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Reigns Abroad: Welcome to the W-League

Offseason loans and international duty saw Reign players disperse across the globe in November, with most of the action taking place in the Land Down Under.

Paul Kane/Getty Images

We're spending the offseason drowning our sorrows in sour beer and fennec fox gifs, but many of our beloved Reign players are as busy as ever. The W-League season kicked off in sunny Australia with Reign loanees sprinkled through the league, a Scottish club had a Champions League run, and qualifying for Euro 2017 has already begun.

Melbourne City FC (Kim Little, Jess Fishlock)

Like Athena leaping fully armed and armored from the forehead of Zeus, Melbourne City began life ready to dominate. The expansion team has won their first four matches by a combined 16-3 — in a stretch that included three road games, a 6-0 opening day win over perennial power Sydney, and a win in the first ever Melbourne derby. Even more impressive, they've done most of it without Little and Fishlock. Both Reign players were away for international duty and were only able to just join the team. Their last match was a 4-2 away win over Kendall Fletcher's Canberra, with Little scoring the final goal. Now that Little and player-coach Fishlock are fully integrated, they're going to be a titanic power in the league. Next up is Adelaide United this weekend.

Western Sydney Wanderers (Keelin Winters)

Winters, who was the Wanderers' leading scorer in the last W League season, got off the mark quickly again this year, scoring in the third minute of their opening match. The Wanderers are, perhaps appropriately, undefeated on the road and have lost both home games. They won their last match on an injury time goal from ex-Reign player Carmelina Moscato. Next up they host bottom of the table Melbourne Victory.

Brisbane Roar (Haley Kopmeyer)

The best backup keeper in NWSL is now between the posts for the Roar, once the domain of Nadine Angerer. They've opened their season with two wins in three games, including an opening day win over defending champions Canberra. After a bye week this week they host Perth in the nationally broadcast match this weekend.

Canberra United (Fletcher)

Seattle's right back returns to the defending champions, though the early season has not gone well for them so far. Canberra has lost two of their opening three games and currently sits second from the bottom of the table. Next up they travel to Newcastle.

Glasgow City FC (Rachel Corsie)

Not all of the club action is in the Southern Hemisphere. Corsie returned to the club where she played for five years to help them close out their fourth consecutive domestic treble and continue their Champions League campaign. They accomplished the first, winning the league by 6 points and winning the Scottish Cup last weekend (highlights here). Unfortunately, in Champions League they ran into powerhouse Chelsea. Despite a promising road leg that saw them only lose 1-0, they were knocked out. Now Corsie returns to the offseason to watch Australian soccer with the rest of us.

Scotland (Little, Corsie)

The Scottish women just missed out on qualifying for the 2015 World Cup, losing out to eventual qualifiers Netherlands in a consolation bracket after finishing second in their group to Sweden. That turned out pretty well for Seattle, who got to hold onto Little and Corsie through the World Cup break, but Scotland is on the rise and now is charging through Euro qualification.

After kicking off the campaign in the midst of the NWSL playoffs with a 3-0 away win over Slovenia (thanks to a Little hat trick), they came home to pound Belarus 7-0 — a match in which, unbelievably, none of the goals were scored by the Machine from Aberdeen. Then they went back on to the road to beat Macedonia 4-1, with Little getting back on the scoresheet and Corsie scoring a brace in the span of two minutes.

The three wins puts them on top of their group, ahead of Iceland by goal differential. Next up they host Macedonia at the end of the month, then take a long break before playing their final four matches during the NWSL season next summer.

Wales (Fishlock)

Qualification has been less kind to Wales, who had to travel to take on Austria and Norway, by far the best two teams in their group. They couldn't manage either upset and the two shutout losses put them on the bottom of Group 8, hoping to make a comeback against the weaker teams in the group. Their end-of-month matches include hosting Kazakhstan and a trip to Israel.

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