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Seattle Reign sign draft pick Katie Johnson

The USC graduate also plays for the Mexican national team.

Soccer: 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying-Costa Rica at Mexico Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Reign FC announced today that the club has signed Katie Johnson for the 2017 NWSL season. The forward, who has already earned caps with the Mexico women’s national team, was the 16th overall pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft. With Johnson’s signing, Reign FC now have two remaining roster spots open.

A graduate of USC, Johnson helped the Trojans win the NCAA National Championship during her senior season in 2016, scoring two goals in the championship match against West Virginia. She also had the winning goal in USC's 1-0 semifinal win over Georgetown. Johnson scored 24 goals and tallied six assists during her collegiate career, including 10 goals her senior season.

“I’m really excited to be with this team,” said Johnson in Reign FC press release. “Practices have been spectacular and the speed of play has been really great. Laura’s done a great job bringing in the new girls and making us feel welcome.”

Seattle made a surprise trade with the Chicago Red Stars in the second round of the draft to acquire Johnson, as Laura Harvey called her the “standout forward” in the 2016 NCAA season. “I watched her all year, and thought she was under the radar and I could get her at 26. Then she went and was a star in the [NCAA] finals. I was conscious that she might not fall to 26th,” Harvey said after the draft.

Johnson, who missed the 2015 season to recover from an ACL tear, has a lot of qualities that make her a compelling signing for Reign FC. She is a great hold-up player who frequently at USC was asked to receive the ball under pressure with her back to the goal. She is a strong passer as well, and puts tremendous pressure on opponents that should fit well with Harvey’s defend-from-the-front style of play.

Internationally, Johnson competed in the 2016 Rio Olympic qualifiers for Mexico and was most recently called in for a friendly against Canada this February. Mexico fell 3-2, with Johnson scoring the team’s second goal.

“Katie Johnson came into camp and did really well in the first week, which wasn’t surprising in my opinion,” said Harvey. “Having watched her in college, she’s worked hard on her game since her college season finished. We’re excited about her potential. I think she’s an exciting talent that could have a really good rookie year ahead of her.”

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