The Washington Spirit have re-signed forward Ashley Hatch, midfielders Bayley Feist, Dorian Bailey and Jordan DiBiasi, and defenders Sam Staab, Tegan McGrady and Paige Nielsen to new contracts.
Hatch, Feist, Bailey, DiBiasi, Staab and Nielsen all signed two-year contracts with a club option for an additional year, and McGrady signed a two-year contract. No allocation money was utilized in the contracts.
Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke had this to say on the contracts: “I’m absolutely thrilled to get the seven players over the line on long term contracts at our club. They are a huge part of our future plans and I’m really pleased to be able to continue working on moving our squad towards a championship. These seven players are integral to our success and their development over the past two seasons has been a joy to see.”
Spirit Chief Executive Officer and Director of Sporting Operations Larry Best said this on the players re-signing with Washington: “This marks a paramount day for the Spirit organization to have these seven players extending their playing careers in Washington and in the NWSL. This talented group of players now join Aubrey Bledsoe, Ashley Sanchez, and Andi Sullivan as a key piece of building a Championship roster that will compete to win trophies in the coming years.”
Hatch was acquired in a trade with the North Carolina Courage and has spent three years as a forward with the Spirit. In a total of 53 games for the Spirit — 52 of which have been starts — and over 4,000 minutes, the former BYU standout has scored 12 goals and four assists. Hatch will continue to lead the Spirit in the final third, as she has accumulated 55 shots on goal over the course of her career with Washington.
Hatch’s development of the Boots from Pros program saw her selected as the team’s 2020 Humanitarian of the Year. Hatch also has experience with the United States Women’s National Team at the youth and senior level; she has spent time in the U23 team and is currently training with the senior squad in Commerce City, CO.
In a season where many players enjoyed raised playing time, Feist was one of the NWSL’s breakout stars. After being selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NWSL Draft from Wake Forest, the midfielder played 470 minutes and appeared in 12 games in her rookie season, scoring one goal and contributing two assists.
Building off of a promising inaugural campaign, Feist developed into a first-choice midfielder for the Spirit in 2020. In nine games throughout the Challenge Cup and the Fall Series, Feist started eight games, scored two goals, logged seven shots on target and contributed seven key passes. For her contributions on the field, Feist was named the Spirit’s 2020 Player of the Year.
For all that Feist did in her second season, her midfield partner in Bailey had an equally impressive sophomore campaign. In nine games for the Spirit in 2020, Bailey displayed her utility as both a midfielder and outside back. Bailey posted nine clearances, one block and 13 interceptions.
Drafted with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NWSL Draft out of North Carolina, Bailey has played a total of 27 games for the Spirit, making the starting XI 18 times. During her rookie season in 2019, Bailey made 19 appearances, scoring once, providing seven key passes and an 81% successful pass rate. On the defensive side of the ball, the former Tar Heel contributed 28 clearances, three blocks and 23 interceptions.
As this year’s “Defender of the Year” award winner for the Spirit, Staab has proven to be an instrumental part of the Spirit’s backline, having played every minute of every game — a total of 2,880 minutes — since joining the team back in 2019, where she was the fourth overall pick.
In her two seasons, the centerback has started and played in 32 matches. In those matches, the former Clemson Tiger has forced 40 interceptions, made 21 blocks and 125 clearances. Although Staab’s workload is focused on the Spirit defensive third, she has scored two goals and assisted one, including a game-winning goal in her first-ever NWSL match against Sky Blue FC in April of 2019.
McGrady has been with the team since 2019, where she was the seventh overall pick during the college draft. During her time with the Spirit, the left-back has played in 11 games and started in 10, playing a total of 770 minutes. In that time, the second-year defender managed to force 15 interceptions, make three blocks and five clearances.
McGrady is one of four Stanford alum on the Spirit roster. The fullback appeared in 72 games and made 61 starts over four years with Stanford, scoring four goals and creating 13 assists totaling 21 points, including three game-winning goals.
Nielsen, another player who joined the Spirit before the 2019 season, was signed as a free agent after a stint with Canberra FC in the Australian W-League. The centerback was voted Player’s Player of the Year at this year’s Spirit Awards after starting and playing in 30 games for the team, racking a total of 2,634 minutes.
During her time with the Spirit, the centerback has forced 66 interceptions, made 25 blocks and 135 clearances, all while sporting an impressive 85.7% passing rate. Nielsen also contributed in the attacking third in 2020, scoring her first goal for the Spirit from the penalty spot during the Spirit’s first 2020 NWSL Fall Series match against Sky Blue FC.
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