The NWSL offseason didn’t stop with the trades once November struck. Six of the nine clubs made moves between Nov. 12 and Dec. 12 (with more on the way before the NWSL draft, I’m sure). Here’s our take on how the final five trades broke down:
The Seattle Reign made a slew of player moves following a disappointing opening season that propelled them to the top of the table in 2014. Laura Harvey was relatively quiet during the 2014 offseason, making just one trade thus far with FC Kansas City.
Reign receive: midfielder/defender Merritt Mathias
Blues receive: defender Kate Deines + No. 26 pick (2015)
How it pans out: This looks like it works both ways. FC Kansas City gets a solid defender who can step in at outside back, which will definitely become useful as the World Cup push begins. Mathias made 20 appearances in 2014 for the Blues, starting 16 matches. She can play in the midfield or as an outside back so it looks to be a like-for-like swap.
Kansas City also receives a third-round draft pick for Friday’s College Draft. The Blues had seven picks in last season’s draft and with this pick puts them up to six for 2015. While they don’t have a first-round pick, they do hold three picks in the second round of a solid draft class.
The Western New York Flash were back at it again, dealing with the Washington Spirit for the second time. It was another like-for-like swap with the two clubs trading a goalkeeper apiece. The Spirit also picked up a fourth-round pick for next year’s draft.
Flash receive: goalkeeper Chantel Jones
Spirit receive: goalkeeper Kelsey Wys + 2016 fourth-round pick
How it pans out: Jones and Wys were both backup keepers in 2014, though Wys did see starting action in the second half of the season.
Jones has the ability to be a starting keeper in NWSL, according to head coach Aaran Lines. With AD Franch’s future with the club uncertain, picking up a potential starter was key for the Flash. She only saw five matches of action, giving up 12 goals in 450 minutes of play.
Wys played 10 matches for the Flash, starting nine of them in her rookie season after Lydia Williams tore her ACL in July. She gave up 20 goals in those 10 matches. With Ashlyn Harris being in the mix for a spot on the World Cup roster, the Spirit will need a capable backup to slot in if Harris misses significant time away from the club this summer.
Sky Blue FC made its first move of the offseason with Western New York just before Thanksgiving sending the rights to Elizabeth Eddy and the No. 4 overall pick to the Flash.
Sky Blue receives: forward Samantha Kerr
Flash receive: rights to forward Elizabeth Eddy + No. 4 overall pick
How it plans out: This move seems to favor Sky Blue FC as the club adds a talented young striker who knows how to score goals. The New Jersey club struggled at times in 2013 and 2014 and has not yet found a consistent goal scorer but that might change with the arrival of Kerr. She will likely miss the early part of the season as the Aussies train for the World Cup.
The Flash side of this trade is a little bit more uncertain. Eddy did not play with Sky Blue last season, so it’s unclear if she’ll be a player that suits up for the Flash this season. The first-round pick gives the Flash six picks – 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 18th, and 21st. With only nine players returning from last season, the Flash will continue the rebuilding process during the College Draft.
Houston and Washington exchanged defenders at the start of December with the Dash sending Arianna Romero to the Spirit in exchange for Niki Cross.
Dash receive: Niki Cross
Spirit receive: Arianna Romero
How it pans out: This trade did not make sense to me for either club. While it was a like-for-like swap on the backline, Cross made just 10 appearances last season in Washington and has not appeared on the Dash’s roster thus far.
Romero started the season at right back for the Dash and started 19 of her 21 matches. She became a fan favorite in Houston and will be a good fit on the backline for the Spirit. The status of the allocated players from Mexico is undecided, which leaves Romero’s status uncertain.
Cross’s name could be left off the Dash roster for a reason and Romero could spend the season in Mexico’s newly proposed women’s soccer league. If that’s the case, then the trade is a bust for both clubs. If both do suit up in NWSL in 2015, the Dash will benefit from the depth, particularly given Engen being traded and Klingenberg’s potential to be with the U.S. women. Romero’s case would become complicated if she makes the Mexican World Cup roster as she, Ali Krieger and Crystal Dunn would all potentially be away for the World Cup.
The final trade thus far happened in mid-December when Sky Blue FC sent midfielder Ashley Nick to Houston.
Sky Blue FC receives: No. 10 + No. 28 picks
Dash receive: midfielder Ashley Nick + No. 13 + No 31 picks
How it pans out: The Dash got a solid central midfielder who played as a more defensive midfielder for Sky Blue last season. While the Dash will likely select Morgan Brian with the first overall pick, she will likely spend significant time with the U.S. women in the lead up to the World Cup. Nick will provide depth for a Dash squad that will bring back a lot of young talent.
Sky Blue FC traded up for higher picks in the second and fourth round, which shows me that the club has its eyes on at least one player that it hopes will fall to the top of the second round.