Spirit Sign Four Rookie Players From 2021 NWSL Draft

Washington Spirit  |   March 12, 2021
Spirit Sign Four Rookie Players From 2021 NWSL Draft Featured Image

Ian Decker
Alejandra Martin

Leesburg, Va., (03/12/21) – The Washington Spirit have signed rookies Trinity Rodman, Anna Heilferty, Sydney Schneider and Mariana Speckmaier to contracts. All four players were selected in January’s NWSL Draft and have been training with the team during preseason since the beginning of February. 

Rodman, selected with the second overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, signed a three-year contract with the club. The forward from Washington State University did not appear in any games for the Cougars after joining them as a freshman in the fall of 2020. Due to Covid-19, Washington State and the Pac-12 did not play a fall season in 2020. Despite having never played collegiately, Rodman has represented the United States at the U-20 level. 

Expectations can be burdensome for some new professionals, especially when you’re the youngest player taken in the draft and selected very early at the number two pick,” said Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke. “Trinity has shown already in training that she is a tremendous talent and the pressure to meet those high expectations has not affected her in any way during this preseason period. We have seen glimpses of her speed and directness in match-play situations and I’m really excited to see her playing at the NWSL level to see what she can do against some experienced pros.” 

Spirit CEO and Director of Sporting Operations Larry Best had this to say about Rodman: “Trinity brings what could be a new generation of young players entering the league. She is a driven player who has high expectations to be a difference-maker in the NWSL and on the international scene. Our technical staff is looking forward to helping her achieve her goals and objectives through Personal Development Plans both on and off the field.”

Heilferty, taken with the 19th overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, signed a two-year deal with a one-year option. Heilferty, a midfielder/forward from Boston University, played a total of 62 games, making 55 starts. In her 2,702 minutes of game time, Heilferty scored 13 times and earned 10 assists. Over her three-year career as a Terrier, Heilferty was named to the All-Patriot League First Team (2018), selected as the Patriot League Tournament MVP the same year and earned Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors in 2017. She also represented the U.S. U-18 National Team in 2017. Prior to graduating, Heilferty spent time training with the Spirit’s first team as a member of the Spirit Reserves. 

“It’s been well documented that Anna spent much of last fall training with our Spirit squad and made quite an impression on our staff and players during that period,” said Burke. “It was a real no-brainer for us to add her to our ranks, especially with her being a local talent and having strong ties to the area. She has picked up in preseason where she left off in the fall and has immediately fit right in with the group. I’m happy with her progress in the early part of her fledgling professional career and hope she continues to progress in this super-competitive environment.”

We are thrilled to have drafted and signed Anna as a hometown player who will be able to compete at the professional level in front of family and friends,” said Best. Anna is a very versatile and talented player who has really impressed us and we look forward to watching her continue to develop.”

Schneider, selected with the 29th overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, signed a two-year deal with a one-year option. Schneider, a goalkeeper from UNC Wilmington, played in 44 games, making 19 starts. In her 3,674 minutes of game time, Schneider made 131 saves, allowed a total of 49 goals and recorded nine shutouts. Over her three-year career as a Seahawk, Schneider was named First-Team All-Colonial Athletic Association and NCCSIA All-State selection, CAA Goalkeeper of the Year. Schneider also represented Jamaica in FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying, led the team to a third-place finish at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship and was the starting goalkeeper for the team in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Burke said the following about the signing of Schneider: “We are pleased to add a top, young talent like Sydney into our keeper corps, especially one with World Cup experience. Working alongside a goalkeeper of Aubrey Bledsoe’s stature will be a perfect place for Sydney to learn her trade and she couldn’t have picked a better role model. We have a policy at our club to sign our draft picks rather than bring them in on a trial basis, which we are able to do because we do our homework on the front end. With Sydney, our scouting and draft plans certainly worked out well and we are very happy with the progress she has made since signing her rookie contract for us in early February.”

Best had this to say about Schneider: “Having a player with World Cup experience like Sydney is a wonderful addition to our squad.  She brings a level of confidence in the goalkeeper position based on playing at the highest level internationally.”

Speckmaier, selected with the 39th overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, signed a one-year deal with a one-year option. A forward from the Clemson Tigers, played in nine games for the Tigers in 2020, making seven starts. In her 540 minutes of game time in 2020, Speckmaier scored two times and earned one assist. Over her four-year career with Clemson, Speckmaier scored 25 goals and created 29 assists. 

“Though our last pick in the 2021 NWSL draft, Mariana has hit the ground running in training and has proven worthy of the two-year deal she signed with our club in early February,” said Burke. “Joining such a strong squad like ours, with eight internationals on the roster, can be a bit daunting for any rookie. To her credit, Mariana has adjusted extremely well and I’m really pleased to have her on board for this 2021 campaign.”

Best added this about Speckmaier: “After a great career at Clemson, Mariana now gets to join the professional ranks to continue her play in the NWSL and internationally with the Venezuelan National Team.  Any player with international experience is a welcomed addition to our squad.”

Spread the love