The Washington Spirit has made several roster moves this offseason in preparation for its upcoming 11th season in 2023, the club announced recently.
The Spirit has exercised 2023 team options for defender Sam Staab, midfielders Jordan Baggett, Dorian Bailey, Bayley Feist and Anna Heilferty and forwards Maddie Elwell and Tara McKeown.
Washington has also extended new contract offers to defenders Camryn Biegalski and Julia Roddar and midfielder Marissa Sheva as their current contracts expire on December 31.
The Spirit has four players who are part of the NWSL’s first-ever free agent class: goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, defender Amber Brooks, midfielder Tori Huster and defender Kelley O’Hara. These players were able to begin negotiations for their 2023 Standard Player Agreements on Friday, August 26, 2022. Agreements for all NWSL free agents will be announced when the terms are finalized through the league office.
The club would like to express its gratitude to midfielder Taylor Aylmer, forward Averie Collins, goalkeeper Devon Kerr and defender Karina Rodriguez for everything they brought to the Spirit over the past several seasons. In their tenure, these five players all played key roles in bringing the District its first NWSL championship in 2021.
Additionally, the Spirit thanks forward Audrey Harding, defender Alia Martin and midfielder Gaby Vincent for their contributions to the 2022 team after joining the side last offseason.
Aylmer and Martin will not be returning to the Spirit next season as the club declined the 2023 team options on their contracts, releasing the players’ rights to be distributed through the waiver wire. Should their rights not be picked up through the waiver wire, they will become eligible for the discovery process. Aylmer joined the Spirit as a national team replacement in July 2021 before signing a full contract with the team the following month. Aylmer appeared in 32 total matches with the Spirit and totaled over 1,500 minutes of playing time. Martin signed with the Spirit in December 2021 after completing her senior season at Michigan but did not appear for the club in 2022.
“We’re certainly going to miss having Taylor and Alia with the club,” said Spirit club president Mark Krikorian. “Both players are a great addition to any organization and we look forward to seeing their continued successes.”
The contracts of Collins, Harding, Kerr, Rodriguez and Vincent will not be renewed upon their expiration at the year’s end, making each player eligible for discovery. Collins was drafted by the Spirit with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft and appeared in seven matches with the club. Harding was drafted by the Spirit with the 38th overall pick in the 2022 draft and tallied one assist in ten total appearances. After spending 2019 with Houston, Kerr signed with the Spirit in March 2020 and maintained a 0.86 goals against average across 315 minutes played. Rodriguez joined the Spirit in June 2021 and appeared in 16 total matches for the club. Vincent came to the Spirit via a trade with Kansas City in December 2021 and appeared in three matches in 2022.
“Each of these players stepped up and played an important role with the Spirit in 2022 and I want to commend them for that,” said Krikorian. “Devon filled in at goalkeeper during this summer’s international window and played exceptionally, Karina and Audrey played great during the team’s struggles with injuries, Averie returned from a tough injury this year and Gaby was a phenomenal contributor both on and off the field. All five of these players have bright futures ahead of them.”
There are currently 13 players under contract with the Spirit:
Goalkeepers (1): Aubrey Kingsbury
Defenders (2): Emily Sonnett; Sam Staab
Midfielders (6): Jordan Baggett; Dorian Bailey; Bayley Feist; Anna Heilferty; Ashley Sanchez; Andi Sullivan
Forwards (4): Maddie Elwell; Ashley Hatch; Tara McKeown; Trinity Rodman
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