A common theme running through the NWSL conference calls that stacked up Monday afternoon: Players are happy to be home.
Not just in the sense that they could easily be playing overseas or spending a lot of time in U.S. residency camp if no domestic league existed. For the national team players who chatted Monday, they’re thrilled to be playing close to their families.
But the three stories are a little different …
In the greater Washington-ish area, Northern Virginia’s Ali Krieger is thrilled to be playing close to home after spending a few years in Germany. (She did come back to the WPS Washington Freedom for a brief loan spell.) Even better, she’s healthy again, proclaiming herself at 100% after tearing the ACL and MCL in her right knee early last year.
In Boston, Heather O’Reilly admits she’ll miss New Jersey, where she grew up and later played for Sky Blue, but she enjoyed training with and playing a couple of games for the Breakers in her new hometown last summer. Her husband is a Harvard man, and she says the practice facility is almost literally across the street from her home.
In Rochester and Buffalo, Abby Wambach is going home, but it wasn’t a no-brainer. She confirmed that she bought a house in Portland and is in mid-remodel. She also admits the attention in Rochester can be overwhelming, and that partially explains why she’ll live in Buffalo.
“Fans will be fans. They’ll interrupt you in the middle of dinner. For the most part, it’s so sweet. I’m an extrovert. But … the privacy factor was a concern. The buffer between Rochester and Buffalo will help.”
But she’s happy to see her extended family, saying she wants to see nieces and other relatives through the season.
So can the Flash crash at her Portland place when they visit the Thorns?
In any case, all three players are happier than Megan Rapinoe, who isn’t unduly upset about her allocation but tells Grant Wahl she’s a little surprised to be in Seattle instead of Portland. (You’d think Portland and Seattle would simply swap Rapinoe for Morgan, which would be a more equitable distribution of forwards. And the talk last summer was that Morgan had some Seattle ties, but I’m not up on such things.)
Other bits of news from the Monday calls:
– The Washington Spirit haven’t worked out details on when and how they’ll get goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris from German club Duisburg, but they don’t seem concerned that she’ll miss much time.
– Wambach says friends from other national teams have asked her for contact info for coaches and personnel people through NWSL. She joked that she’s only putting them in touch with her coach with the Flash, Aaran Lines.
– Why did every USWNT Olympic player, including those thought to be retiring (looking at you, Heather Mitts) or perhaps indifferent, put their names on the allocation list? Why go through the grind of a league, facing the possibility of a new U.S. coach cleaning house or accumulated wear and tear proving too much to overcome, rather than go out on top? Here’s a great answer from Wambach:
“The minute you win something, it inspires you to want to do it again because all your hard work has paid off.”
On that note, the U.S. national team is in camp Feb. 2. The new cycle begins …