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Seattle Reign sign Sofia Huerta through 2027

The NWSL assist leader is staying in the Pacific Northwest.

Last Updated
7 min read
Mike Russell / Sounder at Heart

Sofia Huerta had two big dreams when she was growing up in Boise, Idaho: to become a professional soccer player and to play in a World Cup. After reaching her first dream in 2015, Huerta credits Seattle Reign with helping her achieve the latter dream. She represented the United States in the 2023 Women's World Cup and became the first player from Idaho to feature in the tournament.

"I had a childhood dream to go to a World Cup, and that happened while I was on the Reign. I don't think that that was a coincidence at all. I think that this environment really pushed me to figure out what I really wanted to achieve in my career. I was pushed every day, and that's something I'm grateful forever for."

Having this level of support poured into her is a key reason Huerta signed a three-year extension, which the Reign announced on Thursday and keeps her with the club through 2027. Huerta, now in her fifth year with the Reign, has played in 62 regular-season games since joining the club via a trade with the Houston Dash in 2020.

"I really don't feel like I became a true professional until I came here. And that's something I want to continue being as I finish my career," Huerta told Ride of the Valkyries.

In signing this new contract, the defender is forgoing free agency, which would have given her the choice of any NWSL club for the first time in her career. She admits that option was tempting and she definitely thought about it, but at the end of the day she also doesn't believe the grass is any greener elsewhere.

"I've been here for the last few years, and I've loved every second of it, so why would I want to leave? There are a couple of things that made me want to stay: clicking with the fans, the team, and the organization right away, and feeling supported but challenged as well. Also, what I mentioned about having my dream really supported, going to the World Cup, and just being the best professional I could be."

Another thing that excites Huerta is the opportunities the club will have under its new ownership group. While the sale is still not officially complete, she knows what this new level of investment can mean.

"We've already achieved so much, and I know that they're really going to invest in our group – and what can we accomplish with that kind of investment? I mean, the sky is truly the limit for us, and that's something I definitely want to be a part of."

Huerta also points out that the Reign is a player-first club in every aspect, something that's been part of the club's DNA since its inaugural season. This wasn't something she felt as much in her previous environments.

"The players are really important. Decisions that are made [support] the players and what's best for us in our development and our improvement. And I don't know if it's like that everywhere. You know, it's a business, but here it's really about making the players happy and making sure we're being treated equally and fairly and that we can show up to work being our most authentic selves, and we're going to be supported in that."

The last thing keeping Huerta with the Reign is the team's culture of winning, which is what drew her to the club in the first place.

"The moment I got into the NWSL, the Reign was always a team that I just really paid attention to. Maybe it was the Lime Green jerseys," Huerta joked. "But Seattle has always just been a good team. They've always been a winning team, always played really good soccer."

That tradition has only grown since she transferred to the Reign. The team advanced to the NWSL semifinal in 2021, won the Women's Cup and NWSL Shield in 2022, and made it to the NWSL Championship match last year.

"We are planning to continue to do that. I really believe in the team, and I also think in the reverse. I couldn't be more grateful that they believe in me and want to continue this partnership."

Huerta has been a big part of the Reign's success during this time. She leads all Reign players in assists (12) and chances created (105) since 2021. That's an even more impressive stat considering she spent the last two and a half years playing right back. According to Huerta, the swap from winger to right back was a surprisingly straightforward move. It started with a direct phone conversation with Harvey when she took over as head coach in the summer of 2021.

"She said, 'I think I'm going to move you outside back.' And we were playing Portland that week, and I was like, 'Okay, let's do this.'"

While the sudden move shocked many, Huerta took several steps to prepare for this moment. In 2018, she originally requested a trade from Chicago to join an NWSL club that would play her at outside back, having been told it was her best path to the U.S. women's national team at that time. She thought she'd have that chance at Houston, but she didn't play a single minute at right back – instead getting shifted to the No. 10 position. So, she looked elsewhere.

Sofia Huerta’s trophy dreams
United States full-back Sofia Huerta returns for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the former Sydney FC star reflects on her time Down Under.

"I then went to Australia and played outside back for Sydney. So I felt prepared when Laura told me that she wanted to switch me. I had gotten a handful of games there, and obviously needed to work on some things, but I felt prepared to be there. So that conversation was an easy one. And that adjustment was in some ways easy as well, just because I felt really prepared and I also had such support from the coaching staff and from my team. She believed in me from the start and trusted me to even play against Portland, our huge rival."

Not only did Harvey put Huerta in that position against Portland, but it was in the team's first-ever appearance at Lumen Field – a 2021 doubleheader with the Sounders. The Reign won that game and Huerta put in a solid shift.

"That obviously gave me confidence to know that I can be in that position, and we can win games, and I can be effective."

Huerta would go on to notch six assists that year. Just a year later, she was one of five finalists for NWSL Defender of the Year. A year after that, she was on her way to New Zealand and Australia for the World Cup.

Sofia Huerta's scouting report from her 2022 NWSL season with the Reign

"Sofia’s evolution as a player has been fantastic to watch, and when there’s an obstacle or challenge to be met, she does it with a champion’s mentality," said Reign FC General Manager Lesle Gallimore. "She’s elite in her role on the field and is an empowered leader in the club."

Since being selected 11th overall in the 2015 NWSL Draft by the Chicago Red Stars, Huerta has made 172 regular-season appearances and has played the eighth-most minutes all-time in the NWSL (14,556).

Thanks in large part to her pinpoint crossing ability, the 31-year-old has tallied 31 regular-season assists, tied for the most assists in NWSL history.

As one of the best crossers in the world, Huerta had 78 successful crosses over the last two full seasons, according to FotMob, which is good for an impressive 32.8% accuracy. This would put her in contention with some of the best crossers in England's Premier League. Her crosses have led to 13 headed goals, which as of June 2023 was two more than any other player in the league.

Along with her 31 assists, Huerta has scored 35 goals, making her one of just two players with at least 30 goals and 30 assists in the league.

Having accomplished so much already in her career, what keeps Huerta grounded here in Seattle is community and family. Her parents are still nearby in Boise, her sister lives in the area, and she has a fiancé and two dogs, Daisy and Clover, that make Seattle feel even more like home.

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A post shared by Sofia Christine Huerta (@sofiahuerta)

Daisy came from Hello Pitty Rescue, which Huerta's sister founded and is the nonprofit Huerta selected for the Reign's Players for Purpose program, which donates a portion of a ticket sale to nonprofits selected by players. Clover came from Forgotten Dog Rescue, another local rescue. Both of them are pit bull mixes, which has always been one of her favorite breeds.

"I think dogs are really a creature of their environment, how they were raised. That would be any dog. But when you have a pit bull, they're the sweetest. They really are the nicest dogs and really loyal. My family grew up with pit bulls, so we all just love them so much. So that's another thing. I've got both my children here. I love Seattle so much. I love that I get to stay here and be at the Reign for the next few years. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."