Two Chicago Red Stars players will spend the offseason on loan to clubs in the Australian A-League Women. Forward, Chelsie Dawber, will return to play with Adelaide United FC until May 4, 2023, while midfielder Sarah Griffith will join Newcastle Jets FC until April 6, 2023.
Dawber, 22, made her debut with the Red Stars Sunday, June 12, 2022. The forward played four games for the Red Stars this season, appearing in one starting lineup since joining the club back in April. Dawber was previously part of Adelaide United FC, where she played from 2017 to 2022 before being signed by the Red Stars.
“Chelsie has worked hard since joining the Red Stars. She came in and has done everything that’s been asked of her,” said Chicago Red Stars Associate General Manager, Michelle Lomnicki. “Chelsie had great success at Adelaide United. We’re hoping a stint with them during our offseason will help her develop her skills even more, and allow her to contribute in greater fashion when she returns.”
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to play with Adelaide United again,” said Dawber. “Having the chance to play all year in two professional leagues is rare, and I plan to take full advantage of it. Playing in both leagues will be great for developing my game in different environments.”
In July 2022, Dawber was called up to join the Australian under-23 National team for the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation group stage. Dawber also previously represented Australia as part of the under-20 and under-14 teams.
During the 2017-2018 season, Dawber played 15 games, starting in 14, for Adelaide United FC of the Australian A-League Women. The 22-year-old accounted for 10 of the club’s 33 goals and three assists during their 2021-22 campaign and helped lead the team to the A-League semi-finals round.
In the 2022 NWSL regular season, Griffith played in 20 matches, including in the Red Stars’ quarterfinals match against San Diego, started in six matches, while also scoring two goals and one assist. The Naperville native scored her first professional goal against the Orlando Pride Sunday, May 22. Earlier this season, Griffith played all six games in the Challenge Cup and started in two games. The Red Stars drafted Griffith in the third round of the 2022 NWSL Draft (35th overall) from Purdue University.
“Sarah has been a great addition to the Red Stars in the 2022 Challenge Cup and NWSL Regular Season,” said Michelle Lomnicki, Red Stars Associate General Manager. “We want to continue to invest in our players’ development as we enter the off season. This is a great opportunity for her to gain valuable minutes and experience.”
“I am excited to be joining Newcastle FC in the NWSL offseason! It is my priority to become the best player and person I can be. I believe playing in the offseason will help further my development going into the 2023 season,” said Griffith. “I am so grateful to Newcastle for bringing me in and will work hard towards winning a league championship with the coaches and my teammates. See you in a few months Chicago!”
While at Purdue, Griffith set school records for most goals in a season, most consecutive games with a goal, shots in a season and shots on goal. She shares the record for most game-winning goals in a season as well as career overtime points. Griffith was named the Big Ten forward of the year in 2021 as well as All-Big Ten First team, and was named All-American Second Team.
The Red Stars wish both Chelsie and Sarah the best of luck during their time in Australia and look forward to their return to the club.
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