SEATTLE,WA–– (club release) Seattle Reign FC today announced the start of Health Warrior Training Camp, which began at 10:00am PT today at Memorial Stadium in Seattle. At total of 27 players, including unsigned draft picks and non-roster invitees, are expected to participate in pre-season training for the club.
Reign FC returns 15 players, including 10 starters, from the 2015 squad. Reign FC lost three players – defender Stephanie Cox, forward Dani Foxhoven and midfielder Mariah Bullock – to retirement, traded midfielder Amber Brooks to Houston, and waived forward Katrine Veje, allowing her to return to play at home in Denmark.
Following its first week of pre-season training, Reign FC will travel to Portland for a week-long tournament hosted by Portland Thorns FC at Providence Park, which will pit Reign FC against Oregon State University, Houston Dash and the host, Thorns FC. Seattle will wrap up pre-season play with its annual Community Shield Match – a benefit for Seattle Public Schools – against the University of Washington on Saturday, April 9 at Memorial Stadium.
Since completing another successful season which saw Reign FC capture its second consecutive NWSL Shield, the club’s players have been very active in the US and abroad.
Keelin Winters, Haley Kopmeyer, Jess Fishlock, Kendall Fletcher, and Kim Little spent the NWSL offseason in the Australian W-League, the top division of professional women’s soccer in Australia.
Led by Kim Little (10 goals, 5 assists) and Jess Fishlock, (2 goals, 2 assists), Melbourne City completed an undefeated season (12-0-0), capturing the regular season championship and the wining Grand Final with a 4-1 victory over Sydney FC.
Little was named player of the match in the Grand Final, tallying an assist to her countrywoman, Jennifer Beattie, for the opening goal, and scoring the decisive second goal to put Melbourne City up over Sydney FC.
“I think for most players that go down to Australia, it’s a great chance to keep playing,” said Harvey of Reign FC’s players in the W-League. “They can train and manage their time so that they’re not having such a long offseason. I think for Kim and Jess, it was ideal – loads of games, won a championship, probably couldn’t ask for more.”
The United States Women’s National Team was also busy during the NWSL offseason, completing its World Cup Victory Tour, and most recently, hosting the four-team SheBelives Cup, which included four of the world’s five top-ranked clubs: the United States, Germany, France and England. The USWNT prevailed in the tournament, winning all three matches and giving up only one goal during its three games. Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo won the Golden Glove for fewest goals allowed in the tournament. Solo also picked up her 97th shutout for the USA, a record for the team.
With the long NWSL offseason finally at an end, Reign FC’s players return with something to prove, and couldn’t be more excited about the start of pre-season.
“We can say that we want to play great football and win the Shield, and that we want to just win as many games as we can,” said Reign FC midfielder Jess Fishlock. “The reality of it is that we want that championship. I have no doubt that this season is the season. We just want it. We want to win. We want to win the whole damn thing.”
“I think we’re all really, really anxious to get the ball rolling,” said goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer, who spent part of the winter on loan with the Brisbane Roar in Australia. “It was great to get back here early, but it’s going to be nice to finally get going with everything. This team is special. From the top down, they’ve created this great culture. It’s the most competitive group of people you’ll ever meet with really high standards. And this city loves soccer so much, it’s just this perfect storm.”
In addition to the off season activities of the Reign’s returning players, the club added several key players throughout the off-season.
Defender Antonia Göransson comes to the Emerald City from Sweden, where she most recently played with Vittsjö GIK of the Swedish Damallsvenskan. She can play equally well with either foot – Antonia has described her left foot as more powerful, and her right as more accurate.
Manon Melis is a Dutch international forward, with over 100 caps for the Netherlands. From 2007-2015 she scored 124 goals in 166 appearances for her club teams, and 59 goals in 135 appearances for the Netherlands.
The club selected defender Carson Pickett 4th overall in the 2016 NWSL draft from Florida State University. During her time at FSU, Pickett started all 25 games her senior season as a defender, helping the Seminoles reach the College Cup for the fifth consecutive season. She finished her career with 103 appearances, tied for second all-time in school history, and 10th all-time in NCAA history.
“Carson is coming in with the attitude to compete and to start in the XI, which is exactly what we wanted,” said Harvey of the club’s first round selection. “I think for every player coming in there are no guarantees, but in her mind she wants to start. Hopefully she can come in and show everyone how good she is.”
“What I’m really looking forward to is meeting some of the new faces that will be at the club – the rookies and some of the new players,” said Reign FC captain Keelin Winters. “Also, really setting the tone in the first week for a championship season. I think setting that tone will be huge.”
Reign FC will be without midfielder Megan Rapinoe, as she continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered during the USWNT’s celebration tour, following its 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup victory. The 30-year-old has been one of the Reign FC’s most productive players since its inaugural season, scoring 17 goals in 35 appearances.
“I want everyone to know that I’ll be fine, and that I’m currently accepting any recommendations for TV shows to binge watch and great restaurants that deliver in Seattle,” said Rapinoe. “I’m also going to get really good at FIFA 16.”
Reign FC opens the 2016 season against Sky Blue FC at Memorial Stadium on April 17th with kickoff at 4pm. Tickets are available at ReignFC.com/tickets.
The first week of Reign FC Health Warrior Training Camp will be open for media beginning on Tuesday, March 15 at 10:00am PT, with player and coach media availability at approximately 12:00pm PT on Tuesday March 15, Wednesday March 16, and Sunday March 20. Members of the media wishing to attend training are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-735-3141 prior to the session they would like to join. B-roll and photo opportunities will be available upon request. Every Friday a weekly Reign FC training schedule will announce the upcoming training schedule and team availability to media.
2016 Seattle Reign FC Pre-Season Roster
(GK) Hope Solo, Haley Kopmeyer, Lindsey Luke (draft pick), Andi Tostanosky (NRI)
(DEF) Lauren Barnes, Rachel Corsie, Antonia Göransson, Elli Reed, Kendall Fletcher, Carson Pickett (draft pick), Michelle Cruz, Paige Nielsen (draft pick), Kelly Beck (NRI), Morgan Batcheller (NRI)
(MID) Kim Little (NYR), Jessica Fishlock (NYR), Keelin Winters, Havana Solaun, Kathryn Bennett (NRI), Lindsay Elston (NRI), Erica Shelton (NRI)
(FWD) Merritt Mathias, Manon Melis, Megan Rapinoe (NYR), Beverly Yanez, Kiersten Dallstream, Rebecca Candler (NRI)
Non-Roster Invitee (NRI)
Not Yet Reported to Camp (NYR)
About Seattle Reign FC:
Seattle Reign FC is one of ten teams in the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL is the premier women’s professional soccer league in North America, featuring many of the top players from the United States, Canada and around the world. Seattle Reign FC train and host home matches at Memorial Stadium, located in the shadow of the Space Needle on the Seattle Center campus. For more information on the club visit ReignFC.com or call 855-REIGNFC.