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World’s top women’s player moving back to Arsenal

Kim Little will leave Seattle Reign after three highly successful seasons.

Seattle Reign vs. Orlando Pride: Photos Photo Credit - MikeRussellFoto

All good things must come to an end. Seattle Reign FC fans are feeling this in full force today, as the club announced midfielder Kim Little will be returning to Arsenal Ladies FC of the FA Women’s Super League (FAWSL) in England on a multi-year contract.

The move puts Little closer to home in a year where the Scotland women’s national team will be playing in its first major tournament, the UEFA Women’s EURO. It also means that, in 2017, Reign FC will be without two of the three players that made up one of the best midfields in the league for three seasons.

Kim Little lived up to every bit of the hype that accompanied ...

Kim Little lived up to every bit of the hype that accompanied her in Seattle.

Posted by Sounder at Heart on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Little will be leaving Seattle as one of the top-performing players in the NWSL’s relatively short history. Her 33 goals make her the all-time leading goal-scorer in the league’s four seasons, and her 17 assists put her in third. There’s arguably no player that was more important to the Reign’s worst-to-first turnaround in 2014 than Little.

“We had a style of play that we believed in, and in year one I remember very early on in the season thinking ‘if we could get Kim out here it could change this team,’” said coach Laura Harvey. “Bringing someone like her in just changed us from pretenders to a true world-class team.”

In her debut NWSL season, Little helped Seattle set NWSL records for points (54), goals (50), and most wins during a regular season (16). She would go on to win league MVP that season—finishing with 16 goals and 7 assists. This year, she was named BBC’s Women’s Footballer of the Year for her contributions to the Reign and the Scotland national team.

Those who had the honor of watching Little play know she was about more than stats. She makes the game look easy. Whether it was a Cruyff turn to get away from three defenders, a tackle on the defensive end to spring an attack, or her ability to weave a pass through the narrowest of lanes, everything Little did was a pleasure to watch.

“[Seattle] surpassed all my expectations,” said Little. “I came here because I really wanted to play in the United States and be involved in the best league in the world. It definitely surpassed all my expectations in terms of football and life in general as well.”

Little previously played for Arsenal from 2008 to 2013, with all but one of those years under Harvey. During that time, the club won three-straight league titles, one FA Women’s Premiere League title, and two FAWSL titles.

In a blog before the NWSL final last year, Hope Solo said that Little was “the most talented player I have ever played with.” She has certainly played with a lot of world-class players, but it’s hard to argue with Solo.

Reign fans got to see one of the greats. And at just 26 years old, Little still has plenty of time to prove to those who might still not know her name that she is one of the best in the world.

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