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Emily Sonnett heading to Washington Spirit after trade with the Orlando Pride

Photo copyright by Valerie Terranova/Equalizer Soccer.

Emily Sonnett is heading to the Washington Spirit, after a trade with the Orlando Pride. The move comes only a few weeks after confirmation of the Kelley O’Hara trade to the Spirit.

Meanwhile, the Orlando Pride have hauled in quite the Christmas gift from Washington. In total, the Pride acquired midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard, $140,000 in allocation money, the No. 9 pick in the upcoming 2021 NWSL College Draft and a conditional first-round pick in either the 2022 or 2023 NWSL Draft.

According a press release from the Pride, the pick will “be determined by contingencies from one of the Spirit’s other transactions.”

Richie Burke, Washington Spirit head coach, called the Sonnett pick up a “major coup” for the club.

“I think everyone knows that Emily Sonnett is an incredible competitor, another serial winner and someone I’ve really admired since I came into this league,”  Burke said, via a Washington press release. “I think she will make us better right away and provide leadership qualities that take us to another level. Her versatility and ability to play in several key roles for our club gives us tactical flexibility, allowing us to push some important players higher up the field. I’m absolutely ecstatic to get this player added at this time. It’s a really good early Christmas present for me!”

Sonnett did not feature for the Pride once since her arrival during last year’s offseason. Orlando was forced to withdraw from the NWSL Challenge Cup due to multiple COVID-19 positive tests. Also, ahead of the Fall Series, Sonnett elected to venture overseas, signing with Göteborg in Sweden.

In 2020, Sonnett won the Swedish title with Göteborg, making eight starts in 10 appearances.

In her four years in the NWSL, Sonnett suited up 72 times for the Portland Thorns FC. She scored six goals in her NWSL career, all with Portland, and provided two assists. Sonnett has shuffled between centerback and outside back throughout her career.

“We’re excited to welcome Emily to the Spirit family and back to familiar surroundings where she attended the University of Virginia,” Spirit CEO and Director of Sporting Operations Larry Best said. “Emily brings both national team and NWSL experiences that will serve our organization well both on and off the field.  Her veteran presence will be a welcomed addition to our 2021 roster.”

Meggie Doughtery Howard heads to Orlando

Meanwhile, in the Orlando Pride’s holiday gift bag from the Spirit, Meggie Doughtery Howard will find a new home in Orlando.

Doughtery Howard has spent her entire NWSL career with Washington, as she was picked No. 29 overall in the 2017 NWSL Draft. During her first three seasons, she made 68 appearances, scoring one goal and providing one assist in her rookie season. In 2020, she featured in seven matches for Washington.

Burke said that Doughtery Howard has been “dedicated” to the Spirit.

“I’ve really enjoyed having her on my team over the past two seasons,” Burke said. “She has always been my type of player, with an incredible football IQ and a very cerebral approach to the tactical side of the game. The opportunity to move nearer to her home in Florida and take on a new challenge at this stage of her career was one that we had discussed in our recent conversations. Now that this new direction has become a reality, I wish Meggie the very best of luck at Orlando and know that we will remain close as her career develops.”

Meanwhile, Orlando Executive Vice President Amanda Duffy said that Doughtery Howard is a “hard-working” midfielder with “tremendous league experience.”

“We’re excited to welcome her to Orlando. While we wish we would have been able to see Emily as part of the Pride, we are pleased to find a beneficial deal for all parties and we wish her luck with the Spirit organization,” Duffy said.

Duffy commented further on the other details of the trade, including the $140,000 in allocation money.

“As we enter 2021 and work to elevate our roster, we are pleased to come to terms with Washington on this deal. Acquiring two first round draft picks and a substantial sum of allocation money will continue to set the Pride up for sustained success, not just now, but in future seasons,” Duffy said.

NWSL Transactions Tracker: Summer and Fall 2020


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