Seattle Reign FC announced Thursday evening that Japanese international Nahomi Kawasumi has re-signed with the team. She'll play her last match with INAC Kobe Leonessa on June 19, and then she'll be headed to Seattle in the next 10 days. Her signing filled the last remaining international spot on the Reign roster.
This is not a drill. This is happening.
Rumors about Naho's return popped up on NWSL Reddit yesterday. With FIFA approving the NWSL to move up their international transfer window, you just had to wonder if Laura Harvey had another ace in her sleeve to break WoSo.
Yes, yes she does.
After a loan spell for the 2014 season that saw her claim 9 goals and 5 assists as an impact player to the juggernaut that we've come to know and love, Naho has spent her time back in Japan. Fans have wondered aloud if/when Naho would be coming back. It was hard to see a return for the 2015 season with it being a World Cup year, and the same could have been said for this season with the Summer Olympics in Rio.
Then Japan didn't qualify for Rio.
It brought up the wishful thinking that maybe she would return to Seattle, and up until yesterday, it was just that. Since then, there's been reports about Kawasumi's club status, highlighted by an announcement on her website that she would be leaving INAC Kobe Leonessa and making her announcement today about where she was going next.
"We are extremely happy to bring Naho back to Seattle," said general manager and coach Laura Harvey. "She was a huge influence on our group when she was a Reign player before and having someone of her quality and experience back with this team is really exciting."
The signing of Japan international Rumi Utsugi came out of nowhere, and the return of a fan favorite/impact player with perhaps the best crosses in the league only confirms that Laura Harvey and the Reign will go all out to get back to the NWSL Championship game and hopefully make third time's the charm and claim the league title.
So get ready Reign fans, a familiar face is coming back and we could again see things like this.
Welcome back Naho.