Breaking NewsShelina Zadorsky

The Washington Spirit have announced that Canadian defender Shelina Zadorsky has been traded to the Orlando Pride in exchange for goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and a 2019 1st round draft pick.

Trade Parts

Bledsoe, a 5’8” Cincinnati, Ohio native, played in 10 games for the Pride in 2017 for a total of 990 minutes. After Ashlyn Harris was injured in May, Bledsoe was tasked with the starting gig.

Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit
Aubrey Bledsoe kicks the ball during warmups at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

While the Spirit get some much-needed assistance in goal, they send away their 2017 captain in Shelina Zadorsky in the process. Zadorsky played in 21 games for Washington racking up 1793 minutes of play. Often times paired up with Whitney Church, the pair struggled to hold back opposing attacks. In Orlando, Zadorsky will reunite with former Washington teammate, Ali Krieger.

What That Means

As a result, the trade leaves many questions for Spirit fans. The most obvious is what this means for goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé. It is hard to tell if Labbé will return to Washington or not after taking a leave of absence in September. If she does return, Bledsoe would most likely become the number one backup, beating out DiDi Haracic and Kelsey Wys. If Labbé does not return, the fight for the number one spot would likely come down to Wys and Bledsoe.

The next question is who starts at centerback on matchday one. Does Estelle Johnson return to the middle of the park? Does Jim Gabarra start two rookies in Rebecca Quinn and Schuyler DeBree? Quinn and DeBree did start together in their senior seasons at Duke, but their inexperience in the NWSL may hurt the Spirit, a team who cannot afford to struggle defensively for a second straight season.

Finally, Washington now has to find a new captain.  The likely candidates for the captaincy are Estelle Johnson and Tori Huster. Similar to last season, the decision on the captaincy will most likely occur late in preseason.

Preseason camp opens for the league on Feb. 19 with the season beginning on the weekend of March 24-25.

Breaking NewsBriana ScurryJim Gabarra

The first big move of the offseason for the Washington Spirit was announced on Wednesday afternoon. After assistant coach Denise Reddy left the Spirit to take over as the head coach of Sky Blue FC, Washington was left in need of a new first assistant to head coach Jim Gabarra. The club announced that former USWNT goalkeeper Briana Scurry will fill the role for Washington.

On top of her duties as an assistant on the full team staff, Scurry will also serve as the Techincal Advisor for the Spirit Academy programs in both Maryland and Virginia.

Scurry returns to the D.C. area after playing for the Washington Freedom from 2009-2010. She has attended numerous Spirit home games and was recognized as an Honorary Captain for the team in 2016.

“I’ve always been a loyal fan of the Washington Spirit and now I have the wonderful opportunity to truly be a part of the team,” Scurry said. “I’m excited to bring my experiences and knowledge to our players, and to contribute in an effective and positive manner to the culture of the team and organization as a whole.”

The former USWNT goalkeeper is most well known for her role in the iconic 1999 World Cup Final penalty shootout. Scurry had one save in the final that helped the team win on a Brandi Chastain kick. On top of being a World Cup champion, she also holds two Olympic gold medals from the 1996 and 2004 tournaments.

“We could not possibly be more excited and grateful to have Bri join our Spirit family,” said Spirit Head Coach and General Manager Jim Gabarra. “Bri brings an immense level of resources and experience that will help our players grow and develop. I look forward to working with her and helping her in her own personal growth and development.”

This week, the Spirit also announced this week the scheduling of two preseason matches. The first will take place on March 10 at the Evergreen Sportsplex in Leesburg, Va. The match will feature the University of North Carolina for the second straight season.

Richmond, Va. will host it’s first ever NWSL event as the Spirit will head south to take on the North Carolina Courage. The match will take place on March 17 at City Stadium. This will be the first time the Spirit will play another NWSL team in a preseason match. Tickets for this match will go on sale Friday, December 8.