The third installment of the Reign FC Originals series takes a look at defender Elli Reed. While technically that is her position on paper, anyone that's followed the team since 2013 will say wherever she is needed on the field, she'll do it. Her journey started with the overall excitement of the prospects of playing in this brand new league called the NWSL.
“I was hoping to come back and play in the US.”
This is what Elli Reed's sentiments were when she heard a new women's league was starting in the United States. Reed was playing in Germany, for FCR 2001 Duisburg, in 2012 and the early parts of 2013. A graduate of the famous University of Portland Pilots, Reed was really excited to be back in the friendly confines of the Pacific Northwest when it was official that she had signed with Seattle.
“As bad as year one was, it really brought us together.”
New teammates, new coaches, new playing style, it was all exciting to Reed. While the results weren't there on the field, Reed says she never lost faith or thought this wasn't going to work out. "I knew if we stuck with it, that I think something great would come of it." And as we know, the practically night and day transformation came in 2014 where the Seattle Reign FC ran away with the best regular season record, the NWSL Shield, and while short of the NWSL Championship, a lore as one of the greatest club seasons in soccer. Reed started 19 of 22 games for Seattle that season as a key part of an incredibly stingy defense.
“I've learned a lot from her on and off the field.”
No matter which words they use or how they say them, the message is the same among the Reign Originals. Their careers would not be where they are if they didn't have a coach like Laura Harvey. And none of them say that as lip service to the boss. They put their trust in Harvey from the beginning and they are still here, because they want to be. They are certain they can continue to win here. I think of where Reed has played on the field since 2013 and I think goalkeeper is the only position she hasn’t represented for Seattle. Yet if some unusual set of circumstances happened on the field that called on her to put on the gloves, she probably wouldn’t hesitate for a second. None of the founding NWSL clubs can say they have as many returning players from the first year like Seattle has. If that isn't an endorsement for believing in a coach, their system, their teachings, I don't know what is.
The full interview with Reed, conducted at the team's season kickoff party, is below. A team that has not been short of stars since the first year, it might be easy to overlook those that aren't always on the starting eleven week after week. To where it might be a surprise to some that they have been there since day one. It does not mean diminish their value and what they bring to the team.
Whatever is asked of her to do on the field, Elli Reed just goes and does it. The way other Reign players speak of her, they're not just speaking about a teammate, they are speaking of a friend. With new faces on the team already making some very noticeable contributions on the field, you can't help but wonder what an influence someone like Elli Reed as one of the team's veterans is having. This is the mark of a consummate professional.
You want to help the team however you can. Counsel the new faces so they get settled into the fold , so they know they're in the best possible environment to play and maybe reach their full potential. If a star player goes down minutes into the match, you are asked to go in and make sure that rhythm, that game plan doesn't skip a beat. If the opposition is throwing everything and you are asked to go in and provide stability and hold the line. When you are called upon, whatever it is asked of you, you are ready to answer it.
You are Elli Reed, a Reign FC Original.