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Monday Roundup: Dunn departs Chelsea early to join Courage

Also in today’s roundup, Rachel Daly added to England’s SheBelieves Cup roster, Cheyna Matthews to miss 2018 season with the Spirit, and NWSL-heavy W-League Team of the Season announced.

Chelsea Ladies FC has agreed to terms with the North Carolina Courage to allow Crystal Dunn to join the Courage for the 2018 NWSL season. (Photo copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Crystal Dunn departs Chelsea early to join Courage

Chelsea Ladies FC announced on Sunday that they had agreed to terms with the North Carolina Courage to allow Crystal Dunn to join the NWSL side for the 2018 season.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to leave Chelsea. However, the opportunity to return to the USA felt like the right decision for both personal and footballing reasons at this stage of my career,” Dunn said in Chelsea’s official release. “It has been a special time and I will always have a place in my heart for Chelsea FC.”

Dunn joined Chelsea just over a year ago following a three-year stint with the Washington Spirit. On January 16 the Spirit traded Dunn’s rights to the Courage in exchange for Ashley Hatch and Taylor Smith. At the time it was uncertain if, and when, Dunn would return to the NWSL since the FA WSL, England’s top tier of women’s professional football in which Chelsea plays, is currently in season.

In her time with the Blues, Dunn has won the FA WSL Spring series and helped the club reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in club history. She scored just minutes into her debut with the Blues, but a lack of scoring that followed soon thereafter saw her shifted back to defense, where she played predominantly at left wingback for the remainder of her time with the club.

Rachel Daly added to England’s SheBelieves Cup roster

Rachel Daly, right, was added to England’s SheBelieves Cup squad. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

England announced on Saturday that the Houston Dash’s Rachel Daly, along with Manchester City Women duo Abbie McManus and Georgia Stanway, had been added to the Lionesses’ roster for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup.

Daly’s call-up came in the wake of injuries sustained by captain Steph Houghton, Karen Carney and Jordan Hobbs that have prevented that trio from participating in the USWNT-hosted tournament.

“When I named the squad I mentioned there were some exciting players pushing hard for inclusion,” England Head Coach Phil Neville said in the team’s official statement about the call-ups. “While we are sorry to lose three experienced names, this is a brilliant opportunity for Rachel, Abbie and Georgia.

“It also means I get to see at first hand some of those who will be pushing the more established players for a place in our World Cup plans.”

Daly, who has been in Houston for preseason camp with the Dash, will join the Lionesses in Columbus, Ohio ahead of their tournament opener. The 2018 SheBelieves Cup kicks off on Thursday, March 1, with England taking on France at 4 p.m. ET. That match will be streamed lived on ESPN3.

Cheyna Matthews to miss 2018 season with Spirit

Cheyna Matthews, right, announced over the weekend that she will miss the 2018 NWSL season. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Cheyna Matthews (née Williams) announced via her social media that she will miss the 2018 NWSL season with the Washington Spirit as she and her husband, Jordan, are expecting their first child.

“I am already looking forward to the beautiful, yet challenging journey ahead and my return in 2019!” she wrote in the brief announcement.

Matthews has spent the last two seasons with the Spirit after they selected her as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft. Over those two seasons, she started in 24 of 28 matches played, recorded eight goals and tallied an assist.

Nine NWSL players named to W-League Team of the Season

Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) announced on Monday the 2017/2018 Westfield W-League Team of the Season, and nine NWSL players were included in the XI.

Four of the five substitutes named also currently play in the NWSL, while the Team of the Season Captain, Claire Polkinghorne, previously played in the NWSL with the Thorns.

Although the Brisbane Roar had the most players named to the best XI with five, the Seattle Reign was the most represented NWSL club in the list with three players. All three of those players—Lauren Barnes, Steph Catley and Jess Fishlock—also three-peated as W-League Champions with Melbourne City this season.

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