With the 2018 season beginning on Saturday, Follow Your Spirit brings you a break down of each position group on the Washington Spirit. First up, the goalkeepers.
#1 – Aubrey Bledsoe
- Age: 26
- Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
#21 – DiDi Haracic
- Age: 25
- Hometown: Round Hill, Virginia
#19 – Kelsey Wys
- Age: 27
- Hometown: Coral Springs, Florida
On January 23, 2018, the Washington Spirit traded for a new number one goalkeeper. Aubrey Bledsoe, who started 11 games for Orlando in 2017, would replace Stephanie Labbé. Despite some less than stellar numbers in the preseason, expect Bledsoe to have a solid season between the pipes for Washington.
The more interesting aspect of this group is who will be the backup. It was unclear who would get the number two spot for 2018. When the roster was released Monday afternoon, the picture was as blurry as ever. With both DiDi Haracic and Kelsey Wys making the roster, it appears as if the competition will stem through at least the first month of the year. While Haracic played seven games in 2017, Wys was held out as she continued to recover from an ACL tear in late 2016. The biggest question going forward is how close to 100 percent is Kelsey Wys.
Player to Watch
Aubrey Bledsoe is the player to watch in 2018. The biggest question is how she will handle being the outright starter from day 1.
“I’ve been wanting to get minutes in the NWSL for a couple years now,” Bledsoe said after the last preseason game. “As a backup keeper, it’s all about being ready for an opportunity when it comes and it came. I thought I did fairly well. Every game I progressed and tried to take something and add it to my game. Now I’m a completely different player, much more confident, better with my feet, reading the game, just the speed of play, I’ve adjusted to it a bit and I’m excited to step into the Spirit this year and it’s an opportunity to be the outright starter. I’m really excited for that and hopefully, I can lead the defense and have a good season here with the Spirit.”
Bledsoe played for Sydney FC of the Australian W-League in the offseason. Bledsoe found out about the trade while still playing in Australia.
“I was excited,” Bledsoe said. “I got a call in the middle of the night from Coach Sermanni. I’d actually missed his call earlier and I knew I was traded so I stayed up really late till he called me back and I was just like ‘what team, what team?’ I figured there was a chance it could be the Spirit. I actually played for Jim [Gabarra] my rookie year at Sky Blue in New Jersey. So I talked to Tom and then Jim called me right away and it was a short conversation because I was really tired.”
Tomorrow’s preview will take a look at the defense for the Spirit. With new faces and limited numbers, this is one of the position groups with the most change heading into 2018.