Playing at Audi Field is part of the Spirit’s recent partnership with D.C. United. The agreement sees the NWSL team playing four home games apiece at Audi Field, Segra Field and the Maryland SoccerPlex in 2020. In 2021, the Spirit will begin using United’s forthcoming 40,000-square-foot training complex in Loudoun County, Va.
Last year, the Spirit hosted Reign FC at Audi Field and a crowd of 17,418 watched the 2-2 draw. That attendance number is second only to the record-smashing 19,871 who came to the Spirit’s 2-1 win over the Orlando Pride a month earlier.
Washington looks to build in its second year under coach Richie Burke, adding 11 new players in the offseason. The Spirit signed all five College Draft picks — Ashley Sanchez, Natalie Jacobs, Averie Collins, Katie McClure, Kiaya McCullough — to contracts. Additionally, the club acquired Jessie Scarpa, Jenna Hellstrom, Jaye Boissiere, Katie Lund, Kumi Yokoyama, and former West Ham defender Brooke Hendrix.
Meanwhile, Spirit midfielders Jordan DiBiasi, Rose Lavelle and Andi Sullivan joined United States women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski’s 26-player training camp roster in preparation for the 2020 SheBelieves Cup.
One player who won’t be with the Spirit this season is World Cup forward Mallory Pugh. The team traded Pugh to Sky Blue FC during the draft in exchange for a pair of second round picks in the 2020 draft as well as a first-round pick in the 2021 draft. Washington used the fourth pick to bring Sanchez, a UCLA standout forward, to the team.
NWSL released a full list of home openers Wednesday, but has yet to announce the remaining schedule of games.