Japanese Media Reports Kawasumi to Join Reign

Koji Watanabe

The recent IWCC and World Cup champion is reportedly set to join the Reign as their third international player, to fill out an already imposing midfield.

Japanese sports site Sponichi Annex has some details to back up the previous reports (warning: you'll need to be a Japanese speaker or be willing to suffer through Google Translate) that INAC Kobe Leonessa captain and Japanese national team midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi is set to join the Seattle Reign on loan.

The NWSL just enacted a rule change to allow three international signings, which would allow Seattle to join Kawasumi with existing internationals Jess Fishlock and Kim Little in the midfield.

The Reign already have a relationship with Kobe, having met and played the Japanese champions in Seattle's preseason tour last season. And they've already signed Kobe forward Bev Goebel on loan for this year. And both players are playing at a high level, with Kobe having just won the mobCast cup (which is essentially the Club World Cup for women) over Chelsea in December.

Outside of Japan, Kawasumi is probably best known for her performance in the 2011 World Cup for the national team, where she scored two goals in the semifinals to secure the win over Sweden and then played all 120 minutes in the final against the US (which Japan won in penalties). Here's the highlights of that semifinal match, including both of her goals:

If she does join the Reign's crowded midfield (especially with Megan Rapinoe starting the season with the team) I would imagine she'd be given a shot at the right wing position, as Keelin Winters, Fishlock, and Little seem like locks for the middle band of three behind Rapinoe on the left and Sydney Leroux up top. And no, I never tire of writing out that lineup, because it's ridiculous.

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