On Monday, the Dash announced their first trade of the NWSL offseason, shipping U.S. defender Meghan Klingenberg and a conditional pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft to Seattle in exchange for Amber Brooks and the fifth overall selection in the 2016 NWSL College Draft.
Klingenberg's departure mars the arrival of Amber Brooks. But who exactly is Amber Brooks and what does she bring to help the Dash?
Head Coach Randy Waldrum addressed her character and skill-set in a press release announcing Monday's trade, "Amber is a player that I've wanted since I took over the team two years ago."
"Amber was a part of my U-23 USWNT, where she showed versatility by playing anywhere in defense or midfield," Waldrum continued. "She's tenacious, tough, skillful, and a great competitor who will battle until the final whistle. She very much fits into what we are trying to build here in Houston."
The addition of Brooks could assist helps strengthen the Dash midfield, which has already become Houston's most outstanding characteristic. There's also an equal chance Waldrum could potentially play Brooks on Houston's embattled backline, especially after the departures of Ella Masar and Klingenberg. It's a position she's played before and Houston's lack of depth in their backline didn't serve them well during their playoff push last season.
Brooks, 24, was acquired by Seattle in January, along with Abby Wambach's NWSL rights for Sydney Leroux and Amanda Frisbie. She made 12 appearances for Reign FC in 2015. Prior to Seattle, Brooks played for the Portland Thorns in 2014 and played two seasons with Bayern Munich of Germany's Frauen-Bundesliga following her college career at the University of North Carolina. Brooks earned her lone cap with the U.S. Women's National Team against Brazil in 2013.
So far this offseason it appears the Dash have taken a step back before taking one forward. The club has waived/lost/dealt defender Ella Masar, midfielder Brittany Bock, forward Melissa Henderson, midfielder Jordan Jackson and defender Megan Klingenberg. Roster turnover is nothing new heading into the NWSL's fourth season and a wave of offseason retirements is the norm. It will be interesting to see how Dash Managing Director Brian Ching continues to retool the roster over the course of the offseason and Waldrum's decision on which position Brooks will be featured in come next season.