NWSL: Sky Blue, Portland make trade and swap Margaret Purce, Raquel Rodríguez

Raquel Rodríguez NWSL

Howell, New Jersey — The trade game isn’t quite finished for the NWSL this Wednesday. During the afternoon, Sky Blue FC and the Portland Thorns elected to shake up their rosters a little more. Sky Blue received Margaret Purce from the Thorns, while Raquel Rodríguez is the newest member of the Thorns.

Also included in the trade is a draft pick. The Thorns sent Sky Blue FC their first-round selection in the 2021 NWSL College Draft. Meanwhile, this year’s draft is slated for next Thursday, Jan. 16, at 11 a.m. in Baltimore, Maryland.

Rodríguez featured for Sky Blue FC beginning in 2016. She was the club’s first round pick, and second overall pick, in the NWSL College Draft. The former Penn State player made 76 overall appearances for Sky Blue FC.

Internationally, Rodríguez has produced 40 goals in 70 appearances for the Costa Rican Women’s National Team. She’ll be joining the team for their upcoming Olympic Qualifiers. Costa Rica did not qualify for the World Cup in 2019, after making the tournament four years ago. However, she did win a bronze medal in the Pan-Am Games in August.

“I’m extremely grateful to Rocky for giving her heart and soul to this club for four years,” Alyse LaHue, Sky Blue general manager, said. “It was an absolute privilege to be able to work with her, and we wish her nothing but success in the next phase of her career.”

Mark Parsons, Portland Thorns FC head coach, called Rodríguez an “elite” player.

“Rocky… has proven to be one of the best in the league at her position,” Parsons said. “She is a perfect fit for what our needs are on the field and she is someone who has the character and leadership to help grow our culture even stronger.”

Purce looking for another breakout year

While Rodríguez heads out to the West Coast, Purce is heading to the east coast. Known as Midge Purce, she joined the Thorns in 2018, after the demise of the Boston Breakers. She began her NWSL career with Boston in 2017, making 22 appearances. Portland picked her up in the NWSL Dispersal Draft.

In two season in Portland, Purce made 41 appearances, starting 31 matches. She scored eight goals and provided one assist during her time as a Thorn.

“Midge was a tremendous player for us in 2019 and we are grateful for all her contributions on the field and for her commitment to the Portland community,” Gavin Wilkinson, Thorns general manager, said.

“I am thrilled to welcome Midge to the team,” Freya Coombe, Sky Blue FC head coach, said. “She is incredibly skilled and will play an integral part in our success this season. We look forward to welcoming her talents to Sky Blue.”

Purce will be playing her home matches at Red Bull Arena. Sky Blue and the New York Red Bulls came to a partnership agreement for the 2020 season.


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