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Farrelly Return and Ali Goal highlight opening weeks of NWSL Season for local players



Photo by Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

After a seven-year absence, Havertown, Pa.’s Sinead Farrelly made her much anticipated debut last weekend in Gotham FC’s 2-0 home loss to OL Reign on Saturday, April 1. The former Haverford High and FC Delco star entered the match in the 70th minute for Bruninha, her first appearance since 2015 when she played for the Portland Thorns.

The former number two pick of the Philadelphia Independence in 2011 has three goals and two assists in 53 NWSL appearances with Kansas City, Portland, and now Gotham. Gotham will travel to Orlando to face the Pride on April 14 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Paramount+.

Amirah Ali, from Vorhees, scored the opening goal in San Diego’s 3-2 win over the Chicago Red Stars March 25. The former Rutgers four-time All-American was selected in the 2021 NWSL Draft by Portland but chose to remain in Piscataway for her senior year. She scored 44 goals for the Scarlet Knights before joining San Diego and scored her first goal for the Wave in the 2022 Challenge Cup. She played in 20 games last season, adding two goals and an assist in 559 minutes.

In San Diego’s 3-1 home win over North Carolina Courage April 1, Ali played 60 minutes, getting off one shot. San Diego is off to a 2-0 start and will travel to Seattle to face OL Reign April 15 at 10 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Paramount+.

Marissa Sheva appeared as a substitute in Washington Spirit’s 1-0 win over OL Reign on March 26. The Sellersville, Pa. native also made a substitute appearance in the Spirit’s 2-2 road draw against Louisville FC. The midfielder and national champion at Penn State recently made her first appearance for Ireland’s national team in February against China. Sheva made eight appearances for the Spirit last season, joining midway through the season.

Sheva has been included in Ireland’s squad for two friendlies against the United States beginning this weekend. Ireland will play the U.S. in Austin at Q2 Stadium on April 8 at 2:30 p.m. on TNT and Peacock. The two sides will be back in action April 11 at the new City Park in St. Louis. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 and will be broadcast on HBO Max and Peacock. Sheva’s teammate Maddie Elwell, from Ambler, Pa., made a substitute appearance in the Spirit’s opener March 26, also coming in at the 85th minute. The former 2022 first round draft pick and All-SEC player out of Vanderbilt made ten appearances last season and scored her first pro career goal against Louisville on June 17.

Amber Brooks, from New Hope, Pa., made her first appearance for the Spirit against OL Reign, entering as a 61st minute sub. The former USWNT youth player and UNC star appeared in 16 games last season and went over 10,000 career minutes played last May against Portland. With over 150 professional apps, Brooks scored a career-high two goals last season, adding one assist.

Washington will be back in action April 15 th , traveling to North Carolina Courage. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Paramount+.

Tziarra King, from Sicklerville NJ, played 64 minutes for OL Reign against Washington in the season opener March 25. The former NC State star and Academic All-American made 16 appearances in 2022 with two goals and one assist, helping the Reign clinch the NWSL Shield. Both of her goals came against Louisville FC in May. She was also named MVP in The Women’s Cup, an international tournament last August at Louisville FC that included Club América, AC Milan, Tottenham, and Tokyo Verdi Beleza.

Greg Oldfield is a teacher, coach, and writer from the Philadelphia area. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in Barrelhouse, Maudlin House, Carve, and the Under Review, among others. He also writes for the Florida Cup and Florida Citrus Sports. In 2023, he received an award for Best Column from the United Soccer Coaches for his story "A Philadelphia Soccer Hollywood Story." His work can also be found at

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