Wilf Thorne/Houston Dash

Houston Dash MF Carli Lloyd to begin 2017 with Manchester City F.C.

U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) midfielder Carli Lloyd has informed the Houston Dash that she will join English side Manchester City F.C. for the first half of 2017 and will return to Houston following the conclusion of City’s FA Women’s Super League Spring Series and UEFA Champion’s League tournament in June. The 2017 NWSL schedule has not yet been released, but the Dash are expected to open the season in mid-April.

“Carli and I spoke this weekend and she informed me of an opportunity to play for Manchester City as they chase a Champions League trophy.  It will involve her missing the first part of the NWSL season with her returning to the Dash in early June. I’m disappointed that she will not be with the team as we start the season, but I wished her all the best with her decision,” head coach Randy Waldrum said. “Our team is not built around any one player, so nothing will change with regards to our goals and expectations for our team. 

"We have a great roster with many international and domestic stars such as Kealia Ohai, Morgan Brian, Andressa, Rachel Daly, Janine Beckie and Denise O’Sullivan, just to name a few, who are committed to preparing for the start of the Dash season and who are more than ready to get back on the pitch and begin our quest to win an NWSL title. I am excited about this team and look forward to working with the talented group that I’ll go into camp with.”

Lloyd was recently selected by USWNT head coach Jill Ellis for the 25-player roster prior to the 2017 She Believes Cup. The midfielder scored 17 goals, including two goals in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and assisted 11 others in 21 matches for the USWNT last year. Additionally, Lloyd scored five goals and tallied three assists over seven games with the Dash last season. FIFA named her The Best Women’s Player on January 9, making her the second American and fifth woman ever to earn the honor in back-to-back years.

“I’m always looking for different challenges and this was a unique opportunity to continue to get better and elevate my game. This was not my first offer to move abroad and unlike previous opportunities, this endeavor just made sense," Lloyd said. "With no World Cup or major international tournament, I’ll return to Houston with all eyes on the NWSL regular season. The Dash have a solid group of players and I look forward to getting back with them this summer to push for a playoff spot.”

Lloyd was acquired in a trade with the Western New York Flash in 2014. Since then, she has been allocated to the NWSL and Houston by U.S. Soccer. Her USWNT teammate midfielder Morgan Brian was also allocated to Houston last season. Additionally, forwards Janine Beckie and Nichelle Prince were allocated to Houston by the Canadian Soccer Federation for the 2017 NWSL season. Dash forward Kealia Ohai and rookie goalkeeper Jane Campbell have also been called up to the USWNT for recent friendlies.

The Dash also feature two Brazilian Women’s National Team players, midfielder Andressa and defender Bruna, and the starting goalkeeper for the Australian Women’s National Team, Lydia Williams. Second-year forward Rachel Daly has also become a regular member of the England Women’s National Team. Additionally, the club features the South African National Team captain Janine Van Wyk, Ireland international Denise O'Sullivan and Mexican goalkeeper Bianca Henninger.