Over the weekend, on a beautiful Pacific Northwest summer day, the Seattle Reign hosted a VIP party for its season-ticket holders. About 100 people were there to watch the Reign practice, participate in a Q&A with Coach Laura Harvey and Owner Bill Predmore, and eat, play and interact with the team.
Here are six things we learned at the event.
1. USWNT is coming to Seattle
We already reported on this, but it's worth mentioning again. The U.S. Women's National Team will face Brazil on October 21 at CenturyLink Field. Tickets go on sale this Friday. If you want early access, put down a $50 deposit on 2016 Reign season tickets, and you'll get a pre-sale code at least 24 hours in advance.
2. Hope Solo was practicing
Hope Solo participated fully in practice, taking hard shots from the team. She looks to be well on the road to recovery from the knee injury she picked up in the World Cup. When Harvey was asked about Hope's status, she said, "She looked pretty good today, didn't she?" Harvey indicated that Solo could play tomorrow. Haley Kopmeyer (knee injury) and Kiersten Dallstream (sprained ankle) were the only two who didn't train in full on Sunday.
3. The Reign are expanding seating
In 2016, both sides of Memorial Stadium will be open. Season tickets are available in the lower grandstand on the South bleachers, and all but four upper grandstand sections on the North side of the stadium. This is promising news for Reign fans. Fingers crossed that the World Cup bump and increased marketing can bring stronger attendance next year.
4. A local TV deal *could* happen
Owner Bill Predmore was asked about the possibility of Reign games appearing on TV in 2016. He said nothing had been confirmed yet, but the club was in conversations with local stations. So, nothing to get excited or sad about quite yet.
5. The league is strong
Predmore was also asked about the state of the league financially. Those who have followed women's soccer know that both previous professional leagues have folded after three years. The NWSL just happens to be finishing up its third year, so fans are rightfully a bit nervous. The good news (as Sevenless points out here) is that attendance is up for 8 of 9 teams this year, and Predmore was quite optimistic that there would be a fourth NWSL season.
6. The Reign know how to party
After the Q&A, the Reign invited fans to hang out with the team. There was food, a bouncy house, bubble soccer (of course), and the chance to challenge your favorite Reign FC player in the dunk tank. Fans didn't hold back! Check out these videos of (in order embedded below) Mariah Bullock, Jess Fishlock, Laura Harvey, and Rachel Corsie getting dunked. Videos courtesy of @SeattleReignFC on Twitter.
Thanks to all our VIPs and season ticket holders for your loyal support And for helping us cool off today ☀️ pic.twitter.com/NjQPx49WQU— Mariah Nogueira (@MariahNogy) August 9, 2015
Seattle Reign FC (@SeattleReignFC) August 9, 2015
It was a special event for a special team — a team that happens to be playing tomorrow at home against the Houston Dash. Remember Carli Lloyd and her World Cup hat-trick? Remember that header save off the line from Meghan Klingenberg? Or the impressive midfield play of Morgan Brian? All three play for the Dash, a team desperate for a win to remain in the playoff hunt.
Limited tickets remain for the match. Snag yours before it is too late.