The offseason moves for the Seattle Reign under GM and coach Laura Harvey have now reached epic levels. Just days after acquiring US national team forward Sydney Leroux, the team has announced the signing of Arsenal Ladies and Scotland attacking midfielder Kim Little, who played under Harvey for some very successful years at Arsenal. To get her NWSL rights, Seattle traded Christine Nairn to the Washington Spirit.
The Gunners have dominated the women's English game for over a decade, and from 2010 to 2012 the authors of that domination were head coach Harvey and Little, who was the team's leading scorer and among the league leaders in scoring every season from her central attacking midfield position. In February she was awarded the PFA Women's Player of the Year award for the 2012-2013 season. For the Reign, she should be able to smoothly transition into the same role in the same 4-3-3 Harvey has instituted here.
"Kim is world-class. Her talent and proven experience will be a huge asset for our team in the coming seasons," Harvey said in a team release. "Having coached Kim for nearly four years, I have no doubt that her creativity and goal-scoring ability will prove an exciting proposition for the NWSL."
Besides being the leader of Arsenal's attack, she's also an integral part of the Scottish national team — for which she's scored 30 goals in 86 appearances already at 23 years old — and is leading them through qualification for the 2015 World Cup, where they currently sit at the top of their group. In February, she was the only scorer for Scotland in a 4-1 friendly loss to the US (Highlights of that match, which are a little US-centric, but have Little goal at around 3:30).
"I’m very excited to join Reign FC and play for Laura again," Little said. "We were very successful at Arsenal and hopefully we can be just as successful in Seattle."
There have been rumors that Little is unsettled at Arsenal after a season in which they finished out of the Champions League places thanks to a points deduction, but they're still active in the 2013 Champions League after defeating (fellow Reign player) Jess Fishlock's Glasgow City in the Round of 16. The draw for the quarterfinals will be held on Thursday.
The loss of Nairn makes the move a little bittersweet, since she was a big part of what offense the Reign had last season, with 3 goals and a team-leading 5 assists in her rookie season. Still, while should be wary of being too optimistic just a few months after Seattle finished second to bottom in the league in scoring, with Little playing behind Leroux and (for at least half the season) next to Megan Rapinoe, the Reign attack suddenly looks — at least on paper — as good as any in the league, including the Morgan/Sinclair/Heath offense that won the championship for the Portland Thorns.