The Reign FC Mentality
The mentality of a team is everything.
Like most sports, soccer is both a physical game as much as a mental one. The mindset of a team can be what separates a great team from a championship team.
The 2015 campaign for Reign FC started a little differently than the previous season. After kicking it off with a 5–1 home win over the Western New York Flash, the club suffered back-to-back road losses against the Chicago Red Stars and FC Kansas City. Three games into the season, and Reign FC had already met its loss tally for the entire 2014 season. But head coach Laura Harvey kept her team’s mindset grounded.
“We hate going to Chicago and Kansas. When I saw the schedule, I knew those two games would be difficult,” Harvey said. “From our perspective, it was probably what we needed. When we came back [for 2015], we had that sense of picking up from where we left off… but those defeats have shaped us, especially defensively, to what we look like now.”
Since those two losses, Reign FC has gone 9–1–3, maintaining an unbeaten record at home while dropping just one result on the road. It’s a common cookie cutter answer in sports to say the team is taking it one game at a time, but for Reign FC, that answer isn’t as black and white as it appears.
Rather, Harvey and her squad know first hand what it means to be so close to attaining a goal, and then having it fall away at the sound of a whistle. Reign FC has found a way to remember the end of the 2014 season in a way that drives them forward as 2015 winds down.
“We learned the hardest lesson of all last year about the Shield and how it little it means. The reality is that the prize is in those last two games,” Harvey explained. “We have got to make sure we keep our focus on taking it a game at a time.”
In an effort to do just that, Harvey’s team is constantly looking inward. Whether it be a win, loss, or draw, all eyes fall on what pieces of the performance can be improved upon.
“In the back of our minds, everyday, we want to be better,” Harvey said. “We believe that if we keep striving for that, then we can ultimately reach our aim. We didn’t get that last year, and that’s also in the back of our minds.”
Driving forward, Reign FC is the first team to clinch its post-season trip after defeating the Houston Dash 2–1 on August 12. While there are still quite a few unknowns — such as whether that semi-final match will be played at home or who the opponent is — there are still benefits to knowing the road doesn’t end following the final regular season match on September 5.
“With the playoff spot confirmed, we can really focus on things that will be important for us all the way through till the end of the season.” Harvey said. “Our next target is playing at home in the semi-final, and then the Shield.”
With four matches left before the post-season, Friday’s match in Texas looms large as it could move Seattle one step closer to a home-field advantage in the playoffs. A win on Friday and a Chicago Red Stars loss on Sunday would solidify just that. Two Reign FC wins in the last four matches would secure both a home semi-final match and the Shield, regardless of what other team’s outcomes may be.
“If you can go into the playoffs with a winning mentality, then you’re in a much better position to then go on and win the whole thing,” Harvey noted. “We want to win the lot… We want to go into the playoffs with a winning mentality. If that means we win the Shield by doing that, then great.”
The mentality of this Seattle team is very much about winning, but it’s also about seeking out areas of opportunity to improve. Stemming from a tough end to an otherwise banner year, the collective unit that is Reign FC looks to each performance with the mindset of what can be worked on, all in the name of ending 2015 with a championship narrative.
“Credit to the players. They constantly want to be better. Constantly,” Harvey said. “That is what makes us who we are. And as long as we we keep that attitude, I think we will be successful.”
Reign FC will play its next home match on Wednesday, August 26 against the Boston Breakers. Tickets are still available at ReignFC.com