As the owner and coaching staff of the professional Washington Spirit awaited their follow-up to first-round pick Crystal Dunn (UNC) at last month’s NWSL college draft, they pondered the options for an ideal fit capable of immediate results on the pitch. When Washington’s second-round announcement of former W-League Reserve player Molly Menchel rang out in the room, the Spirit staff knew they had secured a well known commodity to bolster an already solid attacking backline.
No stranger to the Spirit faithful at the Maryland SoccerPlex, Menchel spent the previous two summers playing in the USL W-League in preparation for her return each fall to the starting eleven at the University of Virginia. The Alexandria (VA) native initially played for DC United Women in 2012 before the organization rebranded as the Washington Spirit the following year.
The speedy Menchel posted the majority of her starts at defender; however both her UVA and Spirit Reserves quickly learned her effectiveness as an outside wing on the frontline. In her senior season with the top ranked Cavaliers, she nabbed six goals and six assists while splitting time between the two positions.
“Playing in the W-League for a couple of years has been a good segue to the professional level,” commented Menchel. “DC United Women and the Spirit Reserves have helped me in getting ready to play at this next level.”
Menchel quickly rose on the national radar as a standout among numerous standouts, playing for arguably the best collegiate team during the regular season last year. She finds her experiences with the Spirit Reserves instrumental in showcasing her abilities to a wider audience in the NWSL, specifically former W-League head coach Mark Parson who now leads the professional Washington side.
“I am extremely excited to play for Mark (Parsons) at the professional level,” beamed Menchel. “With the Reserves, Mark’s approach to each training session and game was extremely professional and challenging while making those around him better people and players.”
“His passion, knowledge, and love for the game are undoubtedly contagious,” concluded Menchel.
The feeling of excitement is mutual, as head coach Parsons summarized the consensus of the entire Washington organization shortly after the draft.
“Molly is already a part of the Spirit family after being a key player in our Reserves,” said Parsons. “We are so pleased we had the opportunity to draft her.”
The Spirit Reserves will kick off their season at the Maryland SoccerPlex this May. The full schedule should be release in the next few weeks and will include doubleheaders with the Washington Spirit professional side.