Houston Dash fans might not know her very well yet, but Megan Oyster is no stranger to the National Women’s Soccer League. Drafted 13th overall in the 2015 NWSL Draft, the defender has played for three different clubs before joining the Houston Dash. From assisting a goal in the 2016 NWSL Championship for the Washington Spirit to starting all 41 matches she played for Reign FC, now OL Reign, Oyster has become a veteran defender in the league.
However, her excellence began way before the 2015 NWSL Draft. Oyster spent her collegiate years playing alongside the likes of other big name NWSL players such as Sam Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper and Sarah Killion (now Woldmoe), to name a few.
“I think my parents wanted a full ride scholarship and those types of things, and UCLA didn’t offer that,” Oyster explained to Keeper Notes’ Jen Cooper on the City of Soccer podcast. “but they offered so much more.”
The summer before she started her collegiate career, the Illinois native played for the Chicago Red Stars reserves. Their first team was, at the time, playing in the Women’s Professional Soccer league. The experience gave Oyster insight for the first time of what college soccer and perhaps a professional career would be like. However, a few months after Oyster’s first season with UCLA, the league folded.
Oyster said, “We didn’t have a professional league to look up to my first couple of years at UCLA. I kept growing as a player and person [at UCLA] and the league came back, it just became more real and something more to work towards.”
In 2013, women’s professional soccer made its comeback, this time in the form of the National Women’s Soccer league. Later that year, Oyster and company led UCLA women’s soccer to their first-ever NCAA Championship under new head coach Amanda Cromwell.
The defender finished off her collegiate career with two strong seasons for the Bruins, but she was still unsure on whether or not she was going to be drafted. She entered her name regardless, hopeful she’d be one of only 34 players drafted for the 2015 NWSL season.
“I played on the same team as those phenomenal players that got drafted (number) 2, 3, 4, but I wasn’t sure,” Oyster said, referring to her three teammates who were amongst the first to be drafted. “Amanda and the assistant coach, Josh Walters, called me and said you better go to Philadelphia, you’re going to get drafted. We think you’re going to Washington Spirit.”
Come draft day, Oyster was one of six UCLA seniors to be drafted. The number still stands today as an NWSL record for the most draft picks from one school. Selected number 13 overall, Oyster was drafted to the Washington Spirit along with her UCLA teammate, Caprice Dydasco, who was selected later on in the draft. In her second season, the defender helped the Spirit make it all the way to the NWSL Championship in 2016, which was played here in Houston at BBVA Stadium. Shortly after the end of season, Oyster was then traded to the Boston Breakers.
It was during Oyster’s time at the Breakers that she received a call up for the U.S. Women’s National Team for a pair of friendlies against Russia. She appeared in both matches as a substitute, earning her first cap in Frisco, Texas at Toyota Stadium and then her second in Houston, again at BBVA Stadium.
Thinking back to the initial call from head coach Jill Ellis, Oyster said, “I think everyone in this league at some point just hopes that that happens. I was just – hearing Jill’s voice and just getting that phone call – I mean, I can’t even put it into words.”
Coming off her national team experience, Oyster made an appearance in all but one game for the Breakers in 2017. Unfortunately, just weeks before the 2018 preseason the club folded, which put all their players in a Dispersal Draft. Once again, Oyster was on the move. This time, she was selected by Seattle Reign FC with two weeks before preseason to pack her things and move all the way across the country.
“We had really no idea that this was going to happen in the offseason,” Oyster explained. “But for me to get picked up for such an amazing club, the Reign, the history of the Reign and the players on that team and to only have heard good things about Vlatko [Andonvoski]…I was super excited.”
Oyster played for Andonovski, now head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team, for two seasons. In that time, Oyster played every match she was available for the Reign, making the playoffs both seasons she was with them. Shortly after the end of the 2019 season, Andonovski was appointed to the national team by U.S. Soccer. A few months later, Reign switched ownership to Olympique Lyon, bringing in even more change. Not too long after, the defender received the call that she was traded to the Houston Dash.
“It was an unexpected call, kind of in shock, but to hear that I was going to Houston, I was excited,” Oyster told Jen Cooper with a smile during the City of Soccer interview. “To go to an environment that was building off something and had an exciting end to their season, I was excited.”
Oyster, however, is not a complete stranger to this team. She re-joins two of her teammates from the 2016 NWSL Championship, midfielder Christine Nairn and forward Katie Stengel. The soccer world is small, and Oyster is pleased to have familiar faces on her new team, mentioning in the podcast, “To know that those two were on the team was a breath of fresh air. I still continue to joke the same way we did with the Spirit.”
Although she’s only been through one week of preseason, it’s safe to say that the defender feels comfortable at her new club.
“Our meetings are organized, communication is great and the facility is awesome. It’s really been great and unexpected,” Oyster said. “I’m very thankful to be here.”
Oyster is ready to reach another championship in her career, and she looks to do so with the Houston Dash. With plenty of experience in her pocket, Oyster is poised to contribute to her new team in whatever way she’s needed.