The Canadian Connection

Labbé Zadorsky 1bThe Washington Spirit’s Shelina Zadorsky holds back the progress of an opposing player while teammate Stephanie Labbé goes for a grip on the ball, a familiar strategy that Labbé calls “for sure normal.” PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  Recently, I had a chance to sit down with Canadians Stephanie Labbé and Shelina Zadorsky for an exclusive interview about their second year with the Washington Spirit as professional soccer players in the National Women’s Soccer League.
This year, Spirit head coach Jim Gabarra has implemented multiple systems of play. At least one of them features a three-back defensive line versus a more traditional four-back defensive line. I asked Labbé and Zadorsky their thoughts on this system.
Labbé said, “I think the four-back is more natural. I think growing up that’s what we play all through the youth systems. I think that the three-back, it’s a new system. If you tactically have the right coaching and can really structurally break it down and be efficient in it, I think the three-back is a great tool to have. You have to have the right players that can fit the positions of that. Defensively the four-back is much more natural to so many people. Your instincts just go with it a lot better so it is easier to play.”


Top-ranked Spirit knows the value of teamwork

  • Published in Sports

20160514 Spirit vs Dash-8The Washington Spirit's keeper Stephanie Labbe reels in the ball with support from Megan Oyster, Shelina Zadorsky, Tori Huster and Alyssa Kleiner. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE

GERMANTOWN — Members and the head coach of the professional women’s soccer team the Washington Spirit say teamwork and dedication to their sport foster unity that is necessary for success.

The number one team in the National Women’s Soccer League remains undefeated so far in this season with four wins and one draw. Washington Spirit forward Crystal Dunn, 24, said the fact that the team has most of the same members as last season provided a foundation on which to continue to build during the current season. Even though the team has a new coach, the fact that many players have played together already provides strength during the transition.

“Oh (teamwork), it’s huge,” said Dunn. “I think you know we got a new coach this year, and I just hope that he felt coming in he didn’t have to change too much; and we had a really great core coming in this year because we’ve been playing with the same team last year.”

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