During a hard week for Seattle Reign FC fans, good news continues to trickle in. Yesterday, the club announced that Naho Kawasumi will return next year. Today, it was confirmed that Jess Fishlock will also represent Reign FC next season—making 2018 her sixth year with the club.
Reign FC fans were rightfully confused and concerned when Laura Harvey was announced as the head coach of Utah’s NWSL team on Monday. Six players were out of contract and had been extended new offers, but their signings were not official: Lauren Barnes, Carson Pickett, Fishlock, Rumi Utsugi, Kawasumi, and Lydia Williams. Readers began to wonder if any of these players could end up in Utah with Harvey.
We now have an answer for Naho and Fishlock, and still expect many of the remaining names to be announced in the coming weeks. When it comes to keeping true to the original Reign FC culture — hard work, playing as a team, striving to be their best — there’s perhaps no player that better encompasses that ethos than Fishlock. Having her continue to put her faith in this club and the Reign FC organization is crucial.
“It is an honor to re-sign with this club. Seattle Reign is in my heart and I am excited for the future,” said Fishlock in a club announcement. “I hope to bring this club back to its prior success — it is a dream of mine.”
The midfielder was named co-captain with Lauren Barnes ahead of the 2017 season, where she appeared in 20 matches, scored seven goals, tallied two assists, and was named to the NWSL Best XI. She also reached 100 all-time NWSL appearances, including postseason and regular-season matches, and will reach 100 regular-season appearances during the 2018 season.
In an interview with Sounder at Heart, Vlatko Andonovski said he was looking forward to being on the other side of worrying about “the runs that Jessica Fishlock makes, and the crosses that Nahomi delivers.” It is clear he understands the importance of both players on the squad he has inherited.
In Wednesday’s announcement Andonovski added, “Jess is one of the best midfielders in the world – when she is on the field she has an ability to run the show. I think that every coach in the world would like to have Jess on their roster. I'm extremely excited to be able to work with a player of her caliber.”
Fishlock is currently playing in Australia’s W-League with Melbourne City FC, where she is joined by Reign FC teammates Lauren Barnes, Larissa Crummer, Lydia Williams, and Rebekah Stott, with recent Reign FC signing Jodie Taylor also set to join them in December. In the month of November, Fishlock helped lead Wales to a draw and two wins in their World Cup qualifying matches. Wales currently sits at the top of Group 1 with 10 points from four games, but will have to face England twice in 2018.
The Welsh Dragon never sleeps. She never stops. And we’re okay with that, because she’ll remain right here in Seattle—where she belongs.