Washington Spirit’s Sam Staab ties NWSL Iron Woman record

Sam Staab of Washington Spirit looks on
Sam Staab of Washington Spirit looks on during the NWSL Championship held at Lynn Family Stadium on November 20, 2021 (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

There’s a Secretary of Defense in Washington, D.C., and it isn’t just a position in the United States government. For the third time in her five-year career, Washington Spirit centerback Sam Staab finished the National Women’s Soccer League regular season having played every minute of all 22 matches.

Staab is an elite company. She joins Spirit teammate Amber Brooks and goalkeepers Jane Campbell and Nicole Barnhart as the only four players with three Iron Women seasons.

There’s an asterisk next to the 26-year-old defender’s accomplishment, too. No Iron Women were recorded for the 2020 season, altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Staab was ejected from a match for a red card that was later overturned, then subbed off once in a later game. Save for two unfortunate instances, Staab could realistically be 5-for-5 on Iron Woman seasons.

Her consistency streak began early. In 2019, Staab became the second NWSL rookie to earn Iron Woman honors, after Spirit teammate Megan Oyster. That also means Staab, drafted fourth overall out of Clemson University, started her first professional match and hasn’t missed a start since.

Her 90 consecutive match starts is a league record. The California native passed teammate Brooks’ record of 73 in April.

Break that down even further, and Staab has played 5,370 consecutive regular-season minutes, according to Pro Soccer Wire’s Jason Anderson.

Though the Spirit missed out on the 2023 NWSL playoffs by two spots on the table, Staab had a strong showing this season, with two monthly Best XI honors and noteworthy attacking progression from the back.

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