The Washington Spirit officially signed Arielle Ship and Cameron Castleberry to pro contracts for the 2017 NWSL season. Signing both rookies fills the final two of the Spirit’s twenty roster spots. Ship, a forward, was drafted by the Seattle Reign and acquired by the Spirit in a trade for Diana Matheson. Castleberry, a UNC product, was picked by the Spirit with the No. 36 overall pick in this January’s college draft.
“Ari and Cam have both performed very well in preseason thus far,” said head coach Jim Gabarra in a club press release. “They are very willing to learn and are getting acclimated to our style of play, as well as the demands of the NWSL. We look forward to investing in and supporting their development and growth as players and people.”
Both players have regularly featured in the Spirit’s three preseason games. Castleberry has added speed on the flanks, both as a wingback in the 3-5-2 and a right back in a 4-3-3. Adept at crossing, Castleberry has helped stretch the field out when the Spirit have struggled to create attacks stemming from the center of the pitch.
Ship will add depth to the Spirit’s bench at forward and she can play as an attacking midfielder if needed. She hasn’t scored yet, but she’s helped create good chances and factored into numerous preseason goals while working hard to help Washington pressure opposing teams.
“It’s been really nice coming in here. The staff, the team, everyone has been really nice and welcoming and making me feel part of the team,” Ship said after Saturday’s win over Duke.