By Mason Cavalier
Boyds, Md. (March 15, 2019) – The Washington Spirit will face James Madison University at City Stadium in Richmond, Va. in the first of four preseason games before the start of the 2019 NWSL regular season. The game is set for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff, and gates open at 6 p.m. [TICKETS]
The Spirit will be at full strength as all players have re-joined the team, including forward Mallory Pugh, and midfielders Rose Lavelle and Andi Sullivan, who recently completed the 2019 SheBelieves Cup with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
Also joining the Spirit ranks will be all four of the club’s first-round selections, and one second-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft: Jordan DiBiasi, Sam Staab, Tegan McGrady, Dorian Bailey and Bayley Feist.
The Spirit will use the game as a tune-up before they begin competing in the upcoming NWSL regular season, which they will kickoff at the Maryland Soccerplex against Sky Blue FC on April 13.
As the Spirit prepares for a new NWSL season, they will first face off against the JMU Dukes, champions of the Colonial Athletic Association regular season last year. Following a slow start last season, JMU underwent a mid-season resurgence as the Dukes went unbeaten in 10 of their last 12 games, finishing with an 11-8-1 record.
The strong JMU squad will feature junior Haley Crawford and sophomore Ginger Deel, two players selected to the Virginia All-State First Team. Crawford had a breakout year in 2018, leading the team in both goals, with nine, and assists, with six. In addition, Crawford was named First Team All-Colonial Athletic Association and First Team All-East Region.
In a partnership with the Richmond Strikers, the game will serve as the marquee game during the weekend’s Jefferson Cup, an event that hosts more than 5,000 players and 350 teams. The Spirit also played in the Jefferson Cup marquee game last year, as they faced the North Carolina Courage. The game recorded an attendance of 6,235 fans, a pre-season record.