We’re at the point of the year where we’re working our way through all the end of season awards and looking ahead to playoffs, which seems like the perfect opportunity to look at who all is on the Washington Spirit — and what that roster will be able to do against the Chicago Red Stars in Saturday’s NWSL Championship.
And, to mix things up a little bit, it seems like the perfect time to look at the Spirit and this upcoming match through the lens of astrology.
Spirit and star (signs)
I’ve been keeping a list of every player in the NWSL’s sun sign since the end of the 2019 season, and this year’s Spirit roster is one of the more astrologically-balanced teams I’ve seen. There’s at least one player on the roster for each of the 12 sun signs — the sign you’ve probably heard based on the day you were born, which is taken to represent one’s identity.
Since it would take a while to go through each player line-by-line, I’ve also found it helpful to use some of astrology’s main grouping techniques.
Washington’s roster is similarly balanced in terms of its “qualities” — which groups signs into “cardinal,” “fixed,” or “mutable” based on their ties with creation, preservation and transformation.
If there’s an area where we don’t quite see that same level of balance, it’s in the signs’ elements — the 12 signs are associated with fire, air, water or earth, each of which carries its own meaning — where the Spirit’s roster features fewer earth sign players than those with fire, air or water signs. It’s not a significant lack of earth signs, which are seen as stable and practical, in of itself, but it’s something that will be interesting to watch against a team like the Red Stars.
What does this mean for the final?
I wrote about how Chicago is a very earth-sign heavy team last year—something that was consistent with the roster when I started keeping track of NWSL astrology in 2019 and holds true now. Against The Portland Thorns last weekend, six of the 11 players who started for the Red Stars were earth signs. The number will likely grow on Saturday, especially if Katie Johnson, an earth sign, steps into the space in the XI that air sign Kealia Watt filled at striker.
That’s in pretty stark contrast to the Spirit, who, as mentioned above, have comparably fewer earth signs on their roster and will only start one in Trinity Rodman.
For Chicago, that earth sign-heavy starting XI meshed well with the team’s defensive game plan against the Portland Thorns: keeping numbers in the box defensively, marking players tightly and positioning themselves to cut off passing angles. They’ll rely on that same stability and consistency to contain the Spirit’s attack on Saturday.
For Washington that offense will fall on the likes of Rodman, Ashley Hatch, Tara McKeown and Ashley Sanchez.
As mentioned above, Rodman, a Taurus, is the only earth sign of the group. Her growth over the season and willingness to take players on will prove invaluable for the Spirit.
Hatch is a Gemini, a sign defined by (sometimes too much) thinking. Geminis aren’t always the most flashy players — though there are a couple notable exceptions — but they tend to have an awareness that allows them to be in the right place at the right time, which is always a good thing for scoring goals.
McKeown and Sanchez are both water signs, generally known for being emotional and intuitive. Pisces, like Sanchez are known for being creative and adaptable, and water signs tend to have a certain smoothness on the ball. I’m especially interested to see how Sanchez potentially going up against the likes of fellow Pisces Morgan Brian plays out in this game.
While the Spirit lacks fire signs in its front four, it makes up for that deficit further back in the field — through players like Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Sam Staab and Andi Sullivan.
Fire signs are known for their energy, and Sagittariuses — like Sonnett and Sullivan — focus on expanding horizons and a love of movement. Sullivan’s work in the No. 6, especially, has been instrumental to Washington’s success all season, and the Spirit will need that movement to break down Chicago’s block on Saturday.
But it’s also Scorpio season — a time of transformation that, regardless of who wins tomorrow, will see a club take home their first NWSL trophy. Whether that plays out in favor of the Spirit or the Red Stars is anyone’s guess.