If you’ve ever watched the movie Big or had the pleasure of sharing a piano bench with my Grandma Jo, you’ve heard the song “Heart & Soul”, originally composed by Hoagy Carmichael. It’s one of the most popular duets to play on the piano and requires a quality performance from both parties to sound good. For Dorian Bailey, who minored in music at the University of North Carolina and played the piano growing up, she knows how important it is to play the right notes at the right time and she’s a key composer to the sweet symphony of the Washington Spirit.
Bailey is one of a seemingly endless number of young, talented players on the Washington Spirit roster. “It’s exciting to be on the Spirit right now because we are so young and we have the opportunity to grow together,” Bailey told BGN. “It’s been nice to be able to play some games this year so we can all get more NWSL experience. But, everyone on the team wants to be the best player they can be, and I think we have good things ahead of us!”
Obviously, the 8th overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft brings a lot of ability to the table, but one of Dorian’s best attributes is her versatility. She’s played all over the pitch in her soccer career. In both of the club’s two matches in the Fall Series thus far, Bailey has played the full 90 minutes. She’s split those 180+ minutes between left-back and the midfield. “I would say I’m the most comfortable in the midfield, specifically in the #8 role. I like to attack and defend, so I feel like I get the best of both worlds there,” she explained. “I’ve also been playing a lot of outside back the past two years at the Spirit, and I feel more and more comfortable there each time, too.”
“I think my versatility helps my value at the Spirit because I can fill any position where we need a player. Plus, I think it helps me understand the game better because I get to see situations from a forward, midfield, or defensive perspective.”
It’s good that Bailey is comfortable in the midfield because Washington lost two key players there in 2020 as Andi Sullivan suffered a long-term knee injury and Rose Lavelle now plays for Manchester City (with her NWSL rights traded to OL Reign). On the loss of both Sullivan and Lavelle, Dorian said, “We definitely miss Andi and Rose, especially because they were both key midfielders. They have been amazing players and leaders for us and it’s tough to fill their roles on this team. Their absence has prompted other players to step up into leadership roles, and we have a lot of good players on our team that have risen to the challenge.
“One of the biggest adjustments is finding ways to stay organized as a unit without Andi’s communication and presence on the field, but everyone has taken it upon themselves to fill that void in whatever ways they can.”
While she’s a key player in the Capital City, Bailey, a native of Mission Kansas, is happy to weigh in on an age-old question about the area she grew up in. What’s the best BBQ spot in Kansas City, one of the popular barbeque stops in the country? “I love this question! My favorite BBQ place is Kansas City Joe’s (Joe’s Kansas City BBQ), and I usually order the pulled pork sandwich with lots of their original barbeque sauce,” she answered. “You also have to get their sides, though. They have the best fries and red beans and rice ever…even their pickles are amazing.”
Next up on the menu for Bailey and the Spirit will be another Fall Series matchup on Saturday vs. the Chicago. Kickoff is set for 1 PM ET and the match will be live on CBS.