Just a year removed from falling to the Portland Thorns in the inaugural NWSL Championship match, the Western New York Flash struggled to regain their championship form in 2014.
Head coach Aaran Lines has spent the opening months of the offseason making plenty of moves to rejuvenate his squad. Lines sent United States midfielder Carli Lloyd to the Houston Dash in exchange for midfielder Becky Edwards, United States defender Whitney Engen and a third-round pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft on October 16.
Engen played in 11 games after joining the Dash from Swedish side Tyresö. The Torrance, California native, was a four-year starter at the University of North Carolina and played for the Chicago Red Stars in 2011, Pali Blues in 2012 and the Liverpool Ladies in 2013, leading Liverpool to the FA WSL title.
Edwards started in 23 games for Houston in 2014 and recorded two assists. The Downingtown, Pa., native played in 10 games for the Portland Thorns in 2013, before suffering a season-ending ACL tear. The Florida State University graduate is currently on loan to Kristianstad DFF, where she had a brief stint in 2012.
Engen and Edwards both played under Lines in 2011, leading the Flash to a WPS championship.
Lloyd was one of the Flash’s key offensive players last season, scoring eight goals and adding five assists in 15 games for the NWSL’s second-best offense. Her veteran leadership and scoring to a young Dash roster and stagnant offense.
Lloyd has earned 176 international caps and is currently the second-highest active goal scorer with 51 goals.
“I want to thank Carli for the two years she was with the club. She provided tremendous service both on and off the field, part of the fact it was her best two years in club football,” general manager and head coach Aaran Lines said. “I wish her all the best for the future, both professionally and personally.”
The moves didn’t stop there.
The Flash then sent midfielder Angela Salem and defender Katherine Reynolds to the Washington Spirit and received the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NWSL draft and acquired midfielder Jordan Angeli.
Angeli made her return to professional soccer after missing the last several years with an ACL tear. She was signed by the Spirit ahead of the 2014 season and made two starts in 10 appearances for the Spirit.
Lines continued stocking up on draft picks when he sent Amy Barczuk to the Boston Breakers in exchange for the Breakers’ second round (No. 18 overall) pick.
The latest move for the Flash sent midfielder McCall Zerboni and defender Kathryn Williamson to the Portland Thorns. In return, Western New York received midfielder Amber Brooks.
Brooks comes to the Flash after being drafted in 2013 by the Thorns. She made her debut in 2014 after spending the 2013 season for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. She tallied one goal and two assists in 22 matches for the Thorns.
Williamson returns to Portland where she was drafted in 2013 before being shipped to the Flash just before the 2014 season began.
Flash GOT: Becky Edwards (M), Whitney Engen (D), Jordan Angeli (M), Amber Brooks (M)
Flash LOST: Carli Lloyd (M), Angela Salem (M), Katherine Reynolds (D), Amy Barczuk (D), McCall Zerboni (M), Kathryn Williamson (D)
Current Draft Picks*: 3rd, 6th, 7th, 18th, 21st
Though, it’s looking like the Flash will be nabbing another of the top-7 picks: