Today, the Houston Dash announced that they have acquired the playing rights to midfielder Emily Ogle and midfielder Gabby Seiler through a trade with Portland Thorns FC. The duo come at the cost of a 2021 1st Round pick and a 2021 4th round pick.
The trade means that the Dash now have 23 players on their active roster ahead of the 2021 NWSL season. This leaves Houston with two remaining picks in the 3rd round of the upcoming NWSL Draft (the 26th and 27th overall selections).
Ogle has been a young prodigy in red, white and blue. She was named as a nominee for the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year in 2016. The Ohio native also started all six matches for the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Similarly lauded for her NCAA career, with the Penn State Nittany Lions, Ogle never missed a game in four seasons. She recorded 20 goals and 21 assists in 100 appearances and won the 2015 NCAA Championship in her freshman season.
After being drafted 24th overall in the 2019 NWSL College Draft, Ogle has featured only six times, in two seasons, for the Portland Thorns. The disparity between her marathon college career and her patient beginning to the NWSL perhaps exemplifies the quality jump between college and the pros.
Seiler has had a similarly stunted start to life in the NWSL. The 26-year-old started her college career at the University of Georgia where she made 40 appearances and finished with 10 goals and 11 assists over two seasons. After two years at Georgia, Seiler opted to transfer to the University of Florida, where she redshirted during the 2015 season. In 2016, Seiler made her Gator debut scoring a goal and providing two assists. The midfielder went on to captain 23 matches while leading the team with eight assists and six goals.
Despite being drafted 9th overall in the 2018 NWSL College Draft by the Portland Thorns, Seiler would not make her NWSL until the 2019 season due to a lingering MCL injury picked up playing for the Florida Gators. Her bad luck continued when she tore her ACL in training, mid-way through her breakout rookie 2019 season. Across her two seasons Seiler has made 20 NWSL appearances, but only tallied 105 minutes in her comeback 2020 season.
What They Said: James Clarkson: “The addition of Gabby and Emily is another step in the development and growth of the team. They are both ideal fits for our culture and style of play”.
What This Means: The result of the trade is that the Dash now have 23 players on their active roster ahead of the 2021 NWSL season. Houston will also have their two remaining picks in the 3rd round of the upcoming NWSL Draft(the 26th and 27th overall selections). The draft will take place Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. CST on the NWSL Twitch channel.
The consensus on both of these players is that the NWSL has not seen the best of their abilities yet. Whether due to injury or opportunity, Ogle and Seiler are unpolished players with extremely high potential.
For the third consecutive year James Clarkson and the Dash staff have opted to trade away their 1st round pick. In 2020 the Dash didn’t get any younger but they did get a lot better. These transfers allow the Dash to build youthful roster depth without relying upon rookies. Seiler and Ogle will understand the travel commitments of a season, the training practices and the emotional demands of the NWSL. These qualities are so important to Clarkson’s coalescent Houston team.
The writing was on the wall for Seiler in a stacked Thorns midfield. Seiler was a standout for the Thorns as a defensive midfielder in 2019, but since then the Thorns have signed Rocky Rodriguez. Now in Houston, Seiler’s role as an intelligent and decisive central midfielder would suggest that Hayley Hanson will be making her switch to playing right back a permanent one.
Whilst Sophie Schimdt exceeded expectations in 2020, this move assures the next player to play at the base of the midfield three is already on Houston’s roster. Having a starter in Schmidt should give Seiler plenty of time to continue her rehab and slowly make her return to match sharpness. Should Schimdt go and play for Canada in the 2021 Summer Olympics, Seiler would need to be ready to become the starter in July 2021.
Don’t expect Ogle to come in and start either. Having seen how little Clarkson likes to experiment, Ogle will arrive as a project with high upside. Having lost Cece Kizer to Racing Louisville, in the NWSL Expansion Draft, Clarkson was certainly looking for options off the bench. Much like Kizer, Ogle could play a variety of roles where a physical player is needed. Witnessing how the diminutive Bri Visalli has been molded into a fantastic defensive winger, would it be too outlandish to suggest that maybe Clarkson has earmarked Ogle as an alternate in that position?