Another former member of the Sounders Women will be joining the Seattle Reign. Midfielder Keelin Winters is the latest addition after the Reign swapped a first-round pick in the 2014 NWSL draft and "future considerations." Those "future considerations" are rumored to be the rights to forward Amy Rodriguez, who will miss this season as she gives birth to her first child.
"Keelin will add some real experience and quality needed at this level," Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey said in a team release. "Although we have a strong group of midfielders, we felt we needed to add a more defensive-‐minded midfielder to a group of very attacking, creative midfielders and forwards. Getting Keelin onto the team allows us to be creative with our squad and gives us freedom with our formation and system of play."
Winters, who attended the University of Portland, appeared in eight games for the Sounders and scored one goal. She then joined German Bundesliga side 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, appearing in nine matches and scoring a pair of goals.
The 24-year-old was a fixture with United States youth national teams and has been called up to the senior national team, although she has yet to earn her first cap. She also won the WPS Rookie of the Year in 2011 after scoring four goals and collecting two assists.
There are a few interesting aspects to this trade. One is that midfield is not clearly a position of need for the Reign, even without Megan Rapinoe and Teresa Noyola to start the season. The more acute need is at forward where they were already light before it was learned that Rodriguez would be out for the season. On the other hand, most of the current midfielders are offensive-minded, and it might be up to Winters and Canadian Kaylyn Kyle to solidify the midfield and let the attackers work.
A second aspect is that it nominally gives the Reign 4 allocated USWNT players. There had been hints previously that all NWSL trades would have to be like-for-like (a draft pick for a draft pick, an allocated player for an allocated player, etc), which gives fuel to the rumors that Rodriguez will be going back. But for now, Seattle has the rights to 4 allocated US players.
Another aspect is the question of whether a first round pick is worth a rotational US player. There are some women's soccer experts who don't think so:
What a colossally stupid trade for Seattle.— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) March 1, 2013
Congratulations Seattle! You probably just flipped Dunn/Johnston/Hayes into Keelin Winters.— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) March 1, 2013
While a first rounder is a big price to pay, especially if Seattle struggles this year and it turns out to be a top 3 pick, I think that's a little overstated. Winters was the captain of the US U20 team and is already in the rotation for the senior team, which is pretty much the top end of what you can expect from a college player. Which is to say that if she somehow became available in the draft next year, she'd likely be a first rounder anyway.