It’s been a busy week in women’s soccer as the college draft approaches. For the Washington Spirit, the big news of the week is Crystal Dunn’s departure The USWNT star, after months of rumors of a departure, has signed with Chelsea Ladies FC. As a result of her exit and other off-season departures, no Washington Spirit player is on the 29-person roster for the U.S. women’s national team January training camp.
USWNT January camp roster released
The USWNT’s January training camp will feature a mix of college and NWSL players in advance of the SheBelieves Cup in March. Amy Rodriguez is returning to the USWNT after pregnancy but Sydney Leroux, who gave birth on September 10, is not on the roster. Christina Gibbons and Taylor Smith each earned their first national team call-ups. Smith wasn’t drafted last season but played 18 games and earned five starts with the Western New York Flash, while Gibbons played for Duke. Youth national team goalkeepers Jane Campbell and Adrianna Franch each earned call-ups. The camp will run from January 13 to January 23. Alex Morgan, who recently signed with Olympique Lyonnais, will join during the official FIFA international break, which starts January 16.
The roster is as follows:
Goalkeepers (4): Jane Campbell (Stanford), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders (7): Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
Midfielders (11): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Kristen Edmonds (Orlando Pride), Christina Gibbons (Duke), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC), Taylor Smith (Western New York Flash)
Forwards (7): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea Ladies FC, ENG), Jessica McDonald (Western New York Flash), Alex Morgan (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Lynn Williams (Western New York Flash)
Dunn signs with Chelsea Ladies
Crystal Dunn signed with Chelsea Ladies FC and will not return to the Washington Spirit in 2017. While Chelsea’s season ends in May, Dunn told the Washington Post’s Steve Goff that she “will not be in the NWSL in 2017.”
Dunn’s departure is another setback for the Spirit, who have lost many important players this offseason. While the departures of players like Dunn and Morgan is detrimental to their respective teams, it doesn’t spell doom for the league. This isn’t a mass exodus of USWNT players, especially since Morgan is returning after her Lyon season concludes.
For the Spirit, the club is unlikely to acquire a star forward capable of replacing Dunn. The team’s best option is to have several decent forwards that work well together. However, a strategy to acquire many young or underrated players is hindered by Washington’s lack of draft picks and shrinking number of tradeable assets.
USWNT CBA negotiations continue
While the collective bargaining agreement between U.S. Soccer and the USWNT expired at the start of 2017, the two parties will continue to operate under the status quo until a new agreement is struck or either side gives 60 days notice of termination. This mechanism also prevents a work stoppage from interrupting the SheBelieves Cup. Last Wednesday, the USWNT Players’ Association announced lawyer Rich Nichols would no longer serve as legal counsel to the group.
Spirit forward Katie Stengel scored early for the Western Sydney Wanderers on December 30th but Sydney FC responded with two goals to win 2-1. Francesca Ordega, who recently joined Sydney on loan from the Spirit, started the match for the winning side. On January 3rd, Ordega scored as Sydney FC thumped Canberra United 6-1. Boston Breakers forward Kyah Simon also scored for Sydney, while her NWSL teammate Natasha Dowie notched a hat trick in Melbourne Victory’s 4-1 win against Brisbane Roar FC.