OK, Seattle Reign ... who are they?
The Seattle Reign are one of the eight founding members of the National Women's Soccer League, a circuit going into its second year.
Wait, the national what?
Let's just call it the NWSL for now on. But it was a league born out of the ashes of the WPS and WUSA. The United States, Canada and Mexico soccer federations all agreed to fund a set number of players. They started with eight teams last year, then the Houston Dash joined up to make it nine this season.
So what happened to the Sounders Women?
They're still around, playing games at Starfire Sports Complex in the amateur W-League mostly during the summer and wearing the Sounders' uniforms just like they did each of the past two years. Their owners also put in a bid for a NWSL team, but Bill Predmore was ultimately selected to run the Seattle franchise.
Do the Reign have anything to do with the Seattle Sounders then?
No, not really. The ownerships are completely different, but so were the Sounders Women and Sounders FC.
So the Reign are in their second year, how did the first year go?
Not so hot. The Reign opened the season without a win in their first nine games, finished in seventh and missed the playoffs.
Any reason to think this year will be better?
Lots, actually. The Reign totally overhauled their roster, and now have one of the deepest teams in the league. They also got a lot better in terms of top-end talent, adding Sydney Leroux, former Arsenal star Kim Little and Japanese international Nahomi Kawasumi. They'll also have Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe from the very start of the season, something they didn't have last year.
Any other changes worth noting?
The Reign moved from Starfire to Memorial Stadium.
I'm sorry, did you say Memorial Stadium? Like, the one at Seattle Center?
Yes, that's the one. It's probably a bit different than you remember it from your flag-football league, though. The artificial turf is almost brand new and they've painted over the gridiron lines. The stands are still old, but the place has quite a bit of character and the location is pretty much impossible to beat.
When's the season start?
Sunday, actually. The Boston Breakers are in town. Should be fun. Plenty of tickets should still be available.