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In a Busy Week, Washington Spirit Make a Splash at NWSL Draft, Trade Top Defenders, & Name Coach

The Washington Spirit, Germantown’s hometown professional women’s soccer team, had a very busy week.

The team, which ended a disappointing 2018 season with just two wins finishing 2-7-3 and the firing head coach Jim Gabbara, made a big splash in the National Women’s Soccer League annual draft held in Chicago on Thursday, Jan. 10 and shook up their back line trading away two of their top defenders to do so.

Earlier this week, the Spirit formally announced the hiring of Richie Burke as their new head coach, along with a technical staff combining some new hires with some holdovers. The hiring of Burke was first reported by the Washington Post. Burke’s official title is Head Coach and Technical Director, an indicator that team president Chris Hummer will remain the General Manager.

Burke and Hummer, along with newly announced CEO Larry Best, wasted no time shaking things up at this week’s NWSL draft. After completing two trades for additional first round picks in the lead-up to the draft, the Spirit made four of the top nine selections in the 2019 NWSL College Draft on Thursday.

The Spirit selected four players in the first round: midfielder Jordan DiBiasi from Stanford, defender Samantha Staab from Clemson, defender/forward Tegan McGrady from Stanford and midfielder Dorian Bailey from North Carolina. During the draft, the Spirit also acquired a second-round pick from Portland Thorns FC and selected forward/midfielder Bayley Feist with the 17th overall pick.

However, the cost of extra picks was two of the teams best defenders in Estelle Johnson and Caprice Dydasco, and goalkeeper Didi Haracic who were traded to Blue Sky FC, the team which came in dead last in the NWSL in 2019.