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Exploring Seattle Reign's 2024 Depth Chart

Looking at who starts and where the Reign have depth heading into the 2024 season.

Last Updated
5 min read
Credit: Vincent Carchietta / USA Today Sports

Another Seattle Reign season kicks off on Sunday, March 17, at Lumen Field. The Reign lost eight players in the offseason while bringing eight new faces into the club. This has left Reign fans with a lot of questions about the team's potential starting lineup and where the rotational depth players fit.

As head coach Laura Harvey said in a press conference this week, the team has focused on bringing in players who are good on the ball, who help the team keep the ball and are comfortable in possession.

“One of the things that we’ve set a tone pretty early is our training environment is competitive and high standard. On the ball, I feel like we are going to be even more demanding of wanting to be better on the ball, which I think in [20]22 it was quoted quite a lot that that wasn’t the way we were successful," Harvey said.

The fundamentals of defending really well will remain the blueprint, of course, but Harvey wants to improve her team's composure when they have the ball.

"I think having the players that we’ve brought in, who are so comfortable in possession, I think trying to find ways where we can keep that hard-to-beat mentality and defensively be really solid but also be really proud of what we can do on the ball. And that may look a little bit different than it was over the past couple of seasons because the people we’ve got on the team are a little bit different.”

A different team with lots of questions heading into the season. What could that team look like? Below are some of our Rovalks team's guesses about what Seattle Reign's depth chart looks like – with the caveat that the team promises to play a slightly different style this year, and there are several players we haven't seen in NWSL action yet. This is going to evolve. That's a guarantee.

Now that we all agree that this is going to be very wrong, and that's OK, let's get to the depth charts.


If the Reign plays in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which Harvey has utilized the last two seasons, this could be how they line up. We've also highlighted the players that might be available behind the potential starters. Welsh internationals Angharad James and Lily Woodham could easily work into the starting lineup. For now, until they've appeared in NWSL matches, we have them behind other potential starters.

Olivia Van der Jagt could easily slide into the midfield role next to Jess Fishlock. In 2023, she and Quinn rotated and sometimes shared starting roles in a double-pivot midfield.

While it might appear that the Reign lack depth in the center forward role, Bethany Balcer could shift over from left wing, and Fishlock and Olivia Athens have both played as withdrawn forwards at times.

Lauren Barnes and Alana Cook may not start in the first match of the season. Cook picked up a knee injury that kept her out of the W Gold Cup with the U.S. women's national team, and Barnes didn't feature in preseason matches against the Costa Rica women's national team or the University of Washington. Julia Lester and Phoebe McClernon can both play in any spot on the backline, which gives the Reign a lot of defensive flexibility.

This preseason, the Reign have experimented with a 3-5-2, 4-4-2 box, and 4-4-2 diamond formations. Here's how the starting lineup could shift in a different formation.

4-4-2 Diamond

The Reign played this formation in the second half against UW, although the players in the roles assigned to Fishlock and Quinn in the graphic were wider, like a 4-3-1-2. The holding midfielder – in this graphic, Angharad James – would drop deeper onto the backline when the Reign are in possession. This would allow the outside backs to push higher and give the team more width.

A formation like this gives the midfield a lot of flexibility to shift roles. You'd expect Fishlock and Ji So-yun to swap a lot in that withdrawn forward role while the other gives cover. This makes runs into the box unpredictable.

4-4-2 Box

The lineup looks very similar in a 4-4-2 box formation, which would allow Fishlock and Ji to work well off each other. This is how they operated against UW in their first preseason match together.

Reign defeat UW women, 2-1, in preseason friendly
Goals from Jess Fishlock and Bethany Balcer secure the win.

If a team plays in a 4-4-2 box, it needs width. Again, one of the holding midfielders will need to drop and serve as a third centerback when the team has the ball, allowing a fullback like Sofia Huerta to get high and wide. Van der Jagt played that role against UW. Nikki Stanton and Quinn both played on the backline with the centerbacks against the Costa Rica women's national team, meaning they could serve in this role as well.

You might also see a player like Lily Woodham or Ryanne Brown at left back, as both players seem to bring more of an attacking mindset to the role. If that happened, McClernon might slot into centerback over Barnes.


The Reign played a mix between a 3-5-2 and 3-4-2-1 against the Costa Rica women's national team. A formation like this gives you extra numbers in the midfield and allows traditional outside backs like Huerta and Brown to contribute higher up the field. Huerta is the best crosser in the league, so getting her into more dangerous crossing spaces wide could be a real benefit for the Reign.

This also allows Balcer and Huitema to both make runs into the box. Both players feel like center forwards, although Balcer has played on the wing frequently for the Reign. Moving into this formation could get her more touches where she's the most dangerous: in front of goal.

Seattle Reign begins its season against the Washington Spirit on Sunday, March 17. The game kicks off at Lumen Field at 3 PM PT and will stream on NWSL+ – a new direct-to-consumer streaming platform. NWSL+ is free and is available on all iOS/Android devices and streaming distributors Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku.

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