Seattle Reign FC and Sky Blue FC have announced a trade that will bring forward Shea Groom to Seattle while midfielder Nahomi "Naho" Kawasumi moves to New Jersey. The move will reunite Groom and Seattle head coach Vlatko Andonovski. Andonovski was the head coach of FC Kansas City from 2013 through 2017 and drafted Groom in 2015. The two spent three years together in Kansas City until FCKC ceased operations, sending Andonovski to Seattle and Groom to Sky Blue.
Kawasumi looks for playing time before the World Cup
One of the driving forces behind the trade was Kawasumi's desire to "maximize her playing time" ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France this summer. Kawasumi played in 14 games for Seattle in 2018 and logged 875 minutes, but she wants to become a bigger part of her new team to solidify her spot on the Japanese national team roster. She played in all 24 games, playing 1,917 minutes, in 2017 under former Seattle head coach Laura Harvey. Kawasumi is especially good at creating chances for her teammates. She had nine assists in 2017 and three in 2018.
Kawasumi has been playing for Japan since 2008, but her playing time has been light since the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The 33-year-old midfielder is hoping to make her third consecutive World Cup. She has made 90 appearances for her country and scored 20 goals.
Groom presents a familiar option for Vladko Andonovksi
Shea Groom has been a productive forward in the NWSL since getting drafted 12th-overall in 2015. In her three years with FC Kansas City, Groom played 54 games, scored 17 goals, and added 8 assists. Her performance dropped off some in 2018 when she scored twice and provided three assists in 21 games while Sky Blue FC had the worst season in NWSL history. Groom will provide some much-needed offensive prowess in Seattle, especially since USWNT forward Megan Rapinoe and English forward Jodie Taylor are both expected to be away with their respective national teams for much of the season. Seattle also traded for forward Darian Jenkins from the North Carolina Courage before the 2019 NWSL College Draft.
Groom, 25, has been selected for training with the United States Women's National Team before, but she has not played in any games for her country.
The National Women's Soccer League preseason starts in early March, and the regular season starts in mid-April.