With her National Team Replacement contract up, forward Mariana Speckmaier is departing the Washington Spirit for Wellington Phoenix in Australia’s A-League Women, the team announced yesterday.
It will be a quick transition for Speckmaier: the A-League Women begins their 2023-24 season on October 14, and the Wellington Phoenix will start pre-season training on September 8.
The Spirit selected Speckmaier as the 39th overall pick in the 2021 draft, and she made three appearances in their Championship season. At the end of 2021, she left Washington to pursue her career internationally, initially signing with a Russian club team shortly before the country’s invasion of Ukraine interrupted her plans. She then transitioned to Iceland’s KF Valur, appearing in three matches. Throughout, Speckmaier has played for the Venezuelan National Team, where she’s made 12 appearances and notched 2 goals and 2 assists.
In 2023, Speckmaier rejoined the Washington Spirit and trained with the team until being signed to a National Team Replacement Player contract in June. Her legacy with the team will likely be the absolute absolute banger she scored in stoppage time of the Spirit’s August 4 Challenge Cup match against Orlando Pride. Her long-distance shot blindsided the Pride’s keeper and won the game for Washington.
Speckmaier is a quick striker who clearly has solid aim, but with the Spirit likely returning to their 4-4-2 structure after the return of the National Team players, she would be competing with six senior team players for a very limited number of forward slots. This transfer will give Speckmaier more playing time and a chance to shine and further develop.
We wish Mariana the best of luck and can’t wait to see her take the field for her new team soon!