TUKWILA, Wash. – OL Reign brought some sunshine with them from their preseason trip to Long Beach, Calif. The team is back at their new training home at Starfire Sports Complex, preparing for the upcoming NWSL season as well as a preseason match in two weeks against Liga MX Femenil side Club América.
“I think preseason is going really great so far,” defender Sam Hiatt told media after training. “Any time you have a trip right off the bat, that’s a really good opportunity for the team to kind of come together and really bond and coalesce and spend some good time on the road together… it’s good, both as someone who’s returning and also a good opportunity for new players to get some time with everybody.”
While eight players are currently away on national team duty – midfielder Jess Fishlock was named to Wales’ squad for upcoming friendlies, to go along with Quinn and Jordyn Huitema for Canada and Sofia Huerta, Alana Cook, Rose Lavelle, Emily Sonnett and Megan Rapinoe for the United States for the SheBelieves Tournament – 23 others are still in town to train and compete for roster spots. Trialists Mariah Lee and McKenzie Weinert reunited with the team upon their return from California and showed brightly in Friday’s scrimmages.
With the exception of midfielder Angelina, who continues to train off to the side while rehabbing from an ACL injury and follow-up surgery, head coach Laura Harvey said that the team is looking good in terms of fitness and readiness. She also noted that this preseason is longer than prior years, which has enabled the team to ramp up more gradually, in addition to providing a better opportunity to evaluate their draft picks and trialists before needing to make any roster decisions.
Harvey also spoke highly of the club’s new partnership with Club América and the upcoming match on February 25, and what it means for the growth of the women’s game globally.
“I think it’ll be really cool for the club long-term. We played them last year in the Women’s Cup down in Louisville,” she observed. “I think the growth of the game globally is huge, and to be able to partner with another club is exciting.”
This will be the Reign’s first time playing an official game at Starfire since their loss to FC Kansas City in the 2014 NWSL Championship, a fact that wasn’t lost on Harvey. But she told media that she’s ready to shake off memories of the team’s prior time there and is looking forward to being back in the stadium’s intimate setting with fans close to the action.