For the second year in a row, the Seattle Reign won the NWSL Shield. For the second year in a row, they're advancing to the championship match (with hopes of winning it this time). And for the second year in a row, head coach and GM Laura Harvey was rewarded with the league Coach of the Year award.
After a slow start (by their standards), the team rounded into form by summer and finished the season with a 9 game undefeated streak that put them 10 points clear of second place Chicago in the final standings.
Coach of the year awards are often tilted towards coaches who do 'more with less' and build what were once bad teams to competitiveness, so it's a testament to Harvey's ability and results that even with arguably the best roster in the league, she wont the award this year.
It probably helps that she built that roster. Harvey isn't just the engineer of the week to week results. She's also the engineer of the squad, and her savvy and eye for talent in the free agent market and in trades within the league has resulted in unquestionably the most dangerous top-to-bottom roster in the league.
“Laura connects with the squad first as people – not players. It is an honest, authentic approach that has created deep connections between her and the team,” said Reign FC owner Bill Predmore said in the team release. “Laura has coupled that approach with an incredible understanding of the game and a relentless drive for greatness. It is a unique combination of talent and tenacity that has been incredibly effective on and off the field, and has led directly to this well-deserved honor.”