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Seattle Reign players report for international duty

Eight players will represent their countries during the FIFA break.

W-League Grand Final - Sydney v Melbourne Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

As preseason kicks off for Seattle Reign FC, the club will be without at least eight players over the next two weeks, as a number of players received call-ups for international tournaments.

The Algarve Cup kicks off on February 28 in Portugal and will feature four Reign FC players. Steph Catley and Lydia Williams have been called up by Australia, Theresa Nielsen will be representing Denmark, and Rumi Utsugi is expected to play for Japan. The 12-team tournament is in its 25th year and will conclude on March 7.

Jess Fishlock will join Wales for the Cyprus Cup, a similar tournament taking place over the same period of time. Wales are in Group A alongside Finland, Italy, and Switzerland—and will be looking to improve on last year’s sixth-place finish. The tournament also features 12 teams.

U.S. Women’s National Team players Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long have been named to the 23-player roster for the SheBelieves Cup, which includes England, France, and Germany. The U.S. opens the tournament on Thursday, March 1 against Germany (4 p.m. PT on ESPN2). On Sunday, March 4, they take on France (9 a.m. PT on ESPN2). The tournament concludes against England on Wednesday, March 7 (4 p.m. PT on ESPNews).

New Reign FC forward Jodie Taylor has been called up by England for the same tournament. In December, Taylor joined Reign FC teammates at Melbourne City for the tail end of the W-League regular season, scoring a goal in the championship match to seal a 2-0 win for Melbourne City. She returns to her national team after earning Golden Boot honors in the UEFA Euro competition last summer.

Elizabeth Addo, who was drafted by Seattle in the NWSL Dispersal Draft after signing with the Boston Breakers this offseason, was called up by Ghana for the WAFU (West Africa Football Union) Women’s Cup of Nations tournament, but the Ghana captain was given permission to head to Seattle for the preseason. Her teammates qualified for the final, which takes place today. Later this year, Ghana will host the 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations, which serve as qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup.

All players reporting for international duty will miss most of Seattle Reign FC’s preseason training, but should be back with the squad well in advance of the first NWSL match, which takes place Saturday, March 24 at Memorial Stadium. However, the club will be without Catley, Williams, and likely Utsugi, who will represent their country in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which spans April 7-22 and serves as the 2019 World Cup qualifier.

The good news for Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski is that he has more depth than ever on the squad, and should be able to find quality starters to fill in for these three players during the month of April.

While the regular season still feels so far away, at least fans have plenty of international matches and preseason games to follow in the meantime. Reign FC plays the University of Washington at Husky Stadium on Thursday, March 8.

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