After an epic offseason last year that spawned Laura Harvey-themed websites and clothing lines, the 2014 offseason — following an NWSL Shield win and a finals appearance — has been relatively quiet. Until now. In their first major move since losing to Kansas City at home, the Reign have dealt away hometown favorite Kate Deines for KC's hardnosed and versatile midfielder Merritt Mathias.
The 24-year-old Mathias started in that final game for KC after playing 20 games in the regular season for the eventual champions, mostly as a physical box-to-box midfielder. Despite being only 10th on the team in minutes, she was 4th on the team in shots, tied for 2nd in fouls, and tied for 4th in fouls suffered. It's tough to predict how she might line up for the Reign, given the uncertainty around the roster (particularly the internationals) and her versatility. She could be a more physical presence on the wing or a Jess Fishlock-like engine in the middle, or even a forward — a position she excelled at in college before being drafted by KC in 2013.
To get her, Seattle dealt their 2nd and 3rd round draft picks and local legend Kate Deines. Deines was one of the most storied players in UW history (mostly as a forward) before joining the Sounders Women and then the Reign. As a pro she primarily played as a centerback or defensive midfielder, but she found it hard to get minutes. In 2013 she was injured for much of the year, and in 2014 she was behind both Seattle's very daunting midfield trio of Fishlock, Keelin Winters, and Kim Little and behind the solid pair of Lauren Barnes and Kendall Fletcher in defense. Deines is currently on loan to German side Turbine Potsdam, but will join KC in time for next season.
We shouldn't expect a repeat of 2013s roster overhaul, given the relatively successful season last year. But there's no doubt this won't be the last move Harvey makes heading into the 2015 campaign.