Seattle Reign FC
The Seattle Reign FC is an American professional women's soccer team based in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 2012, the team was one of eight inaugural members of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). Laura Harvey was the first head coach and led the team to two consecutive NWSL Shield wins in 2014 and 2015. Vlatko Andonovski, who won two consecutive NWSL Championships with FC Kansas City over the Reign, is the current head coach.
|Full name||Seattle Reign FC|
|Stadium||UW Medicine Pitch at Memorial Stadium|
|Owners||Bill and Teresa Predmore|
|Head coach||Vlatko Andonovski|
|League||National Women's Soccer League|
In November 2012, it was confirmed that a Seattle-based women's professional soccer team owned by Bill Predmore (founder and CEO of Seattle-based digital marketing agency, POP) had been accepted into a new women's professional soccer league, later named National Women's Soccer League. Former general manager of the Seattle Sounders Women and Seattle Sounders FC Director of Youth Programs, Amy Carnell, was named general manager.
Team name, crest, and colors unveiledEdit
On December 19, 2012, the name and logo was unveiled as Seattle Reign FC. The team's colors were announced as white, platinum, royal blue and midnight black. The name was selected in part as homage to the first professional women's sports team in Seattle, Seattle Reign, a defunct professional basketball team in the American Basketball League (ABL). That team was in turn named after its location in King County, and as a pun alluding to Seattle's rainy climate.
Owner, Bill Predmore stated, "Today's announcement is the result of a thoughtful process to identify the name that best represents the values of our club, articulates our long-term ambitions and celebrates the community within which our supporters live. Reign FC meets all of those objectives and at the same time honors the legacy of professional women's sports in Seattle. Like the Seattle Sounders, whose fans selected a name that honored those who pioneered the sport of soccer in Seattle in the early 1970s, Seattle Reign FC was, in part, selected to pay homage those visionaries – the leaders and players of the Seattle Reign women's basketball team – who pioneered professional women's sports in Seattle."
On December 21, 2012, the team announced Laura Harvey as their first head coach. Harvey was head coach of Arsenal L.F.C. from 2010-2012 after serving as an assistant for two years, assisted and then coached Birmingham City L.F.C. from 2002-2008, and served as an assistant coach for England's U-17, U-19 and U-23 women's national teams from 2005-2011.
On January 11, 2013, as part of the NWSL Player Allocation, Kaylyn Kyle (CAN), Teresa Noyola (MEX), Megan Rapinoe (USA), Amy Rodriguez (USA), Jenny Ruiz (MEX), Hope Solo (USA), and Emily Zurrer (CAN) were named to the Seattle team. On January 18, the Reign selected Christine Nairn, Mallory Schaffer, Kristen Meier, and Haley Kopmeyer at the 2013 NWSL College Draft. On February 4, 2013, it was announced that the team had signed four free agents: Kate Deines, Jessica Fishlock, Tiffany Cameron, and Lindsay Taylor. During the February 7, 2013 NWSL Supplemental Draft, the team selected Nikki Krzysik, Lauren Barnes, Laura Heyboer, Liz Bogus, Michelle Betos and Kaley Fountain.
Leading into the preseason, it was learned that the Reign would be without all of their U.S. national team allocated players for almost half of the season. National team forward, Amy Rodriguez, announced she was pregnant with her first child and would not be playing during the inaugural season. U.S. national team goalkeeper, Hope Solo, would be away for the first part of the season after recovering from wrist surgery and Megan Rapinoe had signed with French side, Olympique Lyonnais, from January to June and would miss at least nine games. After traveling to Japan in the preseason to play matches against defending L. League champion INAC Kobe Leonessa, Fukuoka J. Anclas, and Nojima Stella Kanagawa, the Reign faced their first regular season match against the Chicago Red Stars at Benedictine University, in which Seattle's first college draft pick, Christine Nairn, scored the Reign's first goal of the season via a header off an assist from Liz Bogus. The Red Stars later tied the game 1-1, but the point that Seattle earned in the game would be its only for the next nine games. Without the U.S. national team players or a veteran goalscorer up front, the team struggled to win games. Although the losses were for the most part consistently low-scoring games, it was apparent that the Reign was missing some final ingredients for success.
In June 2013, head coach Laura Harvey began making some trades and signing new international players. With the trades and the return of U.S. national team players, Solo and Rapinoe, the Reign began to turn the season around with a 1-1 tie against the Western New York Flash. The game would be the first of a six-game undefeated streak for the Reign with two ties and four wins. After losing to regional rival, Portland Thorns FC, 2-1 in the season finale in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,855, the Reign ended the 2013 NWSL season seventh in the league with a 5-14-3 record.
During the 2014 season, the Reign set a league record unbeaten streak of 16 games. During the 16 game stretch, the Reign compiled a 13-0-3 record. The streak came to an end July 12, 2014 in a match against the Chicago Red Stars that ended 1-0 in favor of the Red Stars. The team finished first in the regular season clinching the NWSL Shield for the first time. After defeating the Washington Spirit 2-1 in the playoff semi-finals, the Reign were defeated 2-1 by FC Kansas City during the championship final. Following the regular season, the team earned several league awards. Kim Little won the Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player awards; Laura Harvey was named Coach of the Year; Kendall Fletcher, Jess Fishlock, Little and Nahomi Kawasumi were named to the NWSL Best XI team while goalkeeper Hope Solo and defenders Lauren Barnes and Stephanie Cox were named to the Second XI team.
The Reign finished the 2015 season in first place clinching the NWSL Shield for the second consecutive time. After defeating the Washington Spirit 3-0 in a playoff semi-final, the Reign were defeated 1-0 by FC Kansas City during the championship final in Portland. Following the regular season, the team earned several league award nominations. Kim Little, Jess Fishlock, and Beverly Yanez were nominated for league Most Valuable Player, Laura Harvey was nominated for Coach of the Year; and Lauren Barnes and Kendall Fletcher were nominated for Defender of the Year.
Laura Harvey was ultimately named Coach of the Year for a second consecutive year. Barnes, Little, Yanez, and Fishlock were named to the NWSL Best XI team while Kendall Fletcher, Stephanie Cox, Megan Rapinoe, and Keelin Winters were named to the Second XI team.
The Reign finished the 2016 season in fifth place with a 8–6–8 record, narrowly missing a playoff spot by two points. The season was complicated by a number of players being unavailable during the early part of the season due to injury including Manon Melis, Jess Fishlock and Megan Rapinoe. In early July, Nahomi Kawasumi returned to the Reign for the first time since the 2014 season and scored a brace in her first match with the club. Rachel Corsie and Haley Kopmeyer suffered injuries during a match in July against the Western New York Flash that was controversially played on a baseball field. Schedule changes from previous years were announced in February that resulted in an imbalance amongst team matchups.
In late August, the Reign announced that Hope Solo was taking a leave of absence for the remainder of the season after being suspended from the U.S. national team. In September, four-year team captain Keelin Winters announced her retirement for the end of the season. On October 17, midfielder Kim Little announced that she would leave the Reign and return to Arsenal L.F.C. Harvey said Little was given an "incredible offer" of a multi-year contract, though no other details were disclosed.
In April 2013, Moda Health was announced as the team's jersey sponsor. The company remained the jersey sponsor for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. In 2016, Microsoft was named as the new jersey sponsor and "presenting partner". The team also uses Microsoft technology on and off the pitch as part of the partnership.
|Season||NWSL regular season||Position||NWSL
|Avg. Attendance||Highest Attendance||Total Attendance|
|2013||22||5||14||3||22||36||18||7th||Did not qualify||2,306||3,855||25,365 (11 regular season home games)|
|2014||24||16||2||6||50||20||54||Shield||Runner-up||3,632||5,957||43,581 (12 regular season home games)|
|2015||20||13||3||4||41||21||43||Shield||Runner-up||4,060||6,303||40,595 (10 regular season home games)|
|2016||20||8||6||6||29||21||30||5th||Did not qualify||4,602||5,888||46,018 (10 regular season home games)|
|2017||24||9||8||7||43||37||34||5th||Did not qualify||4,037||6,041||48,449 (12 regular season home games)|
During the inaugural season of the NWSL, Reign FC played at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington. The stadium is located approximately 12 miles from downtown Seattle and is the training facility for Seattle Sounders FC, as well as where the Sounders play their U.S. Open Cup matches. With a seating capacity for 4,500 spectators, the stadium also features a press box with full scoreboard and sound system capabilities. The pitch features FieldTurf.
In February 2014, it was announced that the team would be moving to Memorial Stadium, located at the Seattle Center, for at least the 2014 and 2015 seasons; the Reign chose to remain there beyond the originally intended two seasons. The stadium features an artificial turf pitch that was installed in 2013 and a seating capacity of 12,000 spectators, although seating capacity was set at 6,000 for the beginning of the 2014 season. The stadium was the previous home of the Seattle Sounders from 1974-1975 when the team played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) and from 1995 to 2002 when the new incarnation of the team played in the A-League.
In late 2017, the team's future in Seattle beyond 2018 was seen as uncertain due to issues with Memorial Stadium. The facility does not meet league standards for playing surfaces set to be enforced in 2019. Additionally, the stadium is owned by the Seattle School District, which has announced plans to build a new high school in that area of the city, with the stadium being the most likely site. The Reign were seen by national soccer media as lacking viable options for a replacement—other possible venues in the region are problematic due to size, location, or ancillary facilities.
The first supporters group that was formed for the Reign is the Royal Guard. Founded by Matt Banks and Kiana Coleman in April 2013, the group became the first fully professional women's supporters group in Washington state's history. Other supporters groups for the team have included: Fortune's Favourites and Queen Anne Collective.
Like the Seattle Sounders FC rivalry with the Portland Timbers, the Reign has a long-standing regional rivalry with Portland Thorns FC. In May 2015, a match between the two teams in Portland set a new attendance record with 21,144 fans cheering in the stadium.
After losing twice to FC Kansas City during the NWSL championship final in 2014 and 2015 despite winning first place in the league, the Reign also considered FC Kansas City to be a rival. However, Kansas City folded after the 2017 season, with their head coach Vlatko Andonovski joining the Reign.
Ownership and team managementEdit
Reign FC is owned by Bill and Teresa Predmore. Bill Predmore is the CEO of POP, a Seattle-based digital marketing agency. Prior to the start of the first season, Predmore stated, "Ultimately, my goal is to build the best women's club in the world. That won't happen tomorrow or this year, but in 10 years or 20 years that's where we want to be." Predmore's wife, Teresa, played college soccer at Oregon State University and soccer is one of her lifelong passions.
Leading up to the inaugural season of the NWSL, Amy Carnell was named general manager for the team. Within a week of regular season play, Carnell resigned from her position citing "personal reasons" and head coach Laura Harvey assumed the role - a setup similar to what she was used to as coach of the Arsenal L.F.C. in England.
Following the 2017 season, Laura Harvey resigned as general manager and head coach of the club, and Vlatko Andonovski was hired from FC Kansas City as the new head coach. Andonovski and Harvey had been the two most successful coaches in NWSL history, with three Coach of the Year awards and four trophies between them, and Andonovski was the only replacement Harvey endorsed. Andonovski further complimented Harvey's positive impacts and committed to continue playing a "beautiful game" with the Reign.
Beginning from the 2018 season, Force 10 Sports Management, LLC, manages the club's ticket sales and services. Force 10 Sports Management owns and operates the Seattle Storm, a standalone professional women's basketball team in the WNBA, much like the Reign.
From 2013–2016, Seattle Reign games were streamed live by Bootstrapper Studios via YouTube. The broadcasts were called by KOMO News Radio Sports Director, Tom Glasgow, with color commentary provided by Lesle Gallimore, head coach of the Washington Huskies. During the 2013 season, a select number of league games were broadcast on Fox Sports. During the 2014 season, several league games were broadcast by ESPN.
In March 2015, the team became one of the first sports teams to use the newly released app Periscope to stream a preseason friendly against the Portland Pilots. In 2015, six select regular season games and the playoff matches were broadcast by Fox Soccer. The playoff final featuring Reign FC and FC Kansas City set what was then a league record, averaging 167,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1 – an increase of 7 percent compared to the 2014 final broadcast on ESPN2. That record stood until the 2016 NWSL finals between Western New York and Washington, which averaged more than 180,000 viewers.
As of 2017, Seattle Reign games are streamed exclusively by Go90 for American audiences and via the NWSL website for international viewers. As part of a three-year agreement with A&E Networks, Lifetime broadcasts one NWSL Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons. For the 2017 season, the Reign were featured in nationally televised Lifetime NWSL Game of the Week broadcasts on May 27, July 8, August 26, and September 9, 2017. During the 2018 season, Lifetime match broadcasts featuring Seattle include May 5, July 21, and August 11, 2018.
Players and staffEdit
Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of June 13, 2018.
- As of February 19, 2018
|Owners||Bill and Teresa Predmore|
|Head coach||Vlatko Andonovski|
|Assistant coach||Sam Laity|
|Assistant coach||Milan Ivanovic|
|Director of high performance||Nick Leman|
|Head athletic trainer||David Beauchene|
- Statistics include only NWSL regular season matches and are updated once a year after the conclusion of each NWSL season. Current players in bold.
- As of November 8, 2017
|T10||Nahomi Kawasumi||2014, 2016–||54||18|
|5||Nahomi Kawasumi||2014, 2016–||54||18|
Top scorers by seasonEdit
|Years as captain||Player||Tenure||Apps.||Goals|
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