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Friday Roundup: Anja Mittag leaves Wolfsburg for FC Rosengard

Also in today’s roundup, red hot Sophia Smith gets called to USWNT camp, the Reign give Katie Johnson a contract, the new Sahlen’s Stadium, and Jrue Holiday discusses his wife for #LeanInTogether

Anja Mittag is heading back to FC Rosengard. Does that open the door for Marta to leave for Orlando?. (Photo Copyright Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

Anja Mittag is heading back to FC Rosengard. Does that open the door for Marta to leave for Orlando?. (Photo Copyright Harjeet Johal for The Equalizer)

The well-traveled Anja Mittag is returning to Rosengard in a move that could be one of the dominoes in an eventual move by Marta to Orlando. Both Rosengard and Mittag’s Wolfsburg were eliminated from the UEFA Women’s Champions League during the week.

Mittag is one of the most decorated players in the world. Her career includes a previous stop in Rosengard between 2012 and 2015, winning the Swedish league title in the middle two of those four seasons. Before that Mittag won five German titles and two Champions League crowns with FFC Turbine Potsdam.

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On the international front, Mittag has been a regular for Germany dating to 2004. She was part of the 2007 German side the won the World Cup and last year’s Olympic gold medal squad. At the SheBelieves Cup, Mittag won her 150th cap in Germany’s opening match against the United States and scored her 50th international goal in the finale against England.

Sophia Smith gets the call

Two days after scoring a late goal to lead the U-23 to a shock preseason victory over the Portland Thorns, Sophia Smith is heading to train with the senior national team. Smith, 16, joins 17-year old Jaelin Howell as injury replacements after Jill Ellis lost the services of Morgan Brian, Lindsey Horan and Tobin Heath during a four-day period this week. Smith and Howell are high school teammates at Fossil Ridge in Colorado and club teammates at Real Colorado.

Smith’s profile has been on the rise over the last two months. She scored five goals in three matches on a U-18 trip to Europe, then went straight in with the U-20s where she netted four more goals in three La Manga matches. Then it was on to the U-23s where she hit the winner against the NWSL Shield holders on their home pitch.

The U.S. is in camp preparing to play Russia next Thursday (April 6) in Frisco and April 9 in Houston.

Reign sign rookie Katie Johnson to contract

Katie Johnson has officially made the Seattle Reign FC. The No. 16 pick in this year’s draft has been awarded a contract for the season, the club announced on Friday.

NCAA champion Katie Johnson has earned a contract with Seattle Reign FC (photo: Seattle Reign FC)

NCAA champion Katie Johnson has earned a contract with Seattle Reign FC (photo: Seattle Reign FC)

“I’m really excited to be with this team,” Johnson said. “Practices have been spectacular and the speed of play has been really great. I feel comfortable with the team so far. Laura (Harvey, head coach)’s done a great job bringing in the new girls and making us feel welcome.”

Johnson is probably best known for a brace in her final college game at USC that helped the Trojans beat West Virginia to win the national championship. She is also internationally capped by Mexico and scored the side’s most recent goal in a 3-2 loss to Canada last month in Vancouver.

“Katie Johnson came into camp and did really well in the first week, which wasn’t surprising in my opinion,” Harvey said. “Having watched her in college, she’s worked hard on her game since her college season finished. We’re excited about her potential. I think she’s an exciting talent that could have a really good rookie year ahead of her.”

Sahlen’s to sponsor Courage stadium

The relationship formed when the Sahlen family sold the Western New York Flash to the group that owns North Carolina FC has led to a business relationship. NCFC and the North Carolina Courage have announced the Sahlen’s Packing Company is the new sponsor of the stadium field at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Courage will now play their home games at Sahlen’s Stadium.

The Sahlen family is staying in NWSL with a naming rights agreement with the Courage and NASL's North Carolina FC.

The Sahlen family is staying in NWSL with a naming rights agreement with the Courage and NASL’s North Carolina FC.

“We are very pleased to partner with Sahlen Packing Company,” said North Carolina FC President and GM Curt Johnson. “We have worked closely with the Sahlen family during the acquisition of the NC Courage, and we are delighted to continue the relationship while showcasing the Sahlen’s brand at our stadium.”

Sahlen’s will also be the official hot dog at Sahlen’s Stadium.

Having the Courage play at a venue called Sahlen’s Stadium could have something of an eerie feel. Before being sold to become the Courage, the Western New York Flash played for five seasons at what was known as Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester. That agreement expired at the end of 2015 and the stadium became known as Rochester Rhino’s Stadium. It has since been rebranded as Capelli Sport Stadium.

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The rebranded Courage will play their first march at the rebranded Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary, North Carolina on Saturday, April 22 against the Portland Thorns. The club’s first match as the Courage is a week earlier away to the Washington Spirit.

Jrue Holiday discusses relationship with wife Lauren

Jrue Holiday is featured in a two-minute video in which he discusses his relationhip with his wife, former USWNT star and NWSL Most Valuable Player Lauren Holiday. The video is part of the #LeanInTogether campaign that encourages men to help women in the fight for gender equality.

Holiday, a point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA, missed training camp and the start of the regular season to be with Lauren who underwent brain surgery to remove a benign tumor shortly after giving birth to the couple’s first child.

Lauren and baby are both doing well and were both recent guests at FC Kansas City training.

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