Four Seattle Reign FC players will report to international duty in March, representing their countries in the Algarve Cup and Cyprus Cup.
Reign FC’s Rebekah Stott, Jessica Fishlock, and Rachel Corsie will join their respective national teams to compete in the 2017 Cyprus Cup from March 1 to March 8. The 12-team tournament will take place in Larnaca, Cyprus.
Stott, 23, returns to the New Zealand roster after playing three matches with the Football Ferns in the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she earned her 50th international cap. Along with Fishlock, Lauren Barnes, and Bev Yanez, Stott helped Melbourne City FC earn a second consecutive W-League title earlier this year.
New Zealand is the fifth-highest rated team at the competition — ranked No. 19 in the latest FIFA Women’s Rankings behind North Korea (10th), Italy (16th), Switzerland (17th), and South Korea (18th).
Corsie, 27, returns to the Scotland roster after a knee injury sidelined her last season, and she has already played two friendlies against Denmark to start the year. She’s amassed 87 appearances for Scotland, and alongside her teammates will be looking to improve from Scotland’s fourth-place finish in both 2011 and 2014.
Fishlock, 30, has been named to the Wales roster for their first competition since EURO qualifiers. Wales ended the 2016 Cyprus Cup without a win, going 0-2-2 and scoring four goals in the tournament. Fishlock was recently named Player of the Match in the W-League Grand Final win for Melbourne City, where she also served as head coach.
The 12 countries to participate in the Cyprus Cup have been divided into three groups:
- Group A: Belgium, Italy, Korea DPR, Switzerland
- Group B: Austria (2016 winners), Korea Rep, New Zealand, Scotland
- Group C: Czech Rep, Rep.of Ireland, Hungary, Wales
Teams will play each team in their group on March 1, March 3, and March 6. The winner of Group A will play the winner of Group B for the final, as these groups have the higher FIFA rankings. The Group A/B runner up with the most points will face the winner of Group C in the third-place match.
The Algarve Cup, a global tournament hosted by the Portuguese Football Federation, will also run from March 1 to March 8. Held annually in the Algarve region of Portugal, it is one of the most prestigious women’s football events.
Reign FC’s Rumi Utsugi, 28, has been named to Japan’s squad for the tournament. Japan will face Spain (March 1), Iceland (March 3), and Norway (March 6) in the group stage of competition. Utsugi has 90 appearances for Japan, where she’s played both defensive midfield and left back.
After being held out of friendlies earlier this year due to “several injuries,” Diana Matheson, 32, was left off Canada’s roster for the Algarve Cup. Canada enters the tournament as 2016 champions, and also boasts the highest FIFA Women’s Ranking at No. 4 — followed closely by Australia (5th), Japan (7th), and Sweden (8th) in the Top 10.
Similar to the Cyprus Cup, the Algarve Cup splits 12 competitors into three groups. The two teams with the highest number of points after the group stage advance to the final on March 8.
- Group A: Canada, Denmark, Portugal, Russia
- Group B: Iceland, Japan, Norway, Spain
- Group C: Australia, China, Netherlands, Sweden
No streaming details have been released for the Algarve Cup or Cyprus Cup.
No Reign FC players were named to the rosters for the SheBelieves Cup, a four-team tournament between the United States, England, France, and Germany. The competition also runs March 1 - March 7. U.S. matches against Germany (March 1), England (March 4) and France (March 7) will air on FS1 and Fox.
While Megan Rapinoe, 31, was called into January training camp for the U.S., coach Jill Ellis cited fitness issues as the primary reason for the Reign attacker’s absence on the 25-player roster. It appears that while she got a few matches with the Reign at the end of last season, Rapinoe is still working her way back to full fitness after an ACL tear at the end of 2015.
Soon after these international tournaments conclude, the NWSL preseason will officially begin on March 13. Reign FC will then play two preseason matches on April 4 and 8, before kicking off the 2017 NWSL season at Memorial Stadium on April 15 against Sky Blue. Until then, at least we have these competitions — and the four Reign players featured in them — to hold us over.