A day after re-signing seven players, the Seattle Reign announced a new signing: 29-year-old Dutch forward Manon Melis. Melis will be joining the Reign at the start of the 2016 season, pending receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate. With Katrine Veje returning to Europe next year, the Reign had an international spot available.
This has the potential to be a big signing for the Reign. Melis certainly knows how to find the back of the net. She most recently played for Göteborg FC of the Damallsvenskan, the highest division of women's soccer in Sweden. Through two seasons, the Dutch international started in 42 matches —scoring 25 goals.
"Manon is a fantastic talent who will bring something new to our attack next season," said general manager and head coach Laura Harvey. "We're thrilled to have a player with her experience and consistent record of success at the highest levels of club and international football join our club next season."
Melis is the all-time leading scorer for the Netherlands women's national team, with 55 goals in 132 caps (including this cheeky goal against the U.S. in 2013). This year, she helped propel the Netherlands to their first-ever World Cup appearance. The Netherlands knocked out Kim Little and Rachel Corsie's Scotland to earn the final European World Cup spot, and Melis was a big reason the Dutch advanced.
At the World Cup, the Dutch advanced to the Round of 16 before falling 2-1 to Japan. Melis didn't score in the World Cup, but she did tally two assists.
Netherlands are competing with Norway, Switzerland, and Sweden for the final European berth to the 2016 Olympics. Their playoff is in March. Should they qualify, Melis could be out for a good part of the summer.
Melis also played for LdB FC Malmö, now FC Rosengard, scoring 95 goals in 124 appearances. In both 2010 and 2011, she was the league's leading scorer. Melis led the team to three Damallsvenskan league titles in 2010, 2011 and 2013. In her last match with LdB, Melis' goal helped the team secure a spot in Champions League quarterfinals.
The forward also tallied 16 goals in 21 appearances with Linköpings FC for one season between 2012-2013, after a move to Sky Blue FC fell through due to the folding of the Women's Professional Soccer league.
Melis was considering retirement after a somewhat frustrating year—where she "only" scored 9 goals—but Reign fans should be glad that Laura Harvey was able to convince the talented attacker to keep playing for at least one more season.