The Seattle Reign just got a lot more interesting. In what has to be the biggest blockbuster trade in the young history of the NWSL, the Reign acquired Sydney Leroux in exchange for midfielder Kristie Mewis, goalkeeper Michelle Betos and Seattle's first- and second-round picks of the 2015 College Draft.
Leroux, still just 23, scored 11 goals in 19 games for the Boston Breakers last year and has 24 international goals in 43 caps for the United States.
"This will be a big change for me, but one I am really excited about," Leroux said. "I'm looking forward to getting the chance to play for Laura Harvey and be a part of what she's building in Seattle."
The British Colombia native has been playing especially well this offseason. Among her standout performances are a first-half brace in a win over Brazil and four goals against Mexico.
"Sydney Leroux is one of the world's best forwards," Reign coach and GM Laura Harvey said. "She is a young, extraordinary talent with unlimited upside. Sydney will be the consistent goal-scoring threat that we struggled to find last season."
Coming off a season in which they missed the playoffs, the Reign have already made several moves this offseason, including a previous trade that netted them Mewis that cost them the rights to U.S. international Amy Rodriguez.
The trade for Mewis was always a bit of a head-scratcher. She's a very talented player, but left wing is definitely not where Seattle needed help, especially with Megan Rapinoe coming back in the middle of the season. So my guess would be that the Mewis deal was always made as a piece of this move to get Leroux. Harvey hinted at the time that moves were in the works to fill the vacuum at forward.
Betos filled in admirably for Hope Solo in the early season when the US keeper was out with a wrist injury. But as long as Solo is healthy she doesn't really have any prospects for playing time here. Boston split their goalkeeper time between Alyssa Naher and Ashley Phillips, so Betos likely has more of a shot to get a starting job there. I haven't heard yet exactly what picks were sent, but for Leroux I wouldn't be surprised if we effectively sent our entire 2015 draft.
It took a lot of interlocking moves to get here, but in the end we have an attack that consists of Leroux playing in front of Rapinoe (when she's back), Jess Fishlock, and Christine Nairn. And to me that sounds like an attack that's going to score a lot of goals and hopefully put the Reign back in contention for the playoffs next season.