The Washington Spirit have acquired FC Bayern Munich defender Niki Cross via a trade with Seattle Reign FC. In exchange, Seattle Reign FC will receive the Spirit’s second-round pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft.
Cross, who is expected to join the Spirit in June following the conclusion of the German Frauen-Bundesliga season, was signed by Seattle for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, but was then traded to the Spirit.
Cross, 28, a native of Pembroke, Massachusetts was a four-year letter-winner and captain at Notre Dame Academy. Cross was named All-State, All-New England, All-American, McDonald’s All-American and ODP All-American during the course of her high school career. She was a repeatedly a member of the Patriot Ledger and Boston Globe All-Star Teams, was honored as the Boston Globe Division I Player of the Year, and received the Boston Sports Award for Female Athlete of the Year.
Cross attended the University of Connecticut between 2003 and 2006. During her time there, she led her team to the national championship game in 2003, earning BIG EAST All-Rookie team honors. She was also named to the MAC Hermann trophy shortlist as a senior. Cross played in 92 career games and started in 87.
Cross currently plays for FC Bayern Munich in the German Frauen-Bundesliga. She joined the team for the 2012/2013 season where she made 22 appearances and started in 22 matches playing a total of 1,953 minutes, helping her team win the prestigious DFB-Pokal Cup. Thus far during the 2013/2014 season, Cross has made 11 appearances and starts, playing a total of 965 minutes.
In 2008, Cross played professionally with Umeå Södra FF, a Swedish club, making six appearances. From 2009-2010 she played with Saint Louis Athletica of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), playing in 15 games. In 2011, Cross joined the Boston Breakers making 6 appearances in the WPS. Prior to joining FC Bayern Munich, Cross played for Medkila IL, in Norway making 7 appearances and scoring one goal in 2011.
“Niki is going to bring great ability and experience to the squad and we are all very excited to bring her back to the States and help us fight for a championship this season,” Spirit general manager and head coach Mark Parsons said. “Niki has proven to be a key player for her club in a very strong league and I can’t wait for her to show these qualities in DC over the coming years.”
“I’m thrilled to be coming back to the states. I have truly enjoyed my time with Bayern Munich and greatly developed as a player but for me on a personal level, it was time to make a change. Joining Washington Spirit puts me in a great city that has always been strongly supported by its fans,” Niki Cross said. “I’m looking forward to a new adventure. I haven’t played in the NWSL, so I’m excited to see how a lot of the players and teams have developed while I have been away. Being back state-side means my family will be able to attend games and I’m very excited about that. They have always supported my career.”
DOB: May 30, 1985
Current Club: FC Bayern Munich