Julia Ashley To Play Pro Soccer Abroad

By on January 22, 2019

 

Photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNCOK, Verona: Stand up and shout “MOLE” at the top of your lungs. That’s a pretty close approximation of the Swedish word for “goal” and you’re going to need it because Julia Ashley has signed to play with Linkoping FC, a pro soccer team based two hours south of Stockholm.

On January 10, Ashley was the #6 overall pick in the first round of the National Women’s Soccer League college draft, tapped by ​Sky Blue Football Club​. The club is owned by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, but it has had some very public struggles over poor training facilities, pay and player conditions. At the NWSL event in Chicago, Ashley was quoted as saying that she was not sure if she would sign with Sky Blue. She had recently gotten an agent from the A&V Sports Group, which is based in Paris and Miami.

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Linkoping (pronounced “lin-SHER-ping”) announced this morning that Ashley will be joining its team. It was founded in 2003 and won the ​women’s premier division, called the Damallsvenskan in 2016 and 2017. Its home field is a swanky, large stadium in ​the seventh largest city in Sweden, which is a center of high-tech industry in the country.

“I am so happy and honored to play for a club as good as Linkoping FC in the Swedish Damallsvenskan,” Ashley said in a statement released by the team. “The trainer has told me about the team, the tactics, the training and the club history, making me feel that this is a fantastic opportunity for me. I can’t wait to go to the club, meet the team and experience the great Swedish football culture.” Soccer is known as football in Europe and now might not be such a bad time to be in Sweden: it’s actually warmer there than it is in Verona.

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Ashley, who graduated Verona High School with the class of 2015, was a standout defender for the University of North Carolina who led that team to the NCAA College Cup finals in December. She was also on the watch list for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy and is currently a member of the U-23 United States Women’s National Soccer Team.

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