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By Mason Cavalier
Boyds, Md. (March 12, 2019) – Washington Spirit players have returned to camp to begin training for the upcoming 2019 NWSL season.
Veteran players Aubrey Bledsoe, Tori Huster, and Cheyna Matthews offered their perspectives an eventful offseason that saw Bledsoe win a championship with the Sydney FC in the Australian W-League, and Matthews earn her first two caps with the Jamaican National Team.
Bledsoe on how winning is a culture: “I’m excited to be back, it was a great offseason with Sydney FC, winning the W-League Championship… Hopefully, I can continue to bring that back here with the Washington Spirit this year.” Bledsoe continued on to say, “We’ve talked about winning as a habit with [head coach Richie Burke]… trying to be competitive in everything we do and hopefully, that will translate into the games.”
Bledsoe was a key member in the championship-winning Sydney FC team alongside fellow spirit teammates Amy Harrison and Chloe Logarzo. Bledsoe made 45 saves in 11 starts during Sydney FC’s regular season, good for third in the league. In addition, Bledsoe kept two clean sheets.
Huster on her role as a veteran for the Spirit: “I’m excited to play that role, offer my experience, offer any kind of wisdom I can to the younger ones,” she continued, “college and the pro level are completely different and if we can make that transition easier for them then we can excel as a group.”
Huster, who has been with the Spirit since 2013, said that her years with the Spirit have flown by, and while she still did not feel like a veteran, she was ready to step into that role for the benefit of the team. The Cinncinati native is the most-capped player in Spirit history with 103 appearances for the club.
Matthews says she hopes to inspire others as she makes her return to professional soccer after the birth of her son Josiah: “Hopefully, this whole experience will inspire others to know that you can be a mom, you can play soccer, you can work, you can do stuff at home, it’s all possible.”
In addition, the forward was excited to be someone the Spirit rookies can look up to: “I’m hoping I can bring that [leadership] to the team, as well as maturity and professionalism, because those are things we need, and those things are learned better when you have people around you doing those things.”
Matthews missed the 2018 NWSL season but made her return to professional soccer with the Jamaican NT in early March with two appearances against Chile. Matthews made two starts as the Reggae Girlz swept Chile in a pair of friendlies used as a tune-up before the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.