Seattle Reign FC currently sits second in the NWSL with just three matches remaining. Two of those matches are at home this week, and Seattle has a chance to clinch a playoff spot in either of them. Do you know what that means?
It’s time to get your ass to Memorial to watch the Reign.
This year’s team plays some of the most entertaining soccer in the club’s history. With a new coach and a roster full of world-class players, the team is starting to gel across all spots on the field. But if they are going to do what no Reign FC squad has done before — claim that elusive NWSL Championship trophy — the team needs you. They need us all to show up and bring the noise.
Haven’t been to Memorial Stadium to watch Reign FC this season? Or ever? Here’s why you should make plans to attend this week.
Memorial Stadium. A place of soccer history.
Legends played here.
Born in 1974, the Seattle Sounders played their first two seasons at Memorial Stadium — drawing 12,132 for their first home game and attracting a capacity crowd of 13,000 in their debut season. The championship-winning A-League/USL Sounders called Memorial home between 1995 and 2002.
Legends continued to shine even after the Sounders departed Memorial. Kim Little came to America in 2014 to prove herself on the biggest stage. After three seasons in Seattle, she returned to Europe as one of the most decorated NWSL players in its short history. Those who saw Little play at Memorial witnessed the game slowing down around her — every cross, every turn, every perfectly weighted pass was effortless. Throw nine defenders at her? No problem.
Legends still play here.
Megan Rapinoe, who boasts a laundry list of trophies, is in the form of her life and is one of the best women’s soccer players in the world at the moment. That’s not hyperbole. It’s fact. And if you don’t get to witness Pinoe’s magic in person, are you really living?
The swish of a Jodie Taylor goal floating across the endline lives in the stitches of Memorial’s nets. The roar of the crowd bounces off the concrete walls and echoes across the stadium when Jess Fishlock sprints from endline to endline to win the ball then head a cross into goal.
It’s old, but Memorial is a domineering fortress that Seattle Reign FC players are proud to call home. Right now, Seattle Reign FC is 33-6-15 at Memorial Stadium since moving there in 2014. That’s a pretty incredible home record. We can make it even better.
What’s in a home? Family. Foundation. Memories we carry with us for a lifetime.
This team has each other’s back. There might be 11 on the field at any given moment, but every single player is contributing in some way. Whether sub or starter, they are bought into their role on the team. The locker room has been united since Day 1. Despite dealing with injuries to most of Seattle’s starters at some point this season, the team still sits in second place. What’s that, Rapinoe is hurt and Reign FC have to travel south to face their rivals without her? Rumi Utsugi will step up and be the hero for the day — sending a dagger into the hearts of every Thorns fan in attendance.
Memorial Stadium won’t always be home for Reign FC, but it is where they have laid their foundation. It’s where the club grew up. Seattle is one of just nine NWSL teams in the country. We are incredibly lucky to have Reign FC in Seattle. With this great wealth in talent comes great responsibility to help build a foundation for women’s professional soccer in this city for many years to come.
If Seattle soccer fans want the Reign to succeed in the years to come — and believe they deserve a stage larger than Memorial — we need to make sure the foundation is strong enough for them to move on to their next big stage.
There have been plenty of memorable goals, last-second victories, and jaw-dropping saves at Memorial Stadium. Rapinoe hattricks. Playoff wins. International competitions against China’s national team and Arsenal.
Here’s the thing: we ain’t seen nothing yet. There are so many more memories to write for Seattle Reign FC. Envious crowds. Inspiring tifos. Chants that become legendary. Supporters louder than any in the league.
A symphony of soccer that is uniquely Seattle.
If you follow the game of soccer, or football, long enough, you are bound to find a hero or two that inspires you to dream bigger, reach higher, or fall more in love with the beautiful game.
Let me tell you about some of the heroes on this year’s Reign FC squad.
Vlatko Andonovski stepped in as Seattle’s head coach when Laura Harvey departed in the offseason. Andonovski led FC Kansas City to two NWSL titles — besting Seattle in both of those matches. This guy lives and breathes soccer. He sees everything on the field and knows more about the game than anybody I’ve met. He’s taken a team with just nine returning players and turned them into playoff contenders.
Seattle’s backline — anchored by one of the best between the goal posts, Lydia Williams — is the best in the league right now. Reign FC original Lauren Barnes is the only returning starter in defense, and she looks every bit as good as her 2016 NWSL Defender of the Year performance. Alongside her is Megan Oyster, a rising young defender who is at the top of the league in nearly every defensive stat this year.
Australian Steph Catley is one of the best — if not THE best — left backs in the world. She’s got speed and is so talented in the attack, whether that’s quick passes with teammates or a pinpoint cross. Denmark international Theresa Nielsen has been on a tear in recent months at right back. Coming off a career year, where she led Denmark to a EURO championship match, she has stopped some of the best attackers in the league while whipping up and down the right flank.
When healthy, Seattle’s midfield is among the top in the league. Allie Long is a crucial link between Reign FC’s defense and attack. She is one of the cleanest passers in the league.
Rumi Utsugi, despite missing nearly two months of the season, is third in the league in tackles won — partnering with Long and allowing our legendary Welsh Dragon Jess Fishlock to play higher up the field.
We’ve already talked about Megan Rapinoe. She’s putting in another MVP-caliber season, scoring seven goals and assisting on five others in just 15 matches played. Jodie Taylor, Golden Boot winner in the 2017 UEFA EURO competition, plays center forward in a way no other Reign FC striker has played. Her movement off the ball opens up so much space for her teammates — and gets her in great goal-scoring positions. She’s a threat even when she’s not putting the ball in the back of the net.
Ghanaian midfielder Elizabeth Addo — given the nickname Ama Pele as a kid — weaves through three defenders with ease. Jasmyne Spencer brings spunk and energy into the attack. Bev Yanez — the Sunshine Assassin — is one of the hardest working players in the league. The list goes on and on — each player a hero at one point or another this season.
In the most competitive women’s professional soccer league in the world, Seattle Reign FC has enough talent to field its own World Cup squad.
You + Memorial
On Saturday, August 25, they go up against the North Carolina Courage, the best team in the league that has just one loss this season. That match kicks off a 1 PM PT, and Seattle has a chance to secure second place in the standings with a win, which would give the team a home semifinal match in three weeks.
These are the final two home matches of the regular season for Reign FC. Help send these legends to the playoffs with a mountain of supporters around them.
See you at Memorial?