Germantown, Md. (July 31, 2012) - For the past two seasons, Marisa Abegg has been a rock on the D.C. United Women back line and an unquestioned leader of the team.
Only one player, Jerica DeWolfe, has appeared in more D.C. United Women matches than Abegg over the past two years and no one has played more minutes than the Stanford graduate. As the team’s primary center back, she helped the Black-and-Red defense allow a tied for conference-low eight goals during the 2012 regular season.
Abegg, the D.C. United Women captain since the team formed in 2011, has played her last game with the team for the foreseeable future now that the 2012 W-League schedule has come to a close. She has immediate plans to relocate to Yucca Valley, Calif. for the upcoming year and does not expect to return to the D.C. area for another season with United Women, although she has not completely ruled out the possibility.
“She’s been the vocal leader and the face of the team for the last two years, and when she’s not around you can feel it,” said D.C. United Women head coach Mike Jorden on Abegg. “She brings enthusiasm and energy with her smile to every season and every game and she will be missed.”
Given all of her contributions to the club in its first two years of existence, there was perhaps no better way for Abegg to go out than by scoring the game-winning penalty kick on the final day of the season in the third place match at the W-League Championships on Sunday afternoon. With D.C. United Women tied 6-6 in PK’s with Quebec City after playing to a 1-1 draw in regulation, Abegg stepped up and sealed the game for her team by converting what she recalls as her first penalty kick since youth soccer.
“There wasn’t much more I could have asked for in my final game,” she said on hitting the match-sealing PK. “The best thing was being able to leave with a win for our team. Although it wasn’t the game we wanted to be in, it was a good way to finish out the season. To be top three in the league in our second year, it was an incredible feeling.”
As much as Abegg has given the D.C. United Women brand over the past two years, on and off the field, she credits the team and its always growing fan base with re-igniting her love for the game of soccer. And, although suiting up for the Black-and-Red may not be in her future, she does see herself continuing to play organized soccer.
“I’ve had a really good time here, and before D.C. United Women, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play soccer again,” said Abegg. “Although I’m still really focused on my career and hopefully going to graduate school, D.C. United Women has really instilled in me the love for the game again.”
Yucca Valley, located in the Eastern California desert, is short on recreational park soccer but Abegg said she is currently researching co-ed leagues and hopes to find one when she arrives there. Whether she is able to return to the club or not, Abegg said she is grateful for all her teammates and fans over the last two years, and stated the following as her parting message to the D.C. United Women community:
“I want to thank everyone who’s been part of this team and getting it to where it is now,” she said. “If we look back to last year where we started, having thrown together a group of girls and after about two weeks having our first game, to this year, having close to a real preseason and having a fantastic group of coaches and players, and a growing base of fans who have really been great.”