How Abby Dahlkemper got to Dash is cloudy but Houston’s intention is clear


Confusion surrounds many details of Dash’s recent acquisition of United States Women’s National Team center-back Abby Dahlkemper, not least whether NWSL rules even allow the deal, described as a loan by the North Carolina coach Paul Riley and Dash coach James Clarkson.

The only aspect that matters to the Dash, however, is the intention it signifies – they go for it.

With nine games to go in the regular season, Houston (6-6-3, 21 points) is firmly in contention for its first place in the playoffs. The Dash, potentially with Dahlkemper in the starting XI, will have a chance to gain ground on Wednesday night when they host famous OL Reign (8-7-1, 25 points) at the BBVA stadium.

Dahlkemper’s arrival was celebrated by Dash, which sent North Carolina Courage $ 25,000 in allowance money to secure its NWSL rights.

Dahlkemper, a three-time NWSL champion with North Carolina, cut a 2.5-year contract with Manchester City in early August after eight months. She missed Sunday’s game against Racing Louisville, but has a much better chance of playing Wednesday night.

“It’s exciting and it’s created a bit of a buzz in the squad,” said Dash coach James Clarkson. “When you can add a world class player to any team I think that’s really important. It has now provided us with real depth at center-back. We’re actually very skinny there, and we were at an injury or disaster suspension in the back.

“So to add that, it’s been awesome. She looks fit, she feels fit and she is desperate to play.

This is apparently where the simplicity of the situation ends.

Dash and Courage on Sunday reported the transaction as a trade. Later Sunday, however, Courage coach Paul Riley said in a post-game interview that the deal was a loan and that Dahlkemper had let her know she wanted to play in Houston this season.

He also said he didn’t expect to have him on his North Carolina roster next season.

During Dahlkemper’s media availability on Tuesday afternoon, she said she had no comment on the deal or its connection to where she will play next season.

“I’m just really focused on the present and being with the Houston Dsh right now and I don’t want to comment further on that,” said Dahlkemper, a member of the 2019 USA World Cup champion. . “I’m just excited to finally be able to play again in the league. I’ll leave that to my agent, and when the time comes to decide the future after the season, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“I’m very focused on the present, and being with Dash is all I can do right now. That’s all I’ll comment on now.

Clarkson, on the other hand, confirmed Riley’s assessment that the deal is a loan and that at the end of the season Dahlkemper’s rights will revert to North Carolina.

This brings up perhaps the most confusing aspect of the situation. According to its roster rules, the NWSL specifically states that loans from one league team to another are not allowed.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the league had not responded to an email from the Chronicle asking for clarification.

“All I know is the opportunity was to loan it out until the end of the season, and I thought it was a great opportunity for us to strengthen the squad with a view to trying to qualify for the playoffs and go as far as we can. ”Clarkson said.“ So while he was available we took advantage of it and we’re really happy to have him in the team.”

Dahlkemper is also happy to be in the team.

She has won many games against Dash since joining the league in 2016, but in one of her first training sessions with the team, she brought the players together in small groups to thank them for the. have welcomed with open arms.

“I let them know how much I respect them as players and as a team,” she said. “You could say that there is a strong sense of culture in this team. I think everyone is working hard, extremely hard, not only for themselves but for the team and for each other.

“It’s really important, especially in this league where the difference between getting a result and not getting is so slim.”

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