The Washington Spirit in 2016 was all about one word: team. There were 24+ players who contributed to the most successful season in Spirit history. As a tribute, we’re taking a look back at each positional group and their success in 2016. First will be the goalkeepers:
Spirit fans had been introduced to Kelsey Wys during the 2015 season when she recorded three shutouts in 11 starts in her first season in Washington. Wys, a former Florida State University stand out, re-signed with the team for 2016, pleasing Spirit fans who knew they would have a goalkeeper they could count on.
Needing another goalkeeper on the roster, new general manager and head coach Jim Gabarra acquired Canadian international Stephanie Labbé, giving a second strong option in goal. Gabarra said from the beginning that there was no clear cut number one, and both keepers proved why that was the case throughout the season.
Labbé grabbed the starting position at the beginning of the season, contributing heavily to the Spirit’s five match unbeaten streak to open up the year. In her eight starts of the campaign, the Alberta native recorded five shut outs, a club record for a single season.
When Labbé left to represent Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games (leading her country to a bronze medal in the process), Wys stepped into goal for the Spirit and never relinquished the spot. Recording two shut outs and starting every match through the 2016 NWSL Championship, Wys proved herself time and time again, including two matches in which she made 12 saves each.
Not to be overlooked is the third member of the goalkeeping team, DiDi Haracic, who was an amateur call up for matches while Labbé was away with the CanWNT and pushed both Labbé and Wys every day in practice.
In the 2016 regular season, Labbé and Wys combined to make 85 saves with an 81% save rate.
With Wys’s stellar play in 2016 combined with her past two NWSL seasons, she has climbed to eighth place in the NWSL all time in number of saves with 150.