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Spirit pick up defender Toni Pressley from Russian club Ryazan VDV

The Washington Spirit’s already talent-packed back line just got even deeper, as the team will add 23-year-old defender Toni Pressley as soon her current contract expires with Russian club Ryazan VDV next week.

Pressley, a former standout at Florida State University has played the last year for Ryazan VDV in the highest division of women’s soccer in Russia, and will arrive with the Spirit next week. Pending completion of NWSL and international transfer paperwork, the U.S. U23 National Team member would be available for Washington’s June 15 match (Western New York Flash – Maryland SoccerPlex).

“Toni is a very talented, athletic center back who reads the game well and has a great deal of international experience,” Spirit head coach Mike Jorden said. “We look forward to her arrival and feel she’s going to have an immediate impact to our team.”

Prior to joining Ryazan VDV in fall 2012, Pressley played for the Western New York Flash in WPSL-Elite as a center back. She helped the Flash win the league championship over the Chicago Red Stars after scoring a stunning equalizer in the last minute of stoppage time. The Flash would go on to win 4-2 in penalty kicks after a scoreless overtime.

Pressley has been a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team from the U17-U23 levels. She has 19 career appearances with the U20s, including playing every minute of the team’s four-game run to the quarterfinals of the 2010 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Earlier in 2013, she helped the U.S. U23s win the Four Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain.

Pressley has also played with the Boston Renegades of the W-League (Summer 2008), the Washington Freedom Futures (2009-2010) also in the W-League, and was the 13 overall pick of the 2012 WPS Draft by the Philadelphia Independence before the league folded prior to the start of the season.

While at Florida State from 2008-2011, Pressley put together one of the most illustrious careers any Seminole defender has ever had. She finished her career having appeared in more games (96) than all but two players in Florida State history. As a freshman, she was named All-ACC Second Team, and was a Herrmann Trophy Watch List candidate in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 she was named NSCAA All-American Fourth Team and All-ACC First Team. As a senior in 2011, she was an NSCAA All-American Third Team honoree in addition to being named to the All-ACC Tournament Team.

Pressley could make her NWSL debut on Saturday, June 15 at 7 p.m. when the Spirit host the Western New York Flash at the Maryland SoccerPlex. The Spirit eclipsed the 3,000-tickets sold mark over the weekend for the first home match since May 11, and expect to be at or near sold out capacity. The Home Side GA seating section has been sold out for a week. Fans are encouraged to order tickets in advance (tickets.washingtonspirit.com) to avoid missing out as several hundred did when the team halted ticket sales the day before their May 4 match against visiting Portland Thorns FC.