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Dash ink Japanese Defender Sameshima

The Houston Dash made a much-anticipated foray into international waters Friday morning, announcing that they had signed Japanese defender (and 2011 Women's World Cup winner) Aya Sameshima.

Masashi Hara

It had been known for a while that the Houston Dash had been targeting at least one international signing. Coach Randy Waldrum had basically said as much to those of us assembled in the war room for the Expansion Draft two weeks ago. Still, the target and the speed with which the Dash acted caught many by surprise.

Rumors had been flying for a few days about the potential signing of a Japanese player, and eventually a Japanese defender. Armed with that knowledge, some people started to suggest that left back Aya Sameshima was the Dash's target, and Friday morning, those hunches were confirmed.

As far as the international game goes for women, the United States reigns supreme, and has done so for an almost uninterrupted span of more than two decades. But if there's a number two, it's Japan, the current World Cup champions. A Japanese international like Sameshima will break a lot of talent and experience to the Dash - two things that will prove to be very valuable for an expansion team.

Quick Profile:
Name: Aya Sameshima (pronounced eye-YA saw-may-SHEE-ma)
Position: Defender
International: Japan (52 caps)
Date of Birth: June 16, 1987
Birthplace: Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan
Height: 5' 2"
Previous club: Vegalta Sendai (Japan)
How acquired: via signing on January 24, 2014