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Spirit acquire Mexican National Team defender Arianna Romero from Dash

The Washington Spirit announced today the club has acquired defender Arianna Romero in a trade with the Houston Dash. In exchange, the Spirit sent defender Niki Cross to the Dash.

“I am very excited to be joining the Washington Spirit,” Arianna Romero said. ” Thank you to the Houston Dash and fans for a memorable rookie season!! Can’t wait to get in to DC and get to work!”

Romero, 22, made 19 starts in 21 appearances and clocked 1765 minutes in her rookie season for the Dash. The attacking full back from Glendale, Ariz. is a member of the Mexico Women’s National Team and recently played a role in Mexico’s gold medal win at the Central American and Caribbean Games alongside new Spirit teammate Veronica Perez.

“Ari was one of the best rookies in the league last year and is someone we have been very interested in for a while”, Spirit general manager and coach Mark Parsons said. “She will bring plenty of quality in the back as well as a great attitude to get forward and create chances in the attacking third.”

Romero, who was allocated to Seattle Reign FC in January 2014, was then selected seventh overall by the Dash in the 2014 NWSL Expansion Draft.

An alum of the University of Nebraska, Romero was named the 2013 Big Ten Defender of the Year after leading the Cornhuskers to Big Ten regular season and conference tournament championships.

Cross, 29, made eight starts in 10 appearances for the Spirit last season after the Spirit acquired her rights from Seattle Reign FC in June 2014.

“Niki came in and contributed a lot with her performances at center back and helped us with our run to the playoffs,” Parsons added. “It is tough to see her move on after such a short period but we wish her the very best at Houston”

An alum of the University of Connecticut, Cross spent two seasons in the Frauen Bundesliga playing for FC Bayern Munich prior to joining the Spirit. The Pembroke, Mass. native also had stints with Umeå Södra FF in Sweden and Medkila IL in Norway, along with Saint Louis Athletica and the Boston Breakers of Women’s Professional Soccer.

Photo By Thomas B. Shea/For The Chronicle