Huerta celebrates reaching 100 NWSL appearances

The expression “good things come in threes” can certainly be said about the Houston Dash this season.

With her start against Portland Thorns FC on July 24, Houston Dash midfielder Sofia Huerta reached the 100-appearance mark in the National Women’s Soccer League. Huerta became the third Dash player this season to reach 100 NWSL appearances, after defender Amber Brooks started the team’s home opener against Reign FC on April 14 and forward Kealia Ohai featured on June 29, also against the Portland Thorns.

“When I was told I was getting my 100th appearance, I was really excited,” said Huerta on her accomplishment. “I think it’s something you don’t really think about. I’ve been in the league for a long time, and 100 games is something that I’m really proud of.”

“Being in Portland when I got it wasn’t great, but we’ve moved on from that. We got a win last weekend, and hopefully we get a win this weekend when we celebrate.”

Huerta was selected as the 11th overall pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft by the Chicago Red Stars. She began her professional career as a forward for the Red Stars in the absence of Christen Press at the Women’s World Cup.

“It was actually a perfect situation for me,” Huerta said. “When the [U.S.] National Team players left, it was an opportunity for me to show my coach, Rory Dames, that I could still be the player that you go to. It was a good experience.”

Huerta thrived in the role, scoring six goals and adding three assists on her way to being awarded back-to-back NWSL Player of the Week awards for weeks 5 and 6, an NWSL Player of the Month award for May, and being named a finalist for the NWSL Rookie of the Year. She was also named to the Second XI for her performance during the season.

During the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Huerta added another 13 goals and six assists to her total, while shifting positions from forward to midfield. Additionally, her 2017 performance earned her the Second XI award of her career. Huerta began the 2018 season in strong form, being named the NWSL Player of the Month for the month of April after scoring three times and assisting twice.

Huerta was traded to the Houston Dash on June 18, 2018 along with defender Taylor Comeau. Huerta ended her Red Stars career with 74 appearances, scoring 22 goals and assisting 11 times. 

While mid-season trades can have negative impacts on a player, Huerta did not let the trade affect her quick start.

“It was a lot harder than I feel like I made it out to be,” said Huerta on the move. “That being said, Houston made it really easy, because I knew they really wanted me. I was coming from a team where there was a lot of good players and I was always competing for a spot, whereas I came to Houston and it was, “You’re going to be a starter, and we really need you.””

“I think that allowed me and fueled me to really play my best soccer, because I felt a lot of freedom, and that the team was depending on me.”

Despite joining the Dash halfway through the campaign, Huerta maintained her form, scoring five times and providing four assists in twelve matches en route to her third Second XI award.

During the 2019 season, Huerta has featured in 15 matches, scoring three goals and assisting twice.

On the international level, Huerta has the unique experience of having represented two countries. She began her international career with Mexico at the 2012 International Women's Football Tournament of City of São Paulo, scoring a brace in the third-place match against Portugal. After filing a one-time international change in 2017, Huerta joined the United States women’s national team, helping the team to the 2018 SheBelieves Cup title.

While the club will celebrate Huerta’s accomplishment Friday, the main focus will still be on getting three points from a tough Reign FC team. The teams have faced off twice this season, with each team taking a point on April 14 at BBVA Stadium, as well as on June 2 at Cheney Stadium as the sides battled to a 1-1 draw in each matchup. Reign FC will be looking to exact revenge on the Dash, having dropped their first home points to the team in franchise history.

Asked on what the team was looking to get from the match, Huerta was blunt.

“Definitely for a win,” Huerta said about the upcoming match. “I think both times that we’ve played them were very winnable games for us. We’re going to have two games at home against them out of the three, so we should be able to at least get a win.”

“That’s what we’re looking for, and just to keep moving forward and getting points.”

The Houston Dash take on Reign FC Friday at 6:00 pm CT. The game can be broadcasted on ESPNEWS.