One day after their first off-season move, the trade of Allysha Chapman to Boston, the Houston Dash have announced the signing of center back Bruna Benites. The Brazilian fills the roster and international slot vacated by Ellie Brush, leaving the international slot acquired in the Chapman trade to be filled by another rumored center back.
Bruna joins Houston after a stint with Avaldsnes in the Norweigian Toppserien. At age 31, she is an experienced center back that has made forty-five appearances for the Brazilian women’s national team.
Her national team debut came at the 2012 Summer Olympics. There, despite her lack of international experience, she started every match through Brazil’s 2-0 exit to Japan in the quarterfinal.
She was set to be an important part of Brazil’s 2015 Women’s World Cup squad, but a torn ACL forced her out ahead of the tournament. After sitting out most of the club season, she returned for the Rio Olympics but was not fit enough quickly enough to play a key role.
Her only appearance at the Rio Games came in the final group stage match against South Africa; a match in which she started and captained the side. Her stint with Avaldsnes began following the Olympics.
In adding Bruan to the roster, the Dash gain a tall, mobile center back with strong technical skills and the ability to play the ball out of the back. At nearly six feet, she will be the tallest player on the team and one of the tallest in the league.
Asked what stood out about Bruna that caused the Dash to want to sign her, head coach Randy Waldrum said, “She’s got good height, her mobility is much better than what we’ve had back there centrally. She can cover some ground. She’s clearly really technical with the ball, as you would expect from most of the Brazilians, so I think her helping us in our build up play out of the back is important as well.”
The player comes with the endorsement of Andressa and Poliana, both of whom spoke highly of her ability on the pitch as well as her leadership. With Poliana at right back, it would not be surprising to see Bruna line up on the right side of the center pairing to aid in communication between the two.
The international slot picked up in the Chapman trade remains open with Waldrum indicating that he has already sealed an agreement for another center back to fill it. That agreement will be announced once the league has approved the signing.