Laura Harvey does it again.
Seattle Reign FC has acquired the rights to midfielder Christine Nairn and goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel from the Washington Spirit. In exchange, the Spirit will get the rights to midfielder Havana Solaun and the 3rd and 36th overall picks in the 2017 NWSL College Draft. The Reign will also give up its second-round pick in the 2018 draft.
Nairn, 26, began her professional career with the Reign after being selected 7th overall in the 2013 draft. During Seattle’s inaugural season, Nairn was a bright spot in the team’s struggling offense. She led the Reign with five assists and scored three goals, including the club’s first ever NWSL goal — a diving header on a cross.
“I'm excited for Christine's return to the club,” said head coach Laura Harvey. “We felt it was the right time for Christine to come back to the club as we work towards achieving our ultimate goal. She played a key role in Washington’s success over the past three seasons and believe she can make a similar impact for our club.”
Nairn was traded ahead of the 2014 season to the Washington Spirit in exchange for Kim Little’s rights. With Washington, Nairn made 67 appearances — scoring 14 goals and notching 10 assists over her three seasons with the Spirit.
“I am very excited to come back to Seattle for the upcoming season,” said Nairn. “It has been one of the best organizations in the NWSL since day one. In my first year, I made such great relationships with everyone involved, so it makes it a very easy decision to return.”
Nairn — currently playing with Melbourne Victory in Australia’s W-League — plays as both a holding midfielder and more of a box-to-box playmaker. She’s received a few U.S. Women’s National Team call-ups, but hasn’t broken through yet. Nairn is also lethal on set pieces, and has a dangerous shot from distance.
The Washington Post’s Steve Goff noted today that Nairn, like many other Spirit players, was ready to leave the club. He references an end-of-year team meeting that turned sour, and said Crystal Dunn could leave as well.
Nairn, like several other players, wanted out. End of season team meeting went sour. Bad situation, despite run to final #nwsl— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) November 10, 2016
Schiffel, who has represented the United States at the U-20 and U-23 levels, was selected 34th overall by Washington in the 2016 NWSL College Draft. She elected to play the 2016 season with Avaldsnes IL in the Norwegian Toppserien, where she played 22 matches to help the team earn second place.
Losing Havana Solaun — a technically strong player who was working her way back from injury — is tough. As Laura Harvey said in a tweet today, she has a really bright future ahead of her. But adding Nairn back into the midfield, which just saw the loss of Kim Little and Keelin Winters, is a big win for Seattle.
Seattle still has the 6th pick in the NWSL Draft and a potentially healthy Summer Green — a 2016 draft pick. In addition, Harvey has sneakily picked up the rights to midfielder Sinead Farrelly, Veronica Goal-a-Game Perez, and Arianna Romero.
The future is bright for Seattle, and this is likely just the beginning of Laura Harvey’s offseason wizardry.