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Spirit deal Pressley to Flash, acquire Estelle Johnson

Toni Pressley has returned to the WNY Flash via trade. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Toni Pressley has returned to the WNY Flash via trade. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Defender Estelle Johnson is now a member of the Washington Spirit following a trade that sent defender Toni Pressley to the Western New York Flash, as reported by The Equalizer last week.

Johnson sat out the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League season to focus on other career options. The Spirit acquired her rights in the trade announced on Tuesday and subsequently signed her.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with another amazing group of athletes and rejoin the NWSL,” Johnson said. “I am thrilled that my return will be as a member of the Washington Spirit and under Mark Parsons. I have heard nothing but great things about the organization and can’t wait to put on that Spirit jersey.”

Johnson gave up what is purported to be a well-paying ‘real world’ job to return to professional soccer at a time when so many players are retiring at a young age due to the financial realities of professional women’s soccer. Johnson, playing center back, was an essential piece to the Flash’s 2013 run to the final.

[LAULETTA: Courtney Jones’ retirement highlights NWSL financial realities]

Pressley, 25, rejoins the Flash after helping the team win the WPSL Elite title. She scored the stoppage-time equalizer in the final, which the Flash won in penalty kicks.

“We are very excited to welcome back Toni Pressley, a young, talented player who was successful for us in 2012. I believe Toni has untapped potential that I am excited about having the opportunity to help her build upon,” Flash general manager and head coach Aaran Lines said. “While Estelle was marvelous for us in 2013, we understood that she if she came back her desire was to play closer to family in the DC area. Trading her rights was a way for us to gain a positive while allowing her the chance to stay in the NWSL.”

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