The 2017 signings continue with the re-signing of veteran Boston Breakers defender Julie King.
“Julie was a key player for us last year, and it was important that we kept her for 2017,” said head coach Matt Beard via team press release.
King was one of two players who had run out of contract and was offered a new one after 2016. The Breakers’ first re-signing for 2017 was midfielder Stephanie Verdoia.
King is a pretty good piece for the Breakers back line; she’s best pushed out wide and moving up the field as both provider and target, but can shift inside to center back as needed. That was, in fact, her primary function for Boston 2015, but this past season, with the addition of Whitney Engen to the roster, King was able to move out to right back again. She had 17 starts in 18 games for 1,523 minutes, two goals, and one assist, and she was voted team MVP.
King also had the honor of being the only Breaker to reach five yellow cards in 2016, resulting in an automatic one-game suspension. Without that and a broken nose late in the season, and she probably would have played in all 20 games for Boston.
King is one of those rare players in NWSL who has a long history with her club; the way NWSL is structured with respect to salary means there is naturally high roster turnover, with players tending to look towards retirement once they enter their mid- to late twenties. But King is now in her sixth season with Boston, after first playing for the team in 2012 in WPSL Elite, the league that bridged the gap between Women’s Professional Soccer and NWSL.
King also gave a statement via the team press release, including this: “I've had numerous conversations with management and staff over the past month about the future of the Breakers and changes that are in motion. After these conversations and thoughtful consideration, I believe that the organization is committed to doing what it takes to elevate the Breakers to the top of the table, and I'm eager to be a part of that.”
That’s probably not just polite talk supporting the management; the team has come through some rough seasons, and King has spoken earlier with TBM about the ups and downs of 2016 and being the type of player who wanted a striving-for-a-championship mentality even though the team was struggling just not to be last. Making sure that the team really is committed to continuing to dig their way out of the hole is probably a wise step before signing on again potentially for another two years.