The Vlatko Andonovski Era of the Seattle Reign FC is officially under way now that the new Reign FC head coach has completed his first roster move, and it’s a no-brainer.
The club announced today that Japanese international forward Nahomi Kawasumi re-signed with the team for the 2018 season. As per usual NWSL policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A day removed from the new, if not weird NWSL landscape, Reign FC fans should be excited with Naho’s return to the club. Kawasumi became a fan favorite when she joined the club in 2014 on loan from INAC Kobe Leonessa as part of a legendary Reign FC squad that ran roughshod through the league on which she tallied nine goals, five assists, and a spot on the NWSL Best XI that season. Kawasumi took a break from club soccer in 2015 to focus on the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Canada with the Japanese national team. She returned to Seattle halfway through the 2016 season the only way she knew how, scoring a brace against the Boston Breakers.
Seattle exercised their club option on Kawasumi for the 2017 season and - if you already didn’t know - solidified herself as one of the league’s best players. Naho claimed nine assists in 2017, one short of matching Portland Thorns’ Tobin Heath’s single-season record.
Fans will surely remember the historic May 13th game against the Washington Spirit where Naho claimed four assists in that match (a NWSL single-game record) as well as claiming a goal herself in that match, which was also a NWSL single-game record for a player to be involved in five goals.
In the two and a half years Naho has been a Seattle Reign FC player, memorable moments on the field sure haven’t been hard to come by. She scores goals, she sets up goals for others, she is one of the club’s impact players. An impact that has resulted in four NWSL Player of the Week honors, which she shares second place on the all-time list with Sydney Leroux, Sam Kerr, and her fellow Reign squadmate, Megan Rapinoe. Even as we wait for possible changes to come to Seattle under Vlatko’s vision, it would have been hard - if not impossible - to see the new Seattle Reign without Naho. Here’s what coach Andonovski said about Naho in the team’s press release:
“Naho has been successful in this league for several years – her service and technical abilities will always be welcome on our team,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “I think that she will fit in perfectly with our style of play and we’re all very excited to have her back for another season.”
So, fear not, Reign FC fans, Naho’s impact on the field and her awesome blog will be back for another go in Seattle.