In year two, Seattle Reign FC are looking to put the disappointment of their inaugural season behind them, with a revamped squad that looks equipped to compete for the 2014 NWSL Championship.
Head coach Laura Harvey’s persistence to shake up her roster with trades to improve the quality of her club, has Seattle looking to rebound this season.
Megan Rapinoe is back for the Reign and for the entire season after terminating her contract with Lyon. Fellow U.S. international teammates Stephanie Cox and Hope Solo both return for their first full season in Seattle.
Harvey wasn’t the only one making changes this off season. Owner Bill Predmore made a drastic one himself, moving the club from Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash., to the historic Memorial Stadium in the heart of downtown Seattle.
In what was generally perceived to be the blockbuster trade of the offseason, the Reign acquired U.S. forward Sydney Leroux from the Boston Breakers.
Leroux brings a goal scoring prowess and a speed factor, two things the Reign were lacking at the forward position a season ago. Leroux, who tallied 11 goals for the Breakers last season, will look to increase that mark being accompanied by the skilled playmakers on Seattle’s roster.
Along with Leroux, the Reign’s offense will be key to their overall success going forward, having scored a NWSL second-worst 22 goals last year. Harvey also brought in INAC Kobe Leonessa pair Nahomi Kawasumi and Beverly Goebel on loan, as well as acquiring super sub Danielle Foxhoven from Portland.
Naho and Goebel combined to win the Nadeshiko League in 2013, with Goebel taking home the golden boot. Foxhoven brought energy for the Thorns off the bench and flourished in the starting 11 while Alex Morgan was injured.
Kim Little joins the Reign from Arsenal, where Harvey was her coach from 2010 – 2012. The Scottish-born attacking midfielder made a name for herself during her six-year stint with Arsenal where she helped the Gunners to 11 major trophies, including three FA Women’s Cup titles.
Versatile rookie defender Amanda Frisbie was selected No. 7 overall in the 2014 NWSL Draft. Frisbie joins the Reign’s contingent of former Portland Pilot teammates in Elli Reed, Rapinoe, Foxhoven and Winters.
Seattle’s lone Canadian international, defender Carmelina Moscato, will begin the season sidelined due to an ankle injury.
As for goalkeeping, Hope Solo is back between the sticks for Reign FC, after missing last seasons first eight matches. Haley Kopmeyer also returns as the No. 2 keeper and should see time in goal when Solo is on international duty.
With Harvey’s reassembled roster, Seattle has an opportunity to be one of the elite teams this season possessing enough talent to make a championship run. Reign FC opens their 2014 season at the scenic Memorial Stadium April 13, against the Boston Breakers.