FanPost

Seattle: The Original NWSL Melting Pot

Mike Russelll

Chicago has one. So does FCKC. Western New York has two, currently. Washington, Boston and Sky Blue all have three. Portland has four. Orlando has five. Houston and Seattle are league-leading with six.

I’m talking about non-U.S. and non-Canadian players. Every iteration of the North American women’s pro soccer league that stood on these shores has been built, in part, by talented international players coming in and helping teams with their experiences and world-class play.

A chart below shows just who has been with their current team, and since when.

Player

Country

Year Acquired

Team

Jess Fishlock

Wales

2013

Seattle

Kim Little

Scotland

2014

Seattle

Nahomi Kawasumi

Japan

2014 / 2016

Seattle

Kyah Simon

Australia

2015

Boston

Ellie Brush

Australia

2015

Houston

Andressa

Brazil

2015

Houston

Rachel Corsie

Scotland

2015

Seattle

Samantha Kerr

Australia

2015

Sky Blue

Estefania Banini

Argentina

2015

Washington

Francisca Ordega

Nigeria

2015

Washington

Laura del Rio

Spain

2015

Washington

Eunice Beckmann

Germany

2016

Boston

Louise Schillgard

Sweden

2016

Boston

Amanda DaCosta

Portugal

2016

Chicago

Katie Bowen

New Zealand

2016

FCKC

Poliana

Brazil

2016

Houston

Rachel Daly

England

2016

Houston

Denise O’Sullivan

Ireland

2016

Houston

Lydia Williams

Australia

2016

Houston

Laura Alleway

Australia

2016

Orlando

Steph Catley

Australia

2016

Orlando

Lianne Sanderson

England

2016

Orlando

Leah Fortune

Brazil

2016

Orlando

Monica

Brazil

2016

Orlando

Nadia Nadim

Denmark

2016

Portland

Dagný Brynjarsdóttir

Iceland

2016

Portland

Hayley Raso

Australia

2016

Portland

Amandine Henry

France

2016

Portland

Manon Melis

Neatherlands

2016

Seattle

Rumi Utsugi

Japan

2016

Seattle

Raquel Rodriguez

Costa Rica

2016

Sky Blue

Leah Galton

England

2016

Sky Blue

Abby Erceg

New Zealand

2016

WNY

Alanna Kennedy

Australia

2016

WNY

Only one team has added an international to their roster each season while managing to kept them: the Seattle Reign.

Each team has seen international talent come and go but something about Laura Harvey’s dual role and innate talent as both head coach and general manager has worked in her favor while bringing in players that end up sticking with the program and building year after year. The players that have stuck with Seattle each season are nothing short of world-class talents. In 2013, when the league was brand new, it was Jess Fishlock added to the roster. 2014 saw Kim Little and Nahomi Kawasumi, who is back again this season. In 2015, Harvey added Rachel Corsie. And just this season both Manon Melis and Rumi Utsugi signed with Seattle.

Most teams in the NWSL look at USWNT and CanWNT players to build the core of their roster. Christine Sinclair and Tobin Heath in Portland and Lauren Holiday and Amy Rodriguez in FCKC were two of the most deadly pairings in the NWSL from 2013 onward. But Jess Fishlock and Kim Little’s dominance, starting in 2014 when Little joined the Reign, has been nothing short of magical on the pitch. Harvey bringing those two players together might be one of the greatest moves she’s ever made.

And the biggest takeaway is they have stayed. Kim Little could be making double, maybe triple, of what she’s making in Seattle in Europe. But she stays. And Harvey draws players like Kawasumi back to the team even after a hiatus.

Seattle is having growing pains this season but Harvey has put together a base of highly skilled players that will be going nowhere when Rio comes calling. While Seattle says goodbye to Hope Solo, only to say hello to Haley Kopmeyer, some teams lose three or four major pieces of their puzzle. Harvey knows what she is doing. She’s making moves to try to win now, yes. But she is playing a long game that builds a base of talent that no other team has really been able to touch.

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