Hours before they kicked off against Sky Blue yesterday, the Boston Breakers announced they had signed another international player, this time 28-year-old English forward Natasha Dowie.
Dowie previously played for Breakers head coach Matt Beard at Liverpool Ladies in the FA WSL, where she scored 45 goals in 42 games. Her most recent club affiliation was with Doncaster Rovers Belles. Dowie has also been in and out of the English women’s national team player pool; she has 14 caps and five goals.
This, combined with the signing of French midfielder Ghoutia Karchouni, indicates a strong desire to overcome the team’s rather paltry scoring record this season. Dowie can act as both goalscorer and provider and might end up as counterpart or even flat out replacement for Stephanie McCaffrey.
In the post-game press conference after playing Sky Blue, Beard said he expected Dowie relatively soon.
“Her visa’s been approved, so she’s booked her appointment with the embassy, so once she gets that it’s just a quick turnaround,” Beard said. “We will get a good week’s training in prep to the Orlando [Pride] game.”
Beard also indicated the Dowie signing was not just part of trying to end the 2016 season on a positive note, but could also be about building new strength into the squad for 2017. “We’ve got half an eye on next year, we’ve got half an eye on between now and the end of the season,” he said.
With Karchouni indicated to be arriving early this week, assuming they get medically cleared in time, she and Dowie should have some time to settle into the roster since Boston has a by this weekend and won’t play again until their July 31st game against Orlando. Even if they only manage a half each as they come up to the physical requirements of NWSL, they could be part of the missing piece that helps Boston complete the puzzle, especially as they’ve increased their dangerous chances in front of goal but haven’t managed to find a finisher yet.