The NWSL may be an American soccer league, but many of its most talented players come from all over the world. This series takes a look at some of the best internationals in the NWSL, analyzing their role and impact on both their NWSL club and their national team, as well as their overall style of play. This week, we’ll look at English international Natasha Dowie of the Boston Breakers.
Who Is She?
Natasha Dowie is an English striker who currently plays for the Boston Breakers. She came up through the youth system with Watford Ladies, and spent most of her career in England’s domestic leagues before joining the Breakers. Most notably, Dowie spent five years with Everton Ladies, scoring two goals in their first ever FA WSL match. She also spent some time with Liverpool Ladies before eventually finding her way to the NWSL. Dowie comes from a renowned soccer family–her father was the Director of Football for Premier League-side Crystal Palace, and her uncle was a famous striker for teams such as South Hampton and West Ham. As a professional, Dowie finds herself following in the footsteps of her famous family. She became one of the best goalscorers in the FA WSL before moving to the United States.
English National Team
Dowie started playing with the English National Team in her youth and made her senior team debut in 2009. But even when she is at the top of her game, Dowie has struggled to get a consistent role with the English women. She was left off the roster for the 2011 Women’s World Cup, the 2012 Olympics, and the 2013 Women’s EURO, despite being the FA WSL’s leading goalscorer at the time. She pulled together a string of games leading up to the 2015 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers under interim head coach Brent Hills. But when Mark Sampson took over for the Lionesses, Dowie lost her spot on the roster and has not appeared for the English side since. It is unclear whether or not Dowie has a future with the Lionesses. But change is in the air in England, and between her solid play in the NWSL and a new England manager on the horizon, Dowie definitely has a chance to reclaim her spot.
Dowie joined the Boston Breakers in the middle of the 2016 NWSL season. She is one of just three English internationals to play in the NWSL (alongside Rachel Daly of the Houston Dash and Leah Galton of Sky Blue FC). Last season, Dowie made seven starts in seven appearances and scored three goals for the Breakers, bringing a much-needed spark to the Boston side. This season, Dowie has appeared in 22 of Boston’s 23 games and is an integral part of the team’s attack. She has scored five goals and earned two assists, behind only Adriana Leon for the Breakers this season. At the start of the year, Boston came out as one of the stronger teams in the league, but injuries and inconsistency ultimately dashed their playoff hopes. Still, as younger players gain experience and injured players are nursed back to health, a Boston attack featuring Natasha Dowie looks very, very dangerous. Next year’s Breakers season could be very interesting.