OL Reign announced at halftime of their match against the San Diego Wave that the club has signed midfielder Kim Little on loan from Arsenal Women. The loan will begin on June 1, 2022, and will run up until the start of Arsenal’s 2022/23 season — giving her roughly three months with the Reign.
Little previously played for the Reign for three seasons (2014-2016). In that time with then-Seattle Reign FC, the midfielder made 63 regular-season appearances, starting in all but one match under head coach Laura Harvey. Little scored 32 goals and had 16 assists in the regular season — leading the Reign in goals in 2014 (16) and 2015 (10). Little was named NWSL MVP in 2014 and helped the Reign earn back-to-back NWSL Shields.
In her last season with the Reign, Little was named BBC’s Women’s Footballer of the Year for her contributions to the Reign and the Scotland national team.
The Scottish midfielder moved back to Arsenal in 2017. There, she’s started 69 of the 73 games she’s played for the club — scoring 27 goals and being named captain. In the 2018-19 season, which saw Little return from an ACL injury, Arsenal won the FA WSL title. At Arsenal, Little has played a range of positions in the midfield, sometimes dropping deep due to injuries and rotation, but often playing as a box-to-box midfielder.
She has been called out by players like Tobin Heath, Steph Catley, and Hope Solo as one of the most talented players they’ve ever had the chance to train and play with. Those who had the honor of watching Little play know she is about more than stats. She makes the game look easy. Whether it’s a Cruyff turn to get away from three defenders, a tackle on the defensive end to spring an attack, or her ability to weave a pass through the narrowest of lanes, Little keeps the ball for her team and makes it look simple in the process.
The 31-year-old is returning to a number of familiar faces in Seattle. She played alongside midfielder Jess Fishlock, defender Lauren Barnes, and forward Megan Rapinoe during all three of her seasons with Seattle.
While Little’s loan spell ends before the NWSL season concludes, she’ll be coming at a key time for the Reign. With a number of international dates in June and July, there will be plenty of disruption in the league. Having a world-class player like Little to help lead the team through the tough summer schedule — as Little has retired from national team play with Scotland — will be a big boost for the club.
“Bringing Kim back to the PNW is huge. Kim will go down in history as one of the best players to ever play in the NWSL, and to have the chance to work with her again is exciting,” said OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey. “I’d like to thank Arsenal for helping make this happen. This is a unique opportunity for us and one that we felt could be a huge impact on our squad in a crazy summer schedule. Kim’s ability and experience will be crucial for us to help continue to push our performances forward and help continue the growth of our young squad.”
Prior to joining the Reign, Little made her first stint with Arsenal (2008-2013), winning five league titles in addition to three FA Cups with the club during that time. Additionally, the international superstar has played for both the Scotland and Great Britain national teams.