The 2017 NWSL season kicks off in nine days with Seattle Reign hosting Sky Blue FC for their first season match. Former captain Keelin Winters retired after the 2016 NWSL season, which left head coach Laura Harvey to decide who should fill the position.
Harvey named midfielder Jess Fishlock, who made history in women's soccer this week as she is the first Welsh player among men and women to mark 100 caps, as one of the two co-captains. Fishlock has been with the Reign since 2013 and has spent over 7,000 minutes on the pitch. In her off-season from the Reign she played in her second season in Australia's W-League with Melbourne City FC as she was also an assistant coach.
The second co-captain named is defender Lauren Barnes, who was voted as the 2016 Best Defender of the Year. The UCLA alum also contributed to Seattle's success as they set a new NWSL record by reaching five consecutive shutouts and having a 531 minute shutout streak in their 2016 season.
"I love this club. It’s been my family and pretty much my life for the past five years. I wouldn’t want to be partnered with anyone else but Jess. We’ve grown the last five years together and she’s always been a huge mentor to me. I think it’s going to be so much fun for both of us.”
Looking ahead for their 2017 season, Harvey has put much thought into choosing her co-captains for the 2017 season. She commended Fishlock and Barnes by saying:
"Taking over the captaincy from Keelin [Winters] was always a big job for anyone that was going to do it. At the end of last year when I knew the transition of a lot of different players was happening, the two that always stuck out to me were Lu and Jess. They have the utmost respect for each other and they can get the utmost respect from the group. Their partnership together can be so strong they can push the team onwards and pull the team out of any hole we may find ourselves in.”
With the player changes such as the retirement of Winters and the signing of Larissa Crummer as well as others, Harvey's decision will only benefit the Reign in their future success of the season.