Conny Pohlers joined the Washington Spirit on the practice field for the first time on Wednesday. Following a three-week break after helping her home club, VfL Wolfsburg, capture its first UEFA Women’s Championship last month, the veteran German striker and all-time leading scorer in European competitions (42 goals) hopes to be in the lineup when the Spirit (1-5-3) attempt to snap their three-game winless skid at FC Kansas City on Sunday.
Pohlers’ arrival on loan for the remainder of the inaugural NWSL season is the culmination of a process that began back in the spring, when she reached out current Spirit defender and former FFC Frankfurt teammate Ali Krieger.
“I was thinking in March, ‘What can I do in these three months?’” Pohlers said. “In 2003 I played in Atlanta, and I decided I want to go back to the U.S.”
Upon her arrival stateside Tuesday, Pohlers was greeted with a friendly and healthy dose of her native language by anxiously awaiting residents at Ingleside at King Farm, a retirement community where she will live along with teammates Diana Matheson and Robin Gayle.
Along with recently acquired defender Toni Pressley, who made her Spirit debut in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Western New York, Pohlers immediately joined the starters in training and began to get to know the rest of her new teammates. It’s a group that is quite different from the Atlanta Beat squad that lost to the Washington Freedom in the 2003 Founders Cup.
“We had a great team with Homare Sawa and Charmaine Hooper and Brianna Scurry,” Pohlers said. “I played with them, and now I’m here with a very young team. It’s different, but the soccer is the same.”
Despite her layoff, Pohlers pronounced herself fit for selection.
“I needed this break, but three weeks is enough,” Pohlers said. “Now I am happy that I have a ball at my feet.”
Pohlers will make her NWSL debut this Sunday at 4:10 p.m. ET on the road against fourth-ranked FC Kansas City (5-4-1). The match will be shown via live stream on the NSWL YouTube channel.
Following another away match against Western New York on June 28, the Spirit will return home on Wednesday, July 3 to play Kansas City at the Maryland SoccerPlex at 7:30 p.m.