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Flash, Reign swap Wambach, Leroux in blockbuster

Abby Wambach's rights have been traded to Seattle Reign FC. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Abby Wambach’s rights have been traded to Seattle Reign FC. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Abby Wambach’s rights are now with Seattle Reign FC after the biggest trade in National Women’s Soccer League history.

Seattle acquired Wambach on Monday from the Western New York Flash and sent U.S. teammate Sydney Leroux to the Flash along with defender Amanda Frisbie. Seattle also acquired midfielder Amber Brooks and the Flash’s 2016 first-round draft pick as part of the trade.

Wambach announced earlier this month her decision to forgo the 2015 NWSL season and focus exclusively on the World Cup. Reign FC said in a statement that they don’t expect Wambach to play for the club in 2015.

“Abby is a fantastic player who has proven over the years she is one of the best forwards in the world,” Reign coach and general manager Laura Harvey said. “We understand and support her decision to focus on the World Cup this season. The contribution she is capable of making is obvious, so we will welcome her to our club at whatever point she is ready to rejoin the league.”

[LAULETTA: Harvey not pressuring Wambach to play in NWSL in 2015]

Leroux scored five goals in 22 games for the Reign in 2014 after joining from the Boston Breakers. She took time to adjust to Harvey’s system after scoring 11 goals with Boston in 2013.

Wambach, 34, scored 17 goals in 29 matches for her hometown Flash over two seasons. She made no secret about wanting to be closer to her new home and wife — former teammate Sarah Huffman — in Portland, Ore. Wambach admitted in early 2013 that Portland was her top preference for initial allocation.

Wambach is the all-time world goal-scoring leader with 178 goals. Leroux, 24, has scored 33 goals in 67 games with the United States.

[KASSOUF: Lines sees Leroux as scoring upgrade, ‘franchise player’ for Flash]

But neither player figures to factor significantly with their respective club this season. Wambach and Seattle both say that the forward won’t play in 2015. Leroux is expected to be available for the first three weeks of the season and not again until after the World Cup, likely sometime in July.

The biggest pieces of the trade are Brooks and Frisbie. Brooks was traded to the Flash from Portland in the offseason and never played a game for Western New York. Frisbie is yet to play a professional game after a foot injury kept the first-round pick out of the entire 2014 season.

“Amanda is a young, versatile player who fits the bill here in Western New York,” Flash coach and general manager Aaran Lines said. “She had a stellar career in Portland and was, obviously, injured last season but we love that she is young and will want to play a contributing role with our club.”


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