Seattle Reign FC begin their quest for redemption at home on April 12th, against the Western New York Flash at the Moda Pitch at Memorial Stadium. In 2014, the Reign dominated the regular season finishing in first place and came up just short of hoisting their first championship trophy.
While the Reign dealt Sydney Leroux and will be without Naho Kawasumi, 14 players are returning from last year’s roster. The club also added four players during the offseason.
Amber Brooks– Brooks scored one goal and added two assists in 20 games for the Thorns in 2014. The 24-year-old was acquired by Seattle in exchange for Sydney Leroux and Amanda Frisbie.
Havana Solaun– Selected No. 15 overall, the defender will be an addition to the Seattle’s already stellar backline which conceded only 20 goals, a league best.
Rachel Corsie– The Scottish defender joins Seattle from the Notts County Ladies F.C. of the FA WSL. During her four year stint with Glasgow L.F.C. of the Scottish Women’s Premier League, Corsie made 135 appearances and scored 41 goals. She lead Glasgow to a treble, winning the Scottish Premiere League title, the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup, and the Scottish Women’s Cup in 2009, 2012 and 2013. A veteran defender, Corsie adds versatility and depth to the Reign backline.
Merritt Mathais– Mathais is coming off a championship season for FCKC, where she tallied two assists in 20 games. While her opportunities to score were low in Kansas City behind Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday, Mathais has a fresh opportunity for a Reign side that has lost two primary goal scorers in Naho Kawasumi and Sydney Leroux. The 24-year-old was acquired by Seattle last November, in exchange for Kate Deines and two 2015 draft picks
Katrine Veje– The Danish forward will join the club July 1, after the conclusion of her current contract with Brøndby IF of Denmark’s Elitedivisionen. The forward has earned 65 caps and scored six goals with the Danish National Team.
Sydney Leroux– Leroux had a down year in 2014, yet still scored 5 goals in 19 games. Leroux’s trade shocked many, as she has been hitting her stride with the U.S. Women’s National Team. If Seattle’s poised to win a championship, they must first overcome Leroux’s departure.
Nahomi Kawasumi– Seattle’s biggest loss this offseason, Kawasumi finished second in team scoring and third in assists last season, with 9 goals and 7 assists. The NWSL MVP candidate was also named to the NWSL Best XI in 2014. The Reign will need to replace a goalscorer and playmaker in Kawasumi.
Kate Deines– The defender made 18 appearances last season and started nine games. In November, Deines and two 2015 draft picks were traded to FC Kansas City in exchange for Merritt Mathias. Before her trade to Kansas City, Deines had been with the Reign since signing as a free agent in 2013.
Overview of last season:
Last season, Seattle produced a rousing regular season by posting a league best 16-2-6 record and won the NWSL Shield. The Reign started the season with an NWSL record 16-game unbeaten streak. Despite the regular season success, they weren’t able to defeat Kansas City’s backline and offensive tandem of Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday and lost, 2-1, in the NWSL final.
World Cup Impact:
During the World Cup, Seattle will be without U.S. National team players goalkeeper Hope Solo and forward Megan Rapinoe. Backup keeper Haley Koepmeyer will start in Solo’s absence and performed well last season, recording two shutouts and allowing just two goals in four matches. Forwards Beverley Yanez, Danielle Foxhoven and new addition Merritt Mathais will need to undertake larger offensive roles. With reigning NWSL Golden Boot winner Kim Little still on the roster, Seattle shouldn’t feel too much of a dip when the World Cup begins.