The exodous continues today with the announcement that Carli Lloyd has inked a deal with Manchester City Women’s Football Club joining fellow U.S. WNT stars Crystal Dunn (Chelsea) and Alex Morgan (Olympique Lyonnais) in Europe.
The good news for NWSL fans and in this case Houston Dash fans is that, like Morgan’s stint in France, Lloyd’s move is short term and she will be back in the NWSL this season.
Still the loss of the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year for the beginning of the 2017 season can’t help but be a blow to the Dash both on the field and at the box office.
In a club statement the U.S. WNT co-captain highlighted the chance to play in the Champions League, a challenge not on offer in the NWSL.
“Having played in the US throughout my career, the chance to fulfil a long held ambition to test myself in a new footballing environment, as well as playing in the Champions League, is something I am relishing”.
Lloyd will lead the U.S. WNT against Germany, France, England, in the SheBelieves Cup in March before joining Dunn in the FA Women’s Super League. The league is switching from a summer to winter schedule and this season will operate a one time spring season from February through May.
Manchester City coach Nick Cushing knows what the U.S. star can bring to his team. “Carli has had an incredible career and is recognised as one of the best in the world. There is much we can learn from her that will help us to improve as a team. We are all looking forward to working with her over the coming months”.
Lloyd won’t be joining some rebuild, this City club won the domestic double last season claiming both the league and FA Cup and is looking to Lloyd to lead the team to UEFA Champions League glory this year.
Not surprisingly Lloyd sounds up for it, saying in that same statement, “With the challenge of the Spring Series and the FA Women’s Cup ahead of us too, I really can’t wait to pull on my City shirt in front of our fans and make them proud”.
Once the SheBelieves Cup is out of the way Lloyd will join her new club in time for City’s Champions League quarter final tie against Danish side Fortuna Hjorring.
The allure of the Champions League is growing for top American women’s soccer players and the rising profile of the women’s game in Europe is reflected this year with the final being played in Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on June 1 2017, two days before the final of the men’s tournament will be played at the Millennium Stadium in the same city.