Tomorrow at 7 p.m., the Seattle Reign take on the Washington Spirit, a team currently sitting in second after three matches. Saturday's game is at home, it's not supposed to rain, and there are no competing Seattle Sounders or S2 matches.
If those aren't strong enough pulls to get you running toward Memorial Stadium right now, here are 6 additional reasons you should attend a Seattle Reign match.
Last year, the Seattle Reign blew away competition in the regular season, winning the NWSL Shield by 13 points. So, if (no, when) you come to a match, you will get to see one of the best teams in the world. Not in the Northwest. Not in America. The world.
The Reign boast a BBC Women's Footballer of the Year nominee in Kim Little, who can do things like this. Seriously, that first touch is insane.
Reign players also include USWNT stars Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo and team captain Keelin Winters — one of the strongest defensive midfielders in the league. And it doesn't stop there. Welsh Dragon Jess Fishlock is one of the most tenacious, impressive players you will ever have the pleasure of watching. Like her Honey Badger counterpart, Fishlock even knows how to score with a ninja kick.
If you appreciate quality, possession-driven soccer, the Reign — led by Coach Laura Harvey — is the team for you.
Here is the crazy reality: the Reign are not the only team overloaded with talent. The NWSL is arguably the most competitive overall women's soccer league in the world. There are a few star-studded teams in Europe — including Wolfsburg, Frankfurt, and PSG — but there are huge disparities when you compare these teams to the rest of the teams in their leagues.
If you stick around after a Sounders match, you might be one of the fortunate few to score an autograph from one of the players. MIGHT. After Reign matches, nearly every player hangs out on the field to take photos, interact with fans, and sign autographs. Sometimes, players on the opposing team join as well. You won't see more personal access in any other professional sports league. So bring your posters, jerseys, and anything else you want signed.
(Photo by JaneG Photography)
Single-match Reign tickets range from $19 for upper grandstand seats to $32 for seats in the middle of the lower grandstand (the section highlighted in dark blue below). These seats provide close access to all the action on the field. A similar ticket for a Sounders match would set you back around $50 - $80.
The Reign play at Memorial Stadium, which nestles against the Space Needle and the EMP Museum. The location has a ton of perks. First, if you arrive early, you can check out the latest exhibit at the EMP.
There is also pretty decent parking in the area, including a parking garage on the other side of 5th Ave N. If you are up for a 20-minute walk, you can park for free on the weekend and evenings in the spots along Westlake Ave N that parallel Lake Union or on Lower Queen Anne side streets.
If you want to grab some grub or get a beer with friends, Lower Queen Anne has an abundance of great options. We are big fans of Red Papaya and The Masonry. You can also join Reign supporter groups Royal Guard and Fortune's Favourites at New York Pizza & Bar, or head to the Seattle Center Armory just around the corner from the stadium.
(Check out this post from Sevenless last year for more parking, food, and bus ideas.)
When you come to a Seattle Reign match, you will see a lot of families in attendance. There are a number of reasons for that. Aside from a few supporters in the front row, most people sit during the match, providing unobstructed views throughout the game.
The crowd certainly gets energetic at big moments, but the more subdued atmosphere provides fewer distractions so young ones are able to truly soak up and enjoy the game. My 4-year-old nephew and 7-year-old niece had a ton of fun coming to Reign games with me last year (my niece will be joining me again for tomorrow's match).
Reign matches also offer a great opportunity to show young girls what women are capable of accomplishing in athletics. As a shy, unsure girl growing up, I experienced first-hand the power of sports to build strength and confidence.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Women's World Cup final in 1999, when the U.S. defeated China in a shootout. Even from the nosebleed section, sitting about as high in the Rose Bowl as one could get, those 120+ minutes really transformed my love for the game.
The 2015 Women's World Cup kicks off in a month in Canada. It promises the same excitement (and hopefully a similar result) as the previous World Cups, and includes a number of matches just up I-5 in Vancouver. An exciting, in-person match offers one of the best ways to get pumped for the world competition.
So, there you have it. Six of many reasons to attend a Seattle Reign match. Do you have other reasons to share? Leave them in the comments below.
And I hope to see you at Memorial Stadium tomorrow, or sometime in the future.