The 27-year-old joined her World Cup-winning team-mates in the Women’s Super League last month, signing from the North Carolina Courage
Abby Dahlkemper is hoping her United States team-mates Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle will stick around at Manchester City as she prepares for an opportunity with the club that she says she “just couldn’t pass up”.
Dahlkemper signed a two-and-a-half year deal with City in January, making her debut in Sunday’s 4-0 win over West Ham.
It sealed a reunion with two of her international team-mates, whom she won the World Cup with in the summer of 2019, but with Mewis in particular.
Dahlkemper has played with the midfielder for over 10 years now, a spell that dates back to their days at college together.
“She’s one of my best friends so being reunited with her has been awesome,” the 27-year-old told reporters on Monday, facing the press for the first time since her move.
“To be able to see her grow as a person and a player has been really inspiring and we’ve been there for each other through the ups and downs.
“It’s really special to continue this journey together, on and off the field.”
Mewis joined City back in the summer, with Lavelle following her a week later. Mewis has been one of the best players in the Women’s Super League this season and, although the latter has contended with injuries during her stay in England so far, Dahlkemper says both had plenty of positives to tell her when she asked about the club.
“Ultimately, [the move] was 100 per cent up to me, but they said nothing but good things. That definitely helped,” the defender explained.
“I think the difference in the technical and tactical side of the game is just elevated [in England].
“Having world-class facilities and gym access, recovery tools and the field all there is really exciting. You’re able to be a professional footballer and have that be your main focus.
“You’re in your office from 7-2 and that’s your workday. It’s been really cool to experience that – and live in a different country and experience new things.
“Then, the talent of the team is unbelievable. You have top international talent from all these teams so I just know I’m going to get better here. I’m really excited for the opportunity and to get challenged and to grow.”
Her departure is yet another blow for the North Carolina Courage, who won back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2018 and 2019.
The club, coached by Englishman Paul Riley, lost Mewis last summer and recently traded Crystal Dunn, the highest-ranked USWNT player in last year’s Goal 50, to the Portland Thorns.
But Dahlkemper admitted she just couldn’t refuse the opportunity that Man City presented.
“It was really hard to decide to leave. There’s never really a right time for change and change is hard in general,” she said.
“I was just very, very thankful and am very thankful for everything [Riley] has done for my game and for the person he was for me on and off the field.
“It was a very difficult decision but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to grow and learn and experience something different.”
The defender certainly isn’t alone in moving to England this season, with a number of her international team-mates having done so, but her move is unique in that it is for more than a year.
The likes of Alex Morgan and other United States-based players, such as England international Rachel Daly, have already returned across the Atlantic for the new NWSL season, while Mewis and Lavelle are expected to be among those who go back to their home country this summer.
Dahlkemper is hopeful that they will remain beyond the end of the WSL season though.
“I obviously hope that they stay,” she said. “Ultimately, it’s their decision and what they feel is right for their game. That may look different to each individual.
“But I hope they stay. That would be really fun.”