The Houston Dash acquired defender Katie Naughton and the 18th overall selection in the 2020 NWSL College Draft through a trade with Chicago Red Stars, the club announced today. The Dash traded forward Kealia Ohai to Chicago in return.
Naughton joins Houston after being a key part of Chicago’s backline throughout their stellar 2019 NWSL season run. The center back was part of Chicago’s 1-0 shutout win over Portland in the semifinals and put in a full 90-minute performance in the NWSL Championship against North Carolina.
“We are delighted to add Katie to the squad. She brings a lot of quality and playoff experience,” said Head Coach James Clarkson. “She will strengthen the team and help us continue to improve”.
The Red Stars posted a 15-9-2 record in the 2019 season and reached their first-ever NWSL final finishing as runners-up. Naughton played a role in 13 of Chicago’s 15 wins and five of the Red Stars’ eight clean sheets. The Illinois native appeared in 22 of 24 regular-season games, starting 19.
Naughton came into NWSL as the 19th overall selection in the 2016 NWSL College Draft after a stellar four-year career at Notre Dame. She captained the Fighting Irish as a sophomore, junior and senior, becoming the first player in school history to serve as a three-year team captain. She was a three-time all-conference selection and was a member of Notre Dame's Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
The defender also represented the United States in international competition at the Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 levels during her youth career, including at the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2014 Concacaf U-20 Championships.
Ohai leaves Houston after six seasons with the Dash in which she made 114 appearances and started 108 times. She owns the club record for goals scored, with 28, and has recorded 16 career assists. Ohai was the second overall pick in the 2014 NWSL Draft and served as the team’s captain for the past three seasons.
“I just want to thank Kealia for her commitment to the Dash and wish her all the best for the future on and off the field,” said Clarkson.
With this transaction, the Dash now have 20 players on their active roster ahead of the 2020 NWSL season. The Dash expect to kick off their 2020 campaign in mid-April. The 2020 schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.