The signing that we previously reported based on Japanese media reports has been made official, as the team has added Japanese national team midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi (川澄 奈穂美) as their third international player. She joins the team on loan from league and world champions INAC Kobe Leonessa, where she was team captain.
That brings the roster size to 16 signed players (not counting the draft picks) by my count. Kawasumi adds more firepower to an already deep midfield, but with today's news from WNY head coach Aaron Lines that the US national team players are likely to miss 8-9 NWSL games for friendlies, depth will be a valuable commodity — especially for the Reign, who are likely to lose 4 players to US national team duties.
And those won't be the only absences, as all three of their international players are heavily involved with their respective national teams. Kawasumi will almost certainly miss a good chunk of May joining Japan for the Asian Cup, and Kim Little and Jess Fishlock will be busy with Scotland and Wales respectively through UEFA World Cup qualification, which is sprinkled throughout the year. Those absences should provide starting opportunities for players like Danielle Foxhoven and Kate Deines, who otherwise look pretty far back in a daunting midfield depth chart.
This is only the first of five player announcements expected from the team this week — one per day. I'd expect one to be a backup keeper, which is the only completely unfilled position on the team. The others could be signings of draft picks. . or who knows with Laura Harvey! There's probably more wheeling and dealing in store.