The Seattle Reign has been one of the most successful clubs in NWSL the past two seasons. They haven’t lost a home game at Memorial Stadium since they moved to that venue prior to the 2014 NWSL season. They became the first club to repeat as NWSL Shield winners. They have also come up short the last two seasons in the NWSL Final against FC Kansas City, losing 2-1 in 2014 and 1-0 in 2015.
Part of the reason they have been so successful is keeping the core of their team together. Sure, they have added key players here and there, but a majority of the reason is keeping players like Megan Rapinoe, Kim Little and Jess Fishlock among others. The club announced that they re-signed seven of their players from the 2014 and 2015 shield winning squad.
The Reign re-signed defenders Lauren Barnes, Kendall Fletcher and Elli Reed. They also re-signed Keelin Winters, Little, Fishlock and goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer. Per team and league policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Little, the 2014 NWSL MVP and Golden Boot winner had a solid 2015 season as well. She scored ten goals and assisted on a league high seven goals. In her 43 games with the Reign, she has scored 26 goals and is the NWSL’s all-time leading scorer.
Little had this to say; “I’m extremely excited to be returning to Seattle Reign for my third season and I feel so grateful to be a part of such a unique organization for another year. Everything about Seattle and the Reign made me want to come back: the city, the club, the people I also feel that for me to keep developing as a player, the NWSL is the best place for me to be next year. With its continued expansion and development, the league is an exciting thing to be a part of.”
The Reign was also able to lockup Little’s midfield partners in Winters and Fishlock. With these three on the pitch, Seattle has one of the most dangerous midfields in all of NWSL. Fishlock scored seven goals and assisted on two other. Winters added one goal, but she known more for her ability to lock down opposing teams.
Fishlock had this to say; “Returning to Reign FC is a great feeling for me. It’s no secret I love this club and I can’t wait to return and start a new year. There are so many positive factors in returning to Seattle. It’s a place you find extremely difficult to leave, from the club to the people and the city. I would also like a Championship with this team.”
A huge key to Seattle only allowing 21 goals last season was their back four. Re-signing Barnes, Fletcher and Reed will go a long way in making sure the Reign stay tough on defense. Barnes was named to the NWSL Best XI in 2015 and Fletcher to the NWSL Second XI in 2015.
Kopmeyer was a huge reason for the Reign’s success last year. She paid several games for the Reign while starting goalkeeper Hope Solo was away with the United States Women’s national team. She appeared in 11 matches and ended the season with a goals against average of 1.00. She finished the season with seven wins, second best in NWSL. She also helped lead Seattle on an eight game unbeaten streak, going 5-0-3 (win-loss-tie) in that stretch.
Now, if the Reign could find a way to beat Kansas City in the final, they will clearly be the best team in NWSL.