Let the welkin ring with gladness! Let Red Joy be unconfined! Thorns FC has signed the Menges half of the Great Wall of Emily and all is right with the World!
Oh, yeah. There’s been a couple of other signings, too. Let’s discuss below the fold.
The best news of the day, so far, is resigning Em Menges. I can’t say enough about her, so I won’t…other than that the long delay in her inking pact was the most worrisome thing gigging me and the whole USWNT CBA thing is still out there hanging, so that tells you where I am right now. Locking Menges in for 2017 is, in my opinion, critical for the team’s success this season. I’m glad that the Front Office agreed and that Em wanted to sign. I hope she got a huge bump up to the new, higher, league maximum.
Mana Shim resigned, as well, which is fine. As I noted in my discussion of the midfielders, my feeling is that at this point it is increasingly unlikely that Mana will become the starter and impact player that her many fans want her to be. She’s depth, no more than that, and that’s fine; good teams need a solid bench and Mana can provide that when she’s on her game. Hopefully she will commit to being that, this season.
The third recent signing I should note is Australian striker Ashleigh Sykes. Sykes will not report until the first of June, so my guess is that the idea is to have her in place as a replacement for the loss of the UEFA players to the Euros in midsummer. Sykes looks like a proven quantity; she scored in more than a quarter of her W-League matches for Canberra. She just signed – just as in “several days ago” just – with her current club, AS Harima of the Nadeshiko-2, so we’ll have to keep an eye on her there.
I should note that she is also an Australian international, having scored five goals for the Matildas in 19 appearances (tho her victims weren’t exactly the powers of women’s soccer; all her tallies were in horrific one-sided routs, including a 9-nil beatdown of Vietnam in the Olympic qualifiers last year) so she’ll take up an international slot.
Given the current situation at forward – with Nadim still rehabbing and then likely out for the Euros – I’d call Sykes not a bad signing overall. With Menges and Shim signed (and Sykes not carried on the roster) the Thorns now have 20 players either subsidized or under contract, so the team is pretty well set for camp to open outside of the still-unfilled backup ‘keeper slot. Held open for Kruger? Hoping for a tryout surprise?
We’ll have to keep an eye open over the next month or so.
I look outside and I see green shoots bravely emerging from my front garden. That gives me a little jolt of excitement. Spring is coming and, with it, the first Thorns boot on a ball inside the old barn down on 18th and Morrison.