Allysha Chapman’s return could not have come at a better time for the Houston Dash. With a backline that was porous at best, Chapman’s return was a welcomed addition to the team. The left back played 14 games for Houston 2015 and 2016.
The second coming of Chapman’s saga began on January 25, 2018 (the Canadian international’s 29th birthday) when news broke of the Boston Breakers intention to officially cease operations in the National Women’s Soccer League.
“Can we remember this day as the day a beautiful human was born (me) and not as the day that finalized the demise of an NWSL franchise?” she said, trying to find light in the situation.
The light as it turned out would be a return to Houston by way of the North Carolina Courage. NCC selected her in the subsequent dispersal draft on January 30th. The stay in North Carolina would be short-lived as the Houston Dash identified Chapman as a player that would bring tenacity and toughness once again to their backline.
Six games into the NWSL season, Houston found themselves in desperate need of a strong, natural left back defender and Chapman fit the bill.
“We were looking to solidify our back line after we moved (Kristi) Mewis and (Rachel) Daly into the midfield and attack,” shared Brian Ching in an exclusive with Dynamo Theory. “NC was looking for our pick in the Draft and we knew that Allysha was not playing. Vera liked the way she plays and I knew that she would have not problem fitting into our squad and Houston. So we made the trade and are extremely excited to have her back with us. She is one of the best one on one defenders in the league and gives us a bit of bite that we need. Allysha just wanted to be playing consistently and was happy to get that chance by coming back.”
Her former coach Paul Riley of the Courage knows how much Chapman brings to the table.
“Allysha is tough, tenacious and talented,” said Riley. “Loves a battle and loves the team mentality. Will provide an attacking option out of the back with a trusty left foot and good soccer IQ. Fits our player profile and we are excited to further her national team career. She is a character on and off the field and the fans will love her no-nonsense approach to the game”
The Canadian international with 88 caps to her credit has brought all that and so much more. Since her arrival in time for the game on May 9, 2018, Houston has secured two wins and three draws, including having the Courage on the ropes this past Sunday evening for 79 minutes, and one loss. Prior to her arrival, the Dash had a win, two draws, three losses failed to score in four consecutive matches.
Jane Campbell, Houston Dash goalkeeper, described the difference Chapman has made in the last six matches.
“She’s great especially on the left side,” said Campbell. “Her left foot is nothing but filth. I think being able to utilize her on the left side is great. Her and K (Kealia Ohai) are getting a rhythm now, which will help us in the future.”
Fellow Canadian international teammate and Dash forward Nichelle Prince loves the physical intensity Chapman brings to the pitch and her ability to lead a counter into the attacking third.
“She is a true left back. It’s really hard to get past her. She is someone I love playing with because you know she is going to win most of her tackles and going forward she has a left foot that is so dangerous. It’s really great having her and it has really solidified our backline.”
Chapman has been a dangerous defender as long as many can remember dating back to her days at LSU when she earned Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2011.
The defender has spent the last seven years honing her craft earning the respect of her peers, players and coaches across the soccer community. In Houston, if no where else, she has earned the recognition she so richly deserves.