Washington Spirit defender Paige Nielsen was selected by Angel City FC in the 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft presented by Ally. Nielsen was drafted with the number seven pick.
Nielsen joined the Spirit prior to the start of the 2019 season from Australian side Canberra United. In 2021, Nielsen played in 19 games, including 13 starts for a total of 1,055 minutes. In her three years with the Spirit, Nielsen played in 50 matches, starting 44 of those. Despite playing on the backline primarily as a centerback, Nielsen recorded two goals for the Spirit.
Prior to the Spirit, Nielsen played for the Seattle Reign, Apollon in Cyprus, Suwon UDC in South Korea, and Canberra United in Australia. Nielsen was drafted by the Reign with the 25th pick in the 2016 NWSL Draft out of the University of North Carolina. At UNC, Nielsen played in 83 matches for the Tarheels, scoring 13 goals and adding 7 assists. During her freshman year, the Tarheels won their 21 National Championship.
Spirit Interim Head Coach Kris Ward said this on the pick: “Working with Paige over the past year has been an absolute pleasure. While it is always hard losing a player in an expansion draft, it is especially difficult to lose a player of Paige’s caliber. Her contributions to this club were immense over the last three years. I wish her all the best.”
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