SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE: NEW SIGNINGS JOIN FAMILIAR FACES AS THE 2016 REIGN FC ROSTER TAKES SHAPE
Thanksgiving week began with a flurry of news on Monday afternoon, as Seattle Reign FC announced the re-signing of seven players from the club’s 2014 and 2015 NWSL shield-winning seasons.
Defenders Lauren Barnes, Kendall Fletcher and Elli Reed, midfielders Jess Fishlock, Keelin Winters and Kim Little, and goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer all re-signed and will return to Seattle for its fourth season in the NWSL, beginning in March of 2016.
“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,” said midfielder Kim Little. “Everything about Seattle made me want to come back: the city, the club, the people.”
Of the seven players re-signed, five were named to the NWSL Best XI or Second XI in 2015.
In addition to the re-signings, Seattle Reign FC confirmed it had exercised its options on forwards Beverly Yanez, Kiersten Dallstream and Merritt Mathias, defender Rachel Corsie, and goalkeeper Caroline Stanley.
Seattle also exercised its option on midfielder Havana Solaun, who was originally acquired by Reign FC in the 2015 NWSL College Draft with the No. 15 pick. Solaun missed the entire 2015 regular season due to a season-ending injury that occurred on April 3 during a pre-season match against the University of Washington. Solaun has been recovering from surgery and is expected to re-join the club for the start of pre-season training in March.
“My recovery is going well. It’s been a long process but I’m excited to finally be training again,” said Solaun. “It’s crazy to think that the 2016 season is right around the corner and I’m looking forward to playing with Reign FC again.”
As expected, Goalkeeper Hope Solo and Forward Megan Rapinoe will both be returning to Seattle Reign FC in 2016. Both players have been very busy this off-season, travelling the country on the USWNT Victory Tour following their FIFA Women’s World Cup win last summer in Canada. On Monday, Hope and Pinoe were named to the USWNT roster for the final four Victory Tour matches, which will take place this December.
Seattle Reign FC kept the Internet buzzing on Tuesday when they surprised the soccer world with the signing of Dutch forward Manon Melis, who is the all-time leading scorer for the Netherlands.
“Manon is a fantastic talent who will bring something new to our attack next season,” said general manager and head coach Laura Harvey. “We’re thrilled to have a player with her experience and consistent record of success join our club next season.”
Melis, 29, most recently played for Göteborg FC of the Swedish Damallsvenskan. Prior to her time with Göteborg FC, Melis played for LdB FC Malmö (now FC Rosengård) where she made 124 appearances with the Swedish side and scored 95 goals. In both 2010 and 2011, Melis was the leading scorer in the Damallsvenskan, winning awards for top footballer and top forward in 2010. Throughout her time with LdB FC Malmö, Melis helped the team to three Damallsvenskan league titles in 2010, 2011 and 2013 and was the top scorer in 2008.
“I’m looking forward to playing for Seattle Reign — it is going to be a big challenge to play in the NWSL,” said Melis.
Seattle Reign FC waited just 24 hours before naming Swedish midfielder Antonia Göransson to their team on Wednesday, as their final move of the week.
“I am very happy to play for Seattle Reign next season. They are an extremely good team with great players in a professional surrounding, where I am looking forward to take the next step in my development,” said Göransson of her signing. “To play in the NWSL will be a new thrilling challenge for me.”
Göransson, 25, made her debut for the Sweden women’s national football team in October 2010 and represented her country at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2012 London Olympics and the 2013 UEFA Women’s Championship.
“Antonia is someone that I have been watching for a while and I think has huge potential to make an impact in this league” said Harvey. “She can play in a variety of positions including left back and midfield which are areas we need to strengthen for the coming season. Her versatility and technical ability are areas that I think will allow her to excel over here.”
There are plenty of opportunities left for Seattle Reign FC to add to their roster when The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) hosts the 2016 NWSL College Draft on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention in Baltimore.
Seattle Reign FC currently owns the No. 4, 25, 30 and 40 overall selections in the draft.