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Tuesday Roundup: Matheson says goodbye to the Spirit

Diana Matheson (right) says goodbye to the Spirit after four years with the club. (Copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Also in today’s roundup, Carlyn Baldwin foregoes senior year to turn pro, Hope Solo gives followers a peak into her recovery and two NWSL assistant coaches take on new responsibilities

Diana Matheson (right) says goodbye to the Spirit after four years with the club. (Copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Diana Matheson (right) says goodbye to the Spirit after four years with the club. (Copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Over the weekend The Washington Post broke the news that the Washington Spirit were looking to trade Canadian-international Diana Matheson, and on Monday the trade became official when Seattle Reign FC announced they had acquired Matheson in exchange for the draft rights of Arielle Ship and a third round draft pick in 2018.

Shortly after the trade was announced, Matheson wrote a farewell message to the Spirit loyal on an Instagram post. In it Matheson said, “The club gave me so much over the time I was there and I’ll miss so many things: The fans are among the most dedicated in the league (shout out to the Spirit Squadron), the people at the SoccerPlex and the field they take care of are top class, and all the people that own/coach/work/volunteer/host players for the Spirit give their heart and soul to that club day in and day out.”

{THE LOWDOWN: Lauletta chats with NWSL Managing Director of Operations, Amanda Duffy}

Matheson continued by stating that it was her decision to leave the club, saying, “All that said, after four years and some hard thought, I’ll be leaving the Spirit….They have been pushing to do what’s right for the club, but ultimately respected my decision. I truly appreciate all the word Jim [Gabarra] put in to work together with me on this.”

She concluded by expressing her excitement at the chance to play for Laura Harvey at the Reign in 2017. You can read her full statement below.

After four years with the Spirit I will be moving on to Seattle. As my time in DC comes to an end it is without a doubt bittersweet. The club gave me so much over the time I was there and I’ll miss so many things: The fans are among the most dedicated in the league (shout out to the Spirit Squadron), the people at the SoccerPlex and the fields they take care of are top class, and all the people that own/coach/work/volunteer/host players for the Spirit give their heart and soul to that club day in and day out. I’m proud of the people that I got to play and work with, and our push to improve on and off the field every season. It of course hurts that we didn’t reach the pinnacle last season, but I’m excited to see the club continue to push for that championship. Most of all I’ll miss my teammates and friends that play and live in the DMV. All that said, after four years and some hard thought, I’ll be leaving the Spirit. Jim and staff have been great and there has been nothing but honest conversations during the off-season. They have been pushing to do what’s right for the club, but ultimately respected my decision. I truly appreciate all the work Jim put in to work together with me on this.This business can be a tough one, and I leave with nothing but respect and gratitude for the club. Now I’m looking ahead with excitement to 2017 with the Seattle Reign. I am grateful as well to the Reign and to Laura for bringing me out west, and I can’t wait to begin my time there. I look forward to joining the great players, coaches, fans and people that make up the Reign. See you all soon!

A post shared by Diana Matheson (@dmatheson8) on

University of Tennessee’s Carlyn Baldwin skips senior season to go pro

Carlyn Baldwin, a junior midfielder at the University of Tennessee, announced Monday night that she was skipping her senior season with the Vols after signing with BSC YB Frauen in Switzerland.

“I’m looking forward to this next chapter of my career and I could not be more thankful. See you soon Switzerland!!!!” Baldwin said in a statement posted to Twitter.

The Oakton, Va. native made headlines back in 2014 when she was offered a contract with Olympique Lyonnais after her senior year. Baldwin declined Lyon’s offer, opting instead to play collegiately at Tennessee. For the Vols Baldwin played in 56 matches over three seasons, recording six goals and four assists.

Baldwin was previously a member of the 2014 U.S. U-20 Women’s World Cup team, one of only three incoming college freshmen on that roster, and has played with the WPSL Washington Spirit Academy team. She was a standout player throughout her teens although she did not play for her high school team, instead playing with Braddock Road Youth Club (BRYC) 95 Elite. She spearheaded BRYC’s runs to capture the 2013 U-17 U.S. Youth Soccer national title, the 2012 and 2013 Virginia State Cups and the 2012 Region I championship.

Hope Solo provides surgery recovery update

Yesterday evening USWNT and Seattle Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo shared a video via social media displaying the range of motion in her shoulders since having shoulder replacement surgery in September 2016. The video shows Solo extending both arms above her head and pulling down while using a weight machine. The caption accompanying the video says, “More range of motion then (sic) every and finally pain free!”

When Solo broke the news of her shoulder surgery on social media, she stated, “I’ve got a brand new shoulder (read: bionic) and for the first time in years, I can raise my right arm above my head.” That lack of motion and pain when she did lift her arm was a hindrance while Solo was the starting goalkeeper for the national team, a role she told Anne M. Peterson of the Associated Press she was hoping to retake.

“I find it an honor and a privilege to represent my country at the highest level in the sport I love, in a position that I love. And I would do almost anything to play at that level once again.”

Solo’s contract with the USWNT was terminated in August and she is currently serving a six-month suspension after calling Sweden “cowards” following the USWNT’s loss to them in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympic games. It is currently unclear whether Solo will return to the Reign or the USWNT once her suspension is over, but her latest social media post show’s that she’s well on the path of recovery.

Two NWSL assistant coaches take on new teams, new roles

Orlando Pride announced today that they have hired Lloyd Yaxley to serve as their newest goalkeeper coach. Yaxley has spent the past four years serving in the same role with the Washington Spirit, where he coached USWNT and Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.

“With Lloyd we are bringing on board one of the most respected goalkeeping coaches in the country. After a very successful spell with the Washington Spirit, he whas been heavily involved in the USWNT at both the senior and U’23s levels and will bring a wealth of women’s soccer to our team,” head coach Tom Sermanni said.

Although the Spirit lost a member of their coaching staff with Yaxley’s departure, it keeps another as 1st Assistant Coach Denise Reddy has returned to the team for the upcoming 2017 season. In addition to her role with the Spirit, Reddy has also been named the Technical Director for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy for the state of Maryland.

“I am looking forward to working again with Jim and of course our great group of passionate and determined players. We have some unfinished business to take care of,” Reddy said, referring to the Spirit’s failure to capture a league title despite three consecutive visits to the playoffs. “With the addition of the Development Academy, I hope to help build a place where development, of both coaches and players, is the number one priority.”

As technical director for the state’s DA programs, Reddy will run the Spirit’s DA program, consisting of U-14, U-15, U-17 and U-19 teams in the top youth league in the nation. The DA program is meant to serve as a direct path to both the youth national system and the NWSL.

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