The rumor mill bubbled and percolated, then simmered, but has returned to full boil with the Washington Spirit announcing the signing of France international Ouleymata Sarr!
Sarr signed a ‘three-year contract’ though it runs through the 2025 season, technically making it a two-and-a-half year deal. Sarr will fill one of the Spirit’s international slot, and has already chosen #8 as the number she’ll wear for the Spirit. Head coach Mark Parsons lauded her as a player who “has tremendous attacking qualities” that he expects will bring huge value to the Spirit, and noted that her signing was important for the team and NWSL overall.
The 27-year-old forward played for PSG, Lille, Bordeaux and Paris FC in France, and has featured for France’s national team since 2017, although she wasn’t named in new coach Hervé Renard’s squad ahead of the 2023 World Cup.
“I have always had the ambition to join the NWSL which is, to me, one of the best leagues in the world. … I am ambitious, determined and excited to get started on this next chapter. I can’t wait to get to work with my teammates and all the staff to achieve great things together!” –Ouleymata Sarr; source: Washington Spirit
However, Sarr is a tremendous talent in her prime and absolutely a player Spirit supporters should get ecstatic about. Last season at Paris FC, she was one of the league’s most productive attackers while playing primarily as a forward or winger (either side), plus some spot duty at attacking midfield. She finished the season with 8 goals and 3 assists, helping Paris FC finish third behind Lyon and PSG.
According to StatsBomb, last season Sarr was in the 99th percentile in expected goals (.47 per 90), 98th percentile in shots (3.68 per 90) and touches in the box (7.29 per 90). She was also in the 89th percentile for open play assisted expected goals (.19 per 90). The non-nerd, numbery way of saying all this is that she is wildly adept at getting into the box and taking shots, and a very capable shot creator for teammates as well.
The low ‘Pressure Regains’ portion stands out, but it’s likely due to an overall style change in the way Paris FC played rather than a weakness in Sarr’s game. The year prior she performed extraordinarily high in that category, reaching the 95th percentile with 3.99 pressure regains per 90. At 5’9, Sarr is also a tall forward who wins the ball a lot in the air, according to FBref she won 24 of her 34 aerial duels last season.
This is an awesome signing for the Spirit and we can’t wait to see Ouleymata Sarr at rowdy Audi in the very near future!