The Washington Spirit have announced that they’ve reached a deal with forward Kumi Yokoyama, signing the Japan national team attacker to a new two-year contract. Yokoyama, 27, was out of contract following the 2020 season, but there was never major doubt about her career with the Spirit continuing after becoming a popular player in her first NWSL season.
“After a year of adjustment to the particularly high demands of our league, we are hoping to get significantly more production out of Kumi this season,” said Spirit head coach Richie Burke in a team press release. “She finished with a flourish last year at Sky Blue and gave us a real taste of her undeniable quality. Bringing her back on an extended deal was really a no-brainer for our club — and I’m really looking forward to seeing her pick up where she left off at the end of last season.”
Last year, Yokoyama started in eight of a possible nine games for the Spirit, including all four Fall Series matches. While her play in the Challenge Cup was characterized by some near misses connecting with teammates, her acclimation to NWSL play was quick, and during the Fall Series she scored a game-winning goal against Sky Blue FC while producing 6 key passes over the course of the NWSL’s autumn tournament.
The pact with Yokoyama brings the Spirit up to 19 players under contract, three of whom (Yokoyama, Saori Takarada, and Julia Roddar) occupy international spots. Sources tell Black and Red United that the Spirit are planning on having the majority of their draft picks in from day one of the preseason, which begins this coming Monday. First round pick Trinity Rodman and fourth round pick Mariana Speckmaier have already declared that they will forego the spring collegiate season and report to camp.