Manchester City have completed the signing of USWNT and North Carolina Courage centre-back Abby Dahlkemper on a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season.
Dahlkemper is the third member of the United States’ 2019 World Cup winning squad to join City in recent months, following the same path from the NWSL as Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle.
Dahlkemper played every minute of the 2019 tournament in France. Domestically, she was also an NWSL champion with the Courage in both 2018 and 2019, won the NWSL Defender of the Year award in 2017 and was named in the NWSL Best XI in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The 27-year-old will wear the number 13 shirt for City and has labelled the club ‘world class’.
Dahlkemper has also praised the Women’s Super League, which is fast becoming the best domestic league in the world. Her presence will only serve to raise the bar even more.
“With all the talent in the FA WSL, I know that each game will present a new challenge and the opportunity to grow both as a player and as a person in England is going to be amazing, alongside having the chance to play Champions League football too,” she told ManCity.com.
“Sam and Rose have been saying nothing but brilliant things about the club and hearing them speak so highly about the facilities, the staff and the players as well as their experience of a new technical and tactical challenge is something that was really appealing to me.”
It may be some time before Dahlkemper actually plays for City because she is currently part of the USWNT squad, alongside Mewis and Lavelle, for an ongoing camp and programme of games. There are two upcoming friendlies before the end of the month and three Olympic qualifiers in late February, all due to be played in Florida, and the players won’t return to club action in between.
After that, coronavirus protocols and the need to train could delay her debut further.
Dahlkemper’s impact at City therefore may not really be felt until next season by the time she has properly settled in and adapted to a completely new environment. But what she will do is eventually add another layer of all-important depth, quality and competition to the squad.
City have been a side in transition this season and have struggled to keep up with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in the title race, despite assembling a squad tantamount to a ‘Dream Team’. They have struggled to score goals at the same rate as their rivals, which puts even more importance on a strong defensive foundation to collect enough points to compete.
Getting a solid foundation in place will be crucial, not only in the WSL where the standard is higher than ever before, but also in Europe as City ultimately aim to go all the way in the Champions League. They are still in the competition this season and Dahlkemper could even play a role.
In the short-term, her impact will be dominated by ifs, buts and maybes. But City have nailed it by securing a longer term contract and that is where the difference will really be felt.