NWSL Roundup: Schmidt signs with the Dash; Thorns, Courage re-sign

Sophie Schmidt Canada
OTTAWA, ON — SEPTEMBER 02: Sophie Schmidt (13 -- M) of Canada in an international FIFA women's friendly soccer match between Canada and Brazil at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, Canada, September 2, 2018. Canada defeated Brazil 1-0. (Photo by Sean Burges/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Houston, Texas (March 19, 2018) — Sophie Schmidt is heading back to the NWSL.

After spending the last three years in Germany, the midfielder has signed with the Houston Dash. Schmidt formerly featured in the NWSL from 2013-14 for Sky Blue FC. She made 41 appearances during her time in New Jersey, scoring eight goals.

NWSL Roundup: Schmidt signs with the Dash; Thorns, Courage re-sign

Schmidt featured for German club FFC Frankfurt, where she made 52 appearances. She scored six goals in Germany. During her time with Frankfurt, Schmidt competed in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, making it to the semifinals in the 2015-16 campaign.

Internationally, Schmidt’s name is well-known. She has featured for Canada a total of 180 times since 2005. She still remains a fixture for the Canadian Women’s National Team and will likely join the team in France for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“Sophie is another player with extensive international experience in Europe and with the Canadian Women’s National Team,” James Clarkson, new Dash head coach, said. “Her experience and ability with the ball will have a major impact on the team.”

After her first training session with the team, Schmidt said it’s been an adjustment getting to Houston with the jet-lag from her European adventure. Schmidt recently featured with Canada in the Algarve Cup.

“I’m just pumped to be back in the NWSL, joining Houston,” Schmidt said. I’m excited for the season to get going. It’s exciting to put on the boots, lace up the girls and just play soccer.” 

Schmidt began her club career back in 2005 with the Vancouver Whitecaps. She remained with the club until 2010, making 39 appearances. Schmidt also spent time with Kristianstads DFF in Sweden.

Thorns, Courage make four re-signings

Four members of last year’s Portland Thorns playoff team are returning.

Defenders Emily Menges and Margaret “Midge” Purce were re-signed.

Purce joined the club last year after spending her rookie season with the Boston Breakers. After the folding of the Breakers, Portland scooped Purce up in the Dispersal Draft. Purce made 19 appearances, starting 15 matches, for the Thorns. Despite playing as a midfielder in Boston, Thorns head coach Mark Parsons elected to move her to defense.

Meanwhile, Menges is returning for her sixth year in Portland. A veteran that knows the organization well, Menges started all 15 of her appearances last year. She’s closing in on 100 appearances with the Thorns, as she’s accumulated 98 appearances — starting 97 matches — in five years with Portland.

Meanwhile, forwards Tyler Lussi and Ifeoma Onumonu have re-signed.

Courage re-signings include Mathias

Last year’s champions have also re-signed four players. The North Carolina Courage announced the signings of Merritt Mathias, Julie King, Ryan Williams and Morgan Reid.

Mathias is a regular starter on defense for the Courage. Last year, she made 24 appearances, hot off her trade from the Reign FC. She scored three goals in her debut Courage season and her fast start in Carolina has propelled her to U.S. Women’s National Team attention.

“Merritt has been a major part of a very good defensive unit and an integral part of our attacking output,” Paul Riley, Courage head coach, said. “It is huge to have her back. Her personality and competitive nature fit in with our culture. Looking forward to her continued growth as she looks to further establish herself with the USWNT.”

Meanwhile, the Courage elected to sign Julie King. Last year, the defender did not feature once for the Courage. Instead, the former Boston Breakers captain battled an ankle injury. She ended up receiving surgery for the second time in her career.

She was picked up by North Carolina in the Dispersal Draft.

“I am excited to finally be coaching King,” Riley said. “I’ve always admired her work ethic, her no nonsense approach to defending, and her battle tested attitude. She will blossom here and after 18 months injured, she is tremendously hungry to bring further success to our club and get her personal development going in a positive direction.”

Record interest in FIFA Women’s World Cup

The FIFA Women’s World Cup hasn’t even started this year, but there are already preparations and plans to find a host for the 2023 tournament.

A record-number of interested federations are throwing their name into the hat. Nine nations are vying for a chance to host the biggest tournament in women’s soccer. Among those nations are zero CONCACAF nations, though. Also, there are no previous hosts looking for the bid.

However, there’s plenty of South American and Central American influence. CONMEBOL nations like Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are interested in hosting. Brazil recently hosted the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2014 and the Rio Olympics in 2016.

There’s plenty of Asian influence, too. The Korean nations are joining together for a joint bid. Recently, South Korea hosted last winter’s Olympic games. Meanwhile, North Korea has some history with the World Cup. The nation was banned in 2015 from competing. However, prior to the ban, North Korea qualified for four-straight tournaments. They did not qualify for this summer’s tournament.

Japan is also interested. Japan has a long history in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, capturing the title in 2011 and placing second in 2015. Ever since the tournament began in 1991, Japan has qualified.

Australia, a favorite to win this year’s tournament, and New Zealand are also looking to host.

Meanwhile, the federations have until April 16 to submit their bidding registration to FIFA. Bid books will be published in full on FIFA’s official website in October 2019. Meanwhile, there is no take on when voting will occur.

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