Former North Carolina Courage defender Ally Haran, who was waived on July 18th, has unofficially joined the Houston Dash. On Monday evening, Haran dropped a picture on Twitter of her practicing with the Dash, but the team has not released an official press release about the signing. The Houston Dash organization has been working on finalizing the addition for a while now, but the National Women’s Soccer League is notoriously slow at times.
Ally Haran graduated from Wake Forest University in 2018 and took her professional soccer career to Iceland, where she played for UMF Selfoss. She had an excellent season for her Icelandic club team as a center back, and looked for an opportunity back in the NWSL for the 2019 season. Here at Dirty South Soccer, we got in touch with her coach at UMF Selfoss, Alfreð Elías Jóhannsson, after the Courage signed her during the offseason, and he spoke glowingly of her growth and skill with the team. The Courage added Haran with the expectation that she would battle for a starting center back spot while defenders Abby Dahlkemper and Abby Erceg were away for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Haran never logged a game minute. Even when fellow defender Kaleigh Kurtz struggled in her starting role with Dahlkemper in France, it was Cari Roccaro who head coach Paul Riley tapped as the next defender up. That decision put Haran at fifth on the center back depth chart, and she was ultimately waived when the roster had to shrink to accommodate the returning USWNT players.
Now, as she joins a new team, Haran seems to be in much better space to win some starting minutes. The Dash have struggled to find a good center back pairing for their primary starter, Amber Brooks. Brooks is the only Dash player who has started and played every minute of the 2019 season, but she hasn’t had a consistent partner. Houston started the season with Australian defender Clare Polkinghorne as their second center back, but she has not had a good season. Then she went to France to play in the World Cup for Australia, where their defense ultimately caused them to flame out in the Round of 16 against Norway. Polkinghorne retook her starting spot for two games upon returning, but she was absent for the last game with an excused absence.
When Polkinghorne left the team, rookie defender Ally Prisock was inserted into the starting lineup instead. Prisock and the rest of the Dash defense have struggled this season. They have allowed 25 goals against, second worst in the league, and were beaten last Wednesday 5-0 by Portland Thorns FC. Without much defensive depth, Haran figures to be a potential starter for the team if she can integrate well into the system. It’s too bad that things didn’t work out for Haran in North Carolina, but we wish her all the best in Houston... at least in the games where she isn’t playing against the Courage.