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Washington Spirit Signs Draft Picks Ahead of Preseason

With the National Women’s Soccer League season a little more than one month away, Germantown’s hometown professional soccer team, the Washington Spirit, has been busy signing free agents and draft pick, and making roster moves as the team preps for the 2019 campaign.

The Spirit announced an initial 35-player roster ahead of the opening week of NWSL preseason training camp. The roster included 35-players, of which 14 non-roster invitees and five players that were selected in the 2019 NWSL College Draft. Seven members of the roster have recent national team experience, including: USA players Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle, Andi Sullivan and Tegan McGrady; Australian internationals Amy Harrison and Chloe Logarzo; and Jamaica’s Cheyna Matthews.

Lavelle, Pugh and Sullivan have re-joined the club after their participation of the 2019 She Believes Cup. Harrison and Logarzo will arrive to Spirit camp after the Cup of Nations concludes in Australia. Matthews is missing the start of preseason camp as she represents Jamaica in a pair of friendlies against Chile.

The Spirit has signed all five players selected by the club in the 2019 NWSL College Draft, prior to the start of preseason training camp. Ranging from the No. 3 overall pick to No. 17, each of the five players were taken in the first two rounds of the draft on Jan. 10 in Chicago. Washington’s draft class includes first-round picks Jordan DiBiasi, Sam Staab, Tegan McGrady and Dorian Bailey, and second-round pick Bayley Feist. Per league and team rules, the terms of the deals were not disclosed.

“We feel we’ve drafted five top players who can all contribute right away in this league, and we believe making an immediate commitment to them is important,” said the Spirit’s new Head Coach Richie Burke. “We’ve got five young stars of the future and I’m really looking forward to integrating them into our squad.”

Earlier this month, the Spirit re-signed a core of six players who will make up the backbone of the club. The Spirit re-signed Meggie Dougherty Howard, Mallory Eubanks, Ashley Hatch, Tori Huster, Arielle Ship and Andi Sullivan, who have all inked new contracts with the club.

From Huster, Washington's longest-tenured player - to Sullivan, who was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2018 NWSL College Draft - the group of six features an array of versatile field players with a history of strong contributions to the Spirit.

These six players join the club’s seven previously announced contracts, including: Megan Crosson, Cali Farquharson, Cheyna Matthews, Chloe Logarzo, Amy Harrison, and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.

The Spirit have also signed forward/defender Paige Nielsen who has previously played professionally in the NWSL, and abroad in Australia and South Korea. She was originally drafted with the 25th pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft by the Seattle Reign, for whom she made two appearances.

Since then, Nielsen has played for the Western Sydney Wanderers of the Australian W-League and Suwon FC in South Korea, for whom she made 43 appearances and scored 13 goals. Most recently, Nielsen was a member of the W-League’s Canberra United. She played four years of college soccer at the University of North Carolina. She helped the Tar Heels win the NCAA National Championship as a freshman in 2012.