Photo: Tony Quinn/ISI Photos
BOYDS, Md (Jan 23, 2017) – The Washington Spirit has acquired the rights to 2017 NWSL draftee Arielle Ship and a 2018 draft pick from the Seattle Reign FC in exchange for Canada National Team midfielder Diana Matheson, who departs Washington after four seasons.
In addition to Ship, who was the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2015 and finished her career at Cal with 29 goals and 14 assists, the Spirit received Seattle’s natural third-round pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft.
“Ari is a player we believe can come in and challenge immediately for a starting spot just about anywhere in our attacking end,” Spirit general manager and head coach Jim Gabarra explained. “She’s a very creative player who provides that double threat of either providing a goal or scoring one herself. Ari is someone we feel has a long future as a professional, so this is another player who has the ability to contribute to the Spirit for many years to come.”
[Video Profile of Arielle Ship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-580mSu_VI]
Matheson said in a statement to be released to her fans shortly that it was a difficult decision to leave the club, but she wanted try something new after a four-year run in the DMV region. She thanked the fans and the organization and expressed disappointment only in not being able to win the elusive NWSL Championship with the club.
During her 67 appearances with the Spirit, Matheson notched 23 goals and 12 assists, both club records. Her 23 goals is tied for ninth all-time in the league. Despite missing time to win her second consecutive Olympic bronze medal with Canada in 2016, the Oakville, Ontario native scored four goals in the NWSL, tied for second on the Spirit. The Canada National Team veteran has been a member of four FIFA Women’s World Cup teams (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015) and three Olympic teams (2008, 2012, 2016).
“I want to thank Diana for all she has invested in our club,” said Gabarra. “She has been a true professional and contributed in many ways to the growth, development, and success of our team.”
Holding midfielder Tori Huster, who recently signed a new contract with the Spirit, is now the lone remaining original Spirit player. The 27-year-old Ohio native and former Florida State star leads the only NWSL club she’s ever played for in appearances and minutes played.
Ship joins a draft class of dynamic attacking players for the Spirit all battling for the opportunity to fill the shoes of Matheson, U.S. Women’s National Team forward Crystal Dunn, and 2016 draftee Cali Farquharson, who is recovering from a late season ACL tear. Farquharson should return before the end of the 2017 season, while Dunn is expected back in Washington in 2018.
The club will soon announce a preseason schedule of top collegiate opponents that will include, for the first time in franchise history, a game played within the Commonwealth of Virginia on Saturday, March 25.
Full Name: Arielle Ship
Hometown: Westlake Village, CA
Height: 5’ 7”
Transaction: Washington Spirit acquires rights to Arielle Ship and a 2018 third round draft pick from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for Diana Matheson on January 23, 2017