The National Women’s Soccer League announced the 55 allocated players among the eight NWSL teams on Friday, and the Washington Spirit received seven international players.
Joining the Spirit for their inaugural season are goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, defender Ali Krieger and midfielder Lori Lindsey from the U.S. Soccer Federation; Robyn Gayle and Diana Matheson from the Canadian Soccer Association; and defender Alin Garciamendez and midfielder Guadalupe Worbis from the Federation of Mexican Football. All three U.S. players have ties to the area as former players with the Washington Freedom.
The 27-year-old Harris returns to the Washington area after playing for the Freedom during the 2010 WPS season to help the team reach the playoffs. Harris was the 2011 WPS Goalkeeper of the Year for the Western New York Flash as the team won the regular-season title and championship. The 2011 title included a key penalty kick save against Philadelphia in the shootout to clinch the title.
Krieger returns to the U.S. professionally after playing the past five years in Germany, where she helped FFC Frankfurt win the German Cup in 2011 and the treble – the UEFA Women’s Championship, Women’s Bundesliga and German Cup – in 2008. The 28-year-old native of Dumfries, Va., played 10 matches with the Washington Freedom during the 2009 WPS season.
Lindsey, 32, first played for the Freedom in 2003 to help Washington win the WUSA Founders Cup that year. The Indianapolis, Ind., native would return to Washington in WPS for 2009, when she posted two goals and an assist in 18 starts and 19 games played. Lindsey was an alternate on the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 2012 London Olympics roster as the USA earned its fourth gold medal.
From Canada, the 28-year-old Matheson has played for her country’s national team since 2003 and is coming off a bronze medal performance at the 2012 London Olympics. She scored the game-winning goal of the bronze medal game against France for the 1-0 victory. Matheson attended Princeton and was the Ivy League school’s Women’s Athlete of the Year in 2008. Gayle also was part of Canada’s bronze medal team, and the former captain for the University of North Carolina won an NCAA title in 2006.
From Mexico, the 29-year-old Worbis brings veteran leadership with 10 years’ experience with Mexico’s first team. Garciamendez, a 21-year-old native of Fairview, Texas, has played for Mexico’s national team since 2008 and had a banner career at Stanford University, advancing to the Final Four in all four seasons (2009-2012) and winning the College Cup against Duke in 2011.
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