The Washington Spirit have traded veteran Canadian international Diana Matheson to the Seattle Reign FC for recently drafted forward Arielle Ship and a third-round pick in the 2018 NWSL draft.
The 32-year-old midfielder-forward from Oakville, Ont., set Spirit records for goals (23) and assists (12) in her 67 appearances over four years with Washington. But the club said she wanted a new challenge.
“I want to thank Diana for all she has invested in our club,” Spirit GM and head coach Jim Gabarra said in a statement. “She has been a true professional and contributed in many ways to the growth, development, and success of our team.”
Washington made it to the NWSL final in 2016, losing to the Western New York Flash.
In a social media message to fans, Matheson called her departure “bittersweet.”
“The club gave me so much over the time I was there and Iâ€™ll miss so many things,” she said.
“All that said, after four years and some hard thought, I’ll be leaving the Spirit,” she added. “Jim and staff have been great and there has been nothing but honest conversations during the off-season. They have been pushing to do what’s right for the club, but ultimately respected my decision.”
She had four goals in 12 games for Washington in 2016, tied for second best at the club, despite missing time to help Canada to a bronze medal at the Olympics in Brazil.
Matheson is currently with the Canadian team at a camp in Los Angeles. She has 17 goals and 20 assists in 191 appearances for Canada.
Canadian international goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe and defender Shelina Zadorsky remain with Washington. The Spirit took Canadian forward Lindsay Agnew (Ohio State University) 19th overall in the Jan. 13 NWSL draft.
Ship was taken in the third round, 26th overall. The Cal forward was the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2015 and finished her collegiate career with 29 goals and 14 assists.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press