77. Abby Dahlkemper

What a couple of years it has been for centre back Abby Dahlkemper. The USA defender was a constant in the North Carolina Courage back line in 2017, starting 24 matches as Paul Riley’s side won the NWSL Shield, but falling short in the final against Portland Thorns.

But Dahlkemper has now firmly asserted herself as a top young defender and a regular in Jill Ellis’s USA squads, emerging as a leading contender to partner Becky Sauerbrunn in defence.

Dahlkemper’s big target now has to be remaining at this level and consistently improving enough for her to keep that spot for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.

Jill Ellis, USA national team head coach says:

“I like her mindset, I like her physical and technical attributes and I like her mentality, she wants to grow and get better. I wanted to find another centre back to add depth there. I had a look at some others and Abby stood tall. Now, the more she’s in with the team, the more she’s gaining confidence. I see improvement in her from game to game in terms of reading the ball and decision-making.”

Kristen Hamilton, North Carolina Courage team mate says:

“Abby is an amazing defender, which her awards, acknowledgments, and consistent call ups into the US squad can attest to. She is extremely consistent and technically sound. She is motivated and is always striving to be a better player. I have no doubt that she will be a dominant force in the USWNT’s back line for many years to come.”

Kieran Theivam, UK/US women’s football writer says:

“Always touted as a bright prospect after being selected in the first round of the 2015 College Draft, Dahlkemper was one of the stand out defenders in the US this year. She formed a solid partnership with her namesake Abby Erceg for North Carolina, while she also forced her way into Jill Ellis’ US squad, playing alongside Becky Sauerbrunn at the back end of the year.
“For the second season in a row, Dahlkemper played every minute of every game for North Carolina Courage, further cementing her reputation for being a reliable, consistent and indispensable member of the club. This was further highlighted after she was named the NWSL Defender of the Year for 2017.”
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