Man City’s Abby Dahlkemper on the difficulties of change and buying a new coat
Jessy Parker Humphreys joins Abby Dahlkemper as she speaks to the media for the first time since signing for Manchester City from North Carolina Courage.
Manchester City added a third World Cup winner to their squad this January when they signed central defender Abby Dahlkemper from North Carolina Courage.
This signing was different though. Dahlkemper put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year contract, a much longer deal than the one plus one arrangements signed by Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle.
“I really wanted to relish this opportunity to experience Europe and to be part of this team for a while,” Dahlkemper says, speaking to the media for the first time since her arrival.Embed from Getty Images
“I think to be able to experience this for two and a half years is going to benefit me on and off the field.”
In Dahlkemper, Man City have once again recruited a serial winner. Having won back-to-back titles in the NWSL, Dahlkemper also played more minutes than any other US national team player en route to their World Cup win.
“There’s definitely a winning mentality here,” she says, when asked if there is the same mindset at Manchester City as there was at her former sides.
“Top to bottom, this team is so talented. You’re going to get challenged every day. You have to earn your right to play and perform.”
“I think that hopefully I can help the team grow, and the team is definitely going to help me grow.”Embed from Getty Images
While the mindset might be familiar, the style of play has offered a new challenge.
“The way that City plays – the goalkeeper and the centre-backs are setting a lot of the play. That was attractive to me,” she explains.
“The possession, the value of that was kind of different from what I was used to. It’s just kind of looking at it as a new way of playing.”
Despite having only played one game in the WSL, Dahlkemper has already noticed those stylistic differences within the league.
“There’s a lot more tactical awareness. The way people play here is very structured.
“Ball possession is very valued here which is something that’s different than in America.”Embed from Getty Images
Dahlkemper made an incident-free debut against West Ham at the weekend. Playing alongside Steph Houghton, she feels there is already a relationship building with the Manchester City captain.
“Steph’s been amazing to work with. It was kind of seamless in the game yesterday.
“I have always respected and admired her play and her amazing career thus far. Being able to work with her, ask her questions was awesome. Hopefully we’re able to continue that partnership.”
“The girls on the team were so nice and so welcoming with me,” she continues. “I felt comfortable, and I think that’s a good thing, because we all need to work together to win games.”
Dahlkemper’s move also has implications on the other side of the Atlantic. In leaving the North Carolina Courage, she has followed both Sam Mewis and Crystal Dunn (who has moved to Portland Thorns) out the door.
“There’s never really a right time for change,” she says. “Change is hard.
“The girls on the team and the coaches at the Courage were like family to me. I obviously miss them a lot.”
“It was a very difficult decision but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. It’s an opportunity to grow and learn and experience something different.”Embed from Getty Images
Part of that learning opportunity has already begun, as Dahlkemper has adjusted to life in England.
“I think maybe the biggest [culture shock] is just finding the right coat to wear. Finding a warm coat and getting used to being cold. Often.”
With Abby Dahlkemper under no illusions about the reality of Manchester weather, she is clearly ready to get stuck in.
Follow Jessy on Twitter at @jessyjph
She comes across as very unspoiled and team-oriented. I suspect the different style of play will affect her less than Lavelle and Press (and Heath, notwithstanding her success) who are used to having more individual attacking opportunities.