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Our 2020 season has ended, and we now shift our focus to bringing a championship to the DMV in 2021. Today, I’d like to recap several highlights of 2020 and share some of our plans for next year.
As we all have lived, 2020 has been a year like no other. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect to play matches in a bubble and without fans this year. It has been an incredible mental test for our club. We started off our preseason in Florida and got shut down. Our players returned home, and our staff had to figure out a plan to keep them fit and sharp. Then our league created the NWSL Challenge Cup and we went to the bubble in Utah and ended up in second place in group play. After several weeks off, we played in the NWSL Fall Series and ended up in 3rd place in the Verizon Community Shield.
We battled Covid-19 without a single positive test. We battled a run of injuries and delivered results near the top of the table. We have had Aubrey Bledsoe, Andi Sullivan, Ashley Hatch, Jordan DiBiasi and Ashley Sanchez in USWNT camps in the past 12 months.
Congratulations to our players and staff for a job well done.
Now we shift our focus to 2021. We are close, really close, to winning trophies. The first thing we needed to do was to keep our group intact. We signed Paige Nielsen, Sam Staab, Tegan McGrady, Jordan DiBiasi, Ashley Hatch, Dorian Bailey and our 2020 Player of the Year Bayley Feist to multi-year contracts. They join Aubrey Bledsoe, Andi Sullivan and Ashley Sanchez under multi-year contracts. We are also exercising our club option on another group of players, so our group is intact.
At her request, we waived Cheyna Matthews to provide the best solution for her and her family. One of the greatest thrills I have had in the past 22 months was seeing Cheyna score two goals before her first Mother’s Day. I have great admiration for Cheyna, her husband Jordan and the entire Matthews family. Cheyna and her family are residing in Nashville and she is seeking to resume her career closer to her home. I wish her and her family the best, and I thank Cheyna for all of her contributions to the Spirit. She is an exemplary professional, and a complete role model for all.
The 2020 NWSL Expansion Draft was held for Racing Louisville FC this past Thursday. Katie McClure and Katie Lund were selected by Louisville. Katie McClure joined our team as our 23rd draft pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, while Katie Lund joined us in early 2020 as an undrafted player out of the University of Arkansas. Both are great people and players. We enjoyed having them on our team, and we wish them well in Louisville.
So, what else can you expect from us this off-season? We will compete to sign the best available international players in the world. We have the 2nd and 9th picks in the 2021 NWSL College Draft. Between signings and the draft, we will bring more top talent into the club. Our mission is to have championship parades in DC. We will leave no stone unturned and will not rest until we deliver that to you.
Here’s to making that happen in 2021. Thank you for your incredible support!!!!!