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Report: Houston Dash make Maria Sánchez NWSL’s highest-paid player

Houston Dash forward Maria Sánchez celebrates a goal during the 2023 NWSL season. (Maria Lysaker/USA TODAY Sports)

The Houston Dash have made Maria Sánchez the NWSL’s highest-paid player, the Wall Street Journal and the Equalizer reported Monday.

The 27-year-old forward has signed a three-year deal with a fourth year option worth nearly $1.5 million total, per the reports. It’s the highest-value contract in NWSL history, surpassing Trinity Rodman’s $1.1 million deal over four years with the Washington Spirit.

Sánchez, who first joined Houston on loan from Liga MX in 2021, led the Dash with four goals and four assists in 2023.

“Her left foot is like magic,” Dash general manager Alex Singer told the Wall Street Journal.

In 2023, she played every single regular-season match for the Dash. Sánchez also plays for Mexico women’s national team, having made 64 international appearances. She played her high school soccer in Idaho, where she caught the attention of publications including Sports Illustrated.

“My end goal was to be a professional soccer player,” Sánchez said. “Back then, I didn’t realize how hard my dream actually was.”

She played collegiate soccer at Idaho State and Santa Clara. In 2019, she was drafted by the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars. At the time, she was offered $14,584 a year to play.

“I remember looking at the contract and saying, ‘Wow, this is going to be a struggle,’” she said.

After receiving little playing time in Chicago, she played in Liga MX in 2020 and 2021, and then she joined the Dash. The rest is history.

“We are excited to share the signing of Maria Sanchez, a pivotal player and person on and off of the pitch,” Singer said in a news release. “Maria’s is a difference maker who embodies the ambition our club has – her world class left foot and attacking abilities, her desire to be a champion in Houston, and authentic connection to our community are what makes her a club leader.

“Securing Maria’s long-term future was a priority as we know she will play an important role for the Dash for years to come. Signing Maria to this robust, new deal signifies our commitment to investing in infrastructure and talent on the pitch and direction of our club.”