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U.S. Women’s National Team veteran Christie Welsh joins D.C. United Women

M.A.C. Hermann award winner with 39 caps joins new W-League side as player/coach

Former U.S. Women’s National Team forward Christie Welsh has joined D.C. United Women. Pending league approval, the WUSA and WPS vet will serve as both a player and assistant coach for the newly formed W-League club, which opens their first season next Wednesday, May 25th with a visit to the New Jersey Wildcats. Following another away match at New York Magic Sunday, June 5th, United open their home season Thursday, June 9th at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Welsh, who won the M.A.C. Hermann Award as a junior with Penn State in 2001, is the second player with senior U.S. National Team experience to join United, following current 20-year old Nittany Lion midfielder Christine Nairn, who signed with United for the summer recently after narrowly missing a spot on the 2011 World Cup roster for team USA.

“The second I heard about the D.C. United team I knew I wanted to be involved,” said Welsh, who was capped 39 times with the national team and netted 20 goals during her international career. “My past W-League experiences have been great ones and I look forward to being a part of another winning group.”

D.C. United Women coach Mike Jorden said he is excited to bring on a player and coach with Welsh’s international experience.

“Christie brings with her international experience at the highest level,” Jorden said. “She will play an important role for the club on the field, and just as important, in helping guide our younger players who are new to the this level.”

As a forward with the national team, Welsh scored 11 goals in 15 games for the United States in her first full year with the team in 2000. One of those goals was in her senior team debut against the Czech Republic.

In 2002, Welsh was a member of the U.S. U21 National Team that won the Nordic Cup Championship. Then, after nearly a two-year absence from the senior team, scored against Brazil in her first game back in 2004.

Welsh was also a member of the national team side at the at the 2005 Algarve Cup, where she netted the game-wining goal in championship match against Germany, and earned the Golden Boot Award as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals.

Welsh scored 82 goals and added 52 assists in a sterling four-year career at Penn State, which saw her honored as the first ever four-time NSCAA All-American in the history of women’s collegiate soccer.

The native of Massapequa Park, NY said she is already fitting in with the D.C. United Women players and staff.

“Working alongside Mike Jorden and [assistant coach] Cindi Harkes has been a tremendous experience thus far and I look forward to learning from them both,” she said. “And General Manager Tim Schweitzer has already put together an incredible staff and organization.

“This is an exciting experience to be part of creating an elite soccer environment once again in the DC area.”

D.C. United Women fill the vacancy left by the departure of the Washington Freedom Futures and will play their home slate of matches at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland. Also the former home of the WPS Washington Freedom, the SoccerPlex is an ideal showcase for women’s minor league soccer in the DC metropolitan area.

The team kicks off the 2011 campaign next Wednesday, May 25th when they travel to face 2005 W-league Champion New Jersey Wildcats. They follow that with a trip to face the New York Magic on June 5th, before opening their home season at the SoccerPlex, Thursday, June 9th a 7 p.m. against the Wildcats. In all, United will play five regular season home matches, and 10 games overall, plus a potential for some exhibitions. Should they win the Eastern Conference, the team would have the right to host the conference final four playoff weekend in mid July, where the winner would then head to Seattle for the W-League Championships the following weekend.

The first and longest-standing women’s league in North America, the W-League is USL’s highest level of women’s soccer in the United States and Canada. In addition to featuring international and professional stars, elite amateur players have the opportunity to compete on amateur teams in the league while maintaining their collegiate eligibility.