With the folding of the Boston Breakers, NWSL held a dispersal draft today to allow other teams to pick players from the Breakers roster. This has meant a slight shuffling of national team players; namely, Rose Lavelle will now be moving to our nation’s capital to play for the Washington Spirit.
The Spirit traded up in the draft by exchanging their #2 pick with Sky Blue FC, who were initially drawn to go first. The Spirit also gave Sky Blue a conditional first round pick in the 2019 college draft for the rights to Lavelle.
Although some may consider this a gamble given Lavelle spent most of 2017 injured, it really shouldn’t be if US Soccer can manage to not re-injure their own athlete by pushing her to play too soon and for too long after an initial hamstring injury. A healthy Lavelle would be a potent addition to an already threatening roster that carries Andi Sullivan, Mal Pugh, Taylor Smith, Rebecca Quinn, and Ashley Hatch. These are all talented young players with big potential NT futures (Pugh is arguably already in the midst of her big future).
Lavelle only managed a handful of games for the Boston Breakers before a non-contact injury late in a June friendly against Norway. She made it back to the field for the WNT in September in her hometown of Cincinnati, where she managed 33 minutes and promptly was out for Boston again.
We’ll see if Lavelle will be healthy in time now for She Believes, when the USWNT gets to face top competition without the pressure of a true international tournament. She has the technical skills and savvy to be the kind of player on whom entire games turn and it very much behooves USSF and the Spirit to commit to fully rehabbing her before attempting to push her to play.