Sinead Farrelly had not played in the NWSL since 2015. But she did not let that slow her down in Saturday’s scrimmage with Gotham FC.
The 33-year-old midfielder scored the opening goal of the club’s 4-0 win against Florida State in its second preseason scrimmage. Farrelly is playing with the club as a non-roster invitee in her first NWSL action since she played for the Portland Thorns in 2015.
Her return comes after she helped spark change across the league. In September 2021, six years after playing her last NWSL match, she went public with her experience of sexual abuse by former Thorns coach Paul Riley. The allegations made by Farrelly and by her former Thorns teammate Mana Shim prompted wider abuse investigations by the NWSL and its players association as well as U.S. Soccer.
She looked at home with Gotham FC against the Seminoles, collecting a cross from captain McCall Zerboni and sending it into the bottom corner of the net.
McCall with the assist + Sinead with the GOAL = Magic ✨ pic.twitter.com/4UjGeBShrz— NJ/NY Gotham FC (@GothamFC) February 25, 2023
McCall with the assist + Sinead with the GOAL = Magic ✨ pic.twitter.com/4UjGeBShrz
After her 2015 season with the Thorns, Farrelly was traded to the Boston Breakers, but she sat out the 2016 season with injuries sustained in a car crash. She announced her retirement after the 2016 season.
“It took me years away from the game to gain the awareness of how power imbalance works and to be able to tell people close to me what happened,” Farrelly told The Athletic.