The Chicago Red Stars are locked in an intense battle to grab one of the remaining spots in the NWSL playoffs.
Head Coach Rory Dames and the Chicago Red Stars staff saw a weakness in the team and they wanted to improve it. So they went out and acquired midfielder Kristie Mewis from the Washington Spirit. While Mewis did pay dividends for the Red Stars, they had a rare opportunity to acquire one of the brightest stars in Women’s Soccer.
A two-time MAC Hermann trophy winner by the name of Morgan Brian.
Brian comes to the Red Stars on the heels of a three game losing streak at home. The 24-year-old has played just 85 minutes in two appearances for the club. Brian notably has been struggling with injuries and regaining her fitness this season. She has appeared in 12 matches this season.
The midfielder recognizes that she and the Red Stars still have work to do, and knows she is still finding her place on this talented team.
“It’s hard,” she said of the integration process. “I think it’s a statement to this team and the talent that’s here. It’s a team that I want to be a part of, there are many great players. I’m excited to be here and to be in the playoffs hopefully.”
As previously mentioned, Brian has struggled with injuries this season and hasn’t been able to stay healthy. She has appeared in 12 matches this season and played for a total of 748 minutes.
Brian notes that the rehab process has been challenging but she is willing to work at it and eliminate and potential chance of re aggravating her injuries.
“Right now I’m trying to get back to fitness.” Brian noted. The Red Stars have been slowly integrating 24-year-old into the lineup as they slowly feed her more minutes.
“My last weekend was 30 minutes and we wanted to push on to 60 (minutes) today. For me, it’s just about getting minutes and getting those touches on the ball,” said Brian.
The confidence for Brian will come back the more she is on the ball.
Having just two weeks with the Red Stars has lead to a wild adjustment period. Morgan Brian is looking forward to aiding in the Red Stars push for the playoffs and hopefully an NWSL Championship appearance in Orlando.
Right now, baby steps for her and the Red Stars. Brian outlined a plan for success after the Red Stars drew 1-1 against FC Kansas City.
“The more we settle in and can combine, keep the identity of this team, and move forward and score goals,” Brian said of the team tactics. “If we can do that and we can gel on the field, we will be a good team going forward.”
The upcoming international break will offer Morgan Brian something she hasn’t seen if a few weeks.
Athletes are creatures of habit and Morgan Brian has experienced quite a disturbance of her everyday habits with her injuries and most recently being in Houston for Hurricane Harvey.
Now she gets to reunite with her USWNT teammates as well as be accompanied by some of her new club teammates. Brian will travel to Commerce City, Colorado and Cincinnati, Ohio with Christen Press, Julie Ertz, Casey Short, Alyssa Naeher and Sofia Huerta as part of the upcoming friendlies against New Zealand.
Brian is admittedly ready to return to normal. “I’m excited to get back with the team. I’m feeling more fit and healthy, I’m excited to get back with the team and wear the crest.”
The United States Women’s National Team kickoff against New Zealand on September 15th at 9pm CDT.