A mainstay since the very inception of Seattle Reign FC will remain in the Pacific North-West as the club announced today that defender Lauren Barnes has resigned with them. As per National Women's Soccer League and team policy, the details of the contract will not be released but many will expect Barnes to be with the Reign for at least one more season.
Andonovski happy to keep Barnes in Seattle
Barnes has been one of the most consistent starters and performers for the Reign since she first signed for the team in 2013. Since then she has gone on to not only be seen us one of the best defenders in the league, her leadership skills have earned her the role of co-captain alongside Jess Fishlock since 2017.
Vladko Andonovski offered a few of his thoughts on the team's official website about retaining the veteran defender's services this season. Andonovski believes that Barnes is one of the "steadiest players in the league" and has always performed as "one of the league's best defenders". Seattle's head coach finished off by declaring he was "excited for the opportunity" to coach Barnes and "hopefully help her add another layer to her game".
Consistency has been associated with Barnes throughout her NWSL career
There are very few players in the league who have been as consistent and available for games as Barnes has been for the Reign. In the 2017 season, she started 21 of her 22 appearances and helped the team post three shoutouts during that season. Considering her previous seasons, 2017 was actually considered a 'down' year for Barnes.
Barnes had been a key component of the Reign teams that finished both 2014 and 2015 at the top of the standings once the regular season had ended and helped the Reign reach two consecutive NWSL Championship finals. Even when the team had failed to make the playoffs, none of that could have been attributed to Barnes performances as she was recognized regularly as one of the top defenders in the game.
Barnes' ability off the ball in terms of marking and interceptions is also supplemented by her set piece ability. She has been known to take free-kick and corners for Seattle here and there, and can pop up with a goal or two if given the chance to take a set piece. That combination of defensive nous and technical ability persuaded Jill Ellis to call Barnes up for the 2016 SheBelieves Cup roster. Barnes did not feature in any of the games for the United States Women's National Team but her call up was a testament to how well she had performed in the NWSL. Seattle will hope that 2017 was an aberration for Barnes and that 2018 will see a return to the norm for the left-footed defender.
Quotes via TheBold.com