Soccer-NWSL MVP Fishlock aims to get Welsh flag flying high

FILE PHOTO: Football - England v Wales - 2015 FIFA Womens World Cup Qualifying Group Six - The New Den - 26/10/13 Eniola Aluko - England Women and Jess Fishlock - Wales Women Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston

(Reuters) - With the National Women's Soccer League's (NWSL) top honour secured, MVP Jess Fishlock said there is no greater priority now than to help her Welsh national team reach the World Cup.

The 34-year-old midfielder enjoyed a standout season with OL Reign in the top-flight American soccer league, scoring five goals in 21 starts with four assists to lead Reign to the postseason, where they lost in the semi-finals to the Washington Spirit.

With only a few days of rest, Fishlock, the first Welsh woman to win 100 international caps, arrives back home on Friday.

"I just really want to get to a major tournament with my country more than anything in the world," Fishlock, 34, told Reuters.

"My main priority as of now is can I make one final push with my national team."

With an aggressive style of defence and laser-like passing ability - she recorded 47 key passes for a 76.4% passing accuracy in the NWSL this year - Fishlock brings versatility to a Welsh team facing tough matchups in the group stage this month against Greece and France.

Wales beat Estonia 4-0 last month in front of a record crowd in Cardiff and are two points behind leaders France in their group.

"Everything has been a bit of a blur, not going to lie, over the past couple days but a good blur," said Fishlock, whose MVP announcement overlapped with an impressive draw by the Wales men's team against Belgium that earned them a spot in the playoffs for next year's World Cup in Qatar.

"Everyone was really on a high about Wales and Welsh sport, especially Welsh football," she said. "For me it’s huge, I mean, to be able to kind of fly my flag around wherever I go means the world to me."

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, editing by Ed Osmond)

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