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Washington Spirit head to Florida, update 2021 NWSL preseason roster

Former OL Reign midfielder Morgan Andrews has joined the club on trial as the second leg of preseason commences in West Palm Beach

Jordan Small / Courtesy of Washington Spirit

Just a day after after moving their preseason camp to warmer weather in Florida, the Washington Spirit have updated their preseason roster. While the club has made no new out-and-out signings, they have shuffled things up with their trialists, bringing four-year NWSL veteran Morgan Andrews into camp.

Due to the NWSL setting up the lengthiest preseason in league history, there are still over five weeks between today and the start of the Challenge Cup, which is currently set to kick off on April 9. Washington is training on the campus of Palm Beach Atlantic University, located in West Palm Beach, until March 21. During that spell, they’ll play closed-door preseason games against their hosts (Palm Beach Atlantic is an NCAA division 2 school), a select team from the IMG Academy, and the Orlando Pride.

While the club has not announced new signings after spending a month playing in the Washington Football Team’s indoor bubble, those changes among the trialists are the only shifts in the composition of the camp roster. College draft picks Trinity Rodman, Anna Heilferty, Sydney Schneider, and Mariana Speckmaier are all still with the team, while Tara McKeown will be with USC throughout the NCAA spring season. USWNT players Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett have also returned to the club after their success during the SheBelieves Cup.

Swedish midfielder Julia Roddar, who was unable to report to the team’s first month of preseason due to a national team call-up in the recently concluded FIFA window, is not yet in camp. According to the Spirit, the club is awaiting her US visa; once that is finalized, she will join up with the rest of the team.

Midfielder Jordan DiBiasi remains in Colorado while she continues rehabilitation of a previously reported hip injury. Washington had previously been optimistic about her joining this leg of camp, but per a club spokesperson her timetable for a return to the team is uncertain as she continues her physical therapy.

Striker Averie Collins, who suffered a torn ACL just before the official start of formal workouts, remains on the official roster. Earlier this month, head coach Richie Burke hinted that the club was likely to place her on the season-ending injury list in order to open up a roster spot for a replacement. However, even with the 19 players under contract and the club’s tendency to sign all of their draft picks, there would still be four open roster spots available whether or not Collins is placed on the Season-Ending Injury list.

Andrews, 25, is listed as a forward on the preseason roster but has played almost exclusively as a central midfielder during her NWSL career. After helping the University of Southern California win the NCAA tournament in 2016, she was an immediate starter as a rookie with the Boston Breakers in 2017. Following the Breakers having to fold and the resulting dispersal draft, Andrews ended up with OL Reign, making 25 appearances in 2018 and 2019, mostly as a regularly-used substitute. In 2020, she played one Challenge Cup match before appearing in all four of the Reign’s Fall Series games.

On the other hand, trialist Furtuna Velaj is no longer in camp. The Spirit were initially scheduled to have Chinyelu Asher and Anika Kallash in camp, but the pair were first going to compete for a spot on Racing Louisville’s roster. Asher, a former Spirit Reserves player and member of Jamaica’s national team, is on the latest Louisville preseason roster.

The current Spirit preseason roster is as follows:

Under contract (19)

Goalkeepers (2): Aubrey Bledsoe, Devon Kerr
Defenders (7): Sam Staab, Natalie Jacobs, Kelley O’Hara, Emily Sonnett, Tegan McGrady, Paige Nielsen, Tori Huster
Midfielders (6): Julia Roddar**, Saori Takarada, Jordan DiBiasi**, Andi Sullivan, Bayley Feist, Dorian Bailey
Forwards (4): Averie Collins, Ashley Sanchez, Kumi Yokoyama, Ashley Hatch

Draft picks (5)

Goalkeepers: Sydney Schneider
Midfielders: Anna Heilferty
Forwards: Trinity Rodman, Tara McKeown**, Mariana Speckmaier

Trialists (1)

Midfielders: Morgan Andrews

**: Not yet reported