger moved to the Orlando Pride.
Nairn just finished her third season with the Spirit. A native of Annapolis, Nairn was the team captain when Krieger was away on USWNT duty and a consistent leadership figure in the locker room. This is part of a larger trend within the Spirit this offseason. There are widespread reports of player discontent with the organization which caught public eye when Spirit owner Bill Lynch played the national anthem with both teams in the locker room, denying Seattle Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe the opportunity to kneel during the national anthem.
The Washington Post’s Steven Goff has also reported that Crystal Dunn is looking to play in France, indicating today that such a move is more and more likely:
Don't be surprised to see star attacker Crystal Dunn leave @WashSpirit as well #nwsl— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) November 10, 2016
In return for Nairn, the Spirit receive Solaun and the Reign’s 3rd and 36th picks in what is considered to be a strong 2017 NWSL College Draft. Solaun is a young and promising midfielder with USA under-23 national team experience who also went to one Canadian national team camp, but she only made 6 appearances in 2016 (compared to Nairn’s status as a full-time starter). While her recovery from a broken leg in 2015 is a factor in that low number, it’s unclear whether she or Denmark international Line Sigvardsen Jensen will emerge as a starter in Washington’s midfield.
The Spirit also receive Seattle’s natural second round pick in the 2018 draft. In addition to Nairn, the Reign receive the Spirit’s rights to goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel, who played in Norway this season after being drafted by Washington this past January.