It’s not often in sports where the universe lines up in a perfect manner. With the confluence of moving players, teams, and handful of matches – opportunities for storylines to sync perfectly often go just by the wayside.
For Jasmyne Spencer’s first start in Houston, however, the universe was aligned.
"It was really exciting,” said Spencer after last Friday’s win over OL Reign. “I have so many emotions right now; the last time I started on this field, two years ago, I tore my ACL. I had the last two games marked on my calendar, and I had lots of feelings being back and playing here. I think what made today special was my parents and fiancé were here, so I felt supported regardless of the outcome of the game. To be able to start and get a goal was really a perfect scenario for me.”
With a litany of star international attackers away ahead of Tokyo 2020, Spencer – who arrived in late May – was given the start by James Clarkson as the Dash aimed to earn back-to-back victories for the second time this season. After a testy first half, Shea Groom bounded forward with the ball in the 50th minute, with Spencer timing a run perfectly in-behind the Reign defense.
Then, jubilation struck.
"It hit me so much,” said Spencer on her goal celebration. “I haven't scored before I tore my knee here, I had a difficult exit from the Reign, where I felt very at home… and then coming back and playing them again. There was just so much emotion surrounding the game itself. So, when I just scored, I was so excited and overwhelmed by being able to come full circle.”
Beyond the context of recent career, Jasmyne’s jubilation also was a form of release following the stress of her move to Houston – which took her anywhere but.
"It was difficult because when I came in, we had two away games and a break; I went home to see my family,” said Spencer on her transition to Houston. “I didn't know when I was going to be back home. So, I was on the road for four weeks. Some of my stuff was still being shipped in, so I feel like this is the first week where I really got to settle in Houston. Amidst all the difficulty of moving cross country, the girls have been incredible - so helpful, really welcoming to make it as smooth as possible. I'm so appreciative of them."
Despite the rough operational transition, Spencer had nothing but positives to say regarding her first impressions of playing with the Dash.
"I've been in the league since day one, so I've seen the evolution of the Dash from the first year they came in,” said Spencer. “I do think that there's a misconception about the style of play and what their identity is. When I got here, I was really pleasantly surprised to see that I fit right in with the style and what I could bring was only going to benefit the team. It was really nice to just be in on it and be like yeah these people outside of this environment don't really understand and that's okay we are going to continue to do what we need to do and prove people wrong."
Spencer and the Dash travel to Chicago next, facing the Red Stars on Sunday, July 11th, at 5pm CST. The match can be streamed live on Paramount+.