Less than two full weeks after Abby Wambach announced that she would skip the 2015 NWSL season to better prepare for this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Canada, the U.S. WNT superstar has been traded by the Western NY Flash to the Seattle Reign FC for fellow national team striker Sydney Leroux.
In a sense the deal has Wambach swapping one home for another, the 34 year old grew up in Rochester, N.Y., but has recently built a home in Portland, Oregon, which is of course much closer to Seattle.
The Reign are gambling that the clubs proximity to her new hometown will persuade Wambach to continue her career with Seattle, although the team has reportedly received no such assurances from international soccer’s all time leading goal scorer.
There is no expectation that Wambach has any plans to play for the Reign in 2015, but Seattle will be hoping that Wambach opts to continue to play in NWSL after the World Cup rather than retire, or as she mooted recently, play for a European club.
At first glance Western New York would appear to have swindled Seattle in landing a rising star in 24 year old Leroux, for a 34 year old that may never see the field for Seattle. If however, Wambach does play, Seattle will have acquired one of top attractions in the game of women’s soccer.
Western New York coach and GM Aaran Lines certainly sounded happy with the deal saying, “as everyone knows, Sydney Leroux is a top goal scorer who has had both a fantastic club and international career so far. “I’m excited about the opportunity that she presents for us and the offensive threat that she adds to our attack.”
For her part Wambach’s new coach Laura Harvey sounded hopeful that she will indeed get to coach the legend. “Abby is a fantastic player who has proven over the years she is one of the best forwards in the world,” Harvey said in a press release. “We understand and support her decision to focus on the World Cup this season.” Harvey went on to add, “the contribution she is capable of making is obvious, so we will welcome her to our club at whatever point she is ready to rejoin the league.”
Defender Amanda Frisbie joins the Flash in the deal while, the Reign pick up midfielder Amber Brooks, who played for Portland last year, and a first round pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft.
In an interesting twist, the two teams face off in Seattle on April 12, the 2015 NWSL season opener for both.