A knee injury will keep defender Anna Heilferty out of the 2023 NWSL season, the Washington Spirit reported today.
The season-ending injury is especially bad news for the Spirit as they look to improve defensively from their 2022 performance. Heilferty was a core member of the defense last season, playing in 21 of 22 matches and starting 18. In that time, she made two assists and was one of the top defenders on the team, with 23 tackles, 22 interceptions, and 20 blocks.
After the 2022 offseason resulted in a decrease in the total number of defenders on Washington’s roster, Heilferty was likely to again play a central role on the 2023 squad. With only one month remaining before the start of the season, the team will need to move quickly to adjust to her absence.
Heilferty joined the Spirit in 2021 as the 19th pick of the NWSL Draft and appeared in a variety of positions before settling into an outside back role in 2022. A native of Falls Church, VA, Heilferty quickly became a fan favorite through both her skills on the field and her work in the community with Sustainable DC, an initiative of the DC Department of Energy and Environment to create “the healthiest, greenest, most livable city for all residents.”
In her position as Ambassador for Sustainable DC, Heilferty has led a tour of the Anacostia River, a clean-up event at Kingman and Heritage Islands, and other efforts to increase public awareness of sustainability. The Spirit have said she will continue in that role while recovering this season.
Losing Heilferty for the season is certainly a blow for both the team and fans who hoped to see her taking the field this March, and we wish her a speedy recovery!