Reign FC

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Reign FC
Reign FC logo.svg
Full nameReign FC
Nickname(s)The Reign
Founded2012; 7 years ago (2012), as Seattle Reign FC
StadiumCheney Stadium
Capacity6,500
OwnersBill and Teresa Predmore (majority owner);
The Baseball Club of Tacoma LLC, Adrian and Lenore Hanauer (minority owners)
PresidentBill Predmore
Head coachvacant
LeagueNational Women's Soccer League
2019Regular season: 4th
Playoffs: Semi-finals
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Reign FC is an American professional women's soccer team based in Tacoma, Washington. Founded in 2012 as Seattle Reign FC, it was one of eight inaugural members of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). Laura Harvey was the team's first head coach and led the team to two consecutive NWSL Shield wins in 2014 and 2015.

The Reign play their home matches at Cheney Stadium. The club previously played at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila (2013) and at Memorial Stadium in Seattle (2014–18).

History[edit]

Establishment[edit]

In November 2012, it was confirmed that a Seattle-based women's professional soccer team owned by Bill Predmore (founder and CEO of Seattle-based digital marketing agency, POP) had been accepted into a new women's professional soccer league, later named National Women's Soccer League.[1][2] On December 19, 2012, the team name was unveiled as Seattle Reign FC, named in honor of the 1990s Seattle Reign women's basketball team.[3] Former general manager of the Seattle Sounders Women and Seattle Sounders FC Director of Youth Programs,[4] Amy Carnell, was named general manager.

2013: Inaugural season[edit]

Goalkeeper Hope Solo makes a save during a match against the Chicago Red Stars on July 25, 2013 at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington.

On December 21, 2012, the team announced Laura Harvey as their first head coach. Harvey was head coach of Arsenal L.F.C. from 2010–2012 after serving as an assistant for two years, assisted and then coached Birmingham City L.F.C. from 2002–2008, and served as an assistant coach for England's U-17, U-19 and U-23 women's national teams from 2005–2011.[5]

On January 11, 2013, as part of the NWSL Player Allocation, Kaylyn Kyle (CAN), Teresa Noyola (MEX), Megan Rapinoe (USA), Amy Rodriguez (USA), Jenny Ruiz (MEX), Hope Solo (USA), and Emily Zurrer (CAN) were named to the Seattle team.[6][7][8] On January 18, the Reign selected Christine Nairn, Mallory Schaffer, Kristen Meier, and Haley Kopmeyer at the 2013 NWSL College Draft.[9][10] On February 4, 2013, it was announced that the team had signed four free agents: Kate Deines, Jess Fishlock, Tiffany Cameron, and Lindsay Taylor.[11] During the February 7, 2013 NWSL Supplemental Draft, the team selected Nikki Krzysik, Lauren Barnes, Laura Heyboer, Liz Bogus, Michelle Betos and Kaley Fountain.[12]

Seattle Reign FC pose for a photo before a match against the Chicago Red Stars on July 25, 2013.

Leading into the preseason, it was learned that the Reign would be without all of their U.S. national team allocated players for almost half of the season. National team forward, Amy Rodriguez, announced she was pregnant with her first child and would not be playing during the inaugural season.[13] U.S. national team goalkeeper, Hope Solo, would be away for the first part of the season after recovering from wrist surgery and Megan Rapinoe had signed with French side, Olympique Lyonnais, from January to June and would miss at least nine games.[14][15] After traveling to Japan in the preseason to play matches against defending L. League champion INAC Kobe Leonessa, Fukuoka J. Anclas, and Nojima Stella Kanagawa,[16] the Reign faced their first regular season match against the Chicago Red Stars at Benedictine University, in which Seattle's first college draft pick, Christine Nairn, scored the Reign's first goal of the season via a header off an assist from Liz Bogus.[17] The point that Seattle earned in the game would be its only for the next nine games.[18]

In June 2013, head coach Laura Harvey began making some trades and signing new international players. With the trades and the return of U.S. national team players, Solo and Rapinoe, the Reign began to turn the season around with a 1–1 tie against the Western New York Flash.[19] The game would be the first of a six-game undefeated streak for the Reign with two ties and four wins.[20] After losing to regional rival, Portland Thorns FC, 2–1 in the season finale in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,855, the Reign ended the 2013 NWSL season seventh in the league with a 5–14–3 record.[21]

2014–18: Seattle years[edit]

2014 season[edit]

During the 2014 season, the Reign set a league record unbeaten streak of 16 games. During the 16 game stretch, the Reign compiled a 13–0–3 record. The streak came to an end July 12, 2014 in a match against the Chicago Red Stars that ended 1–0 in favor of the Red Stars.[22] The team finished first in the regular season clinching the NWSL Shield for the first time.[23] After defeating the Washington Spirit 2–1 in the playoff semi-finals, the Reign were defeated 2–1 by FC Kansas City during the championship final.[24] Following the regular season, the team earned several league awards. Kim Little won the Golden Boot[25] and Most Valuable Player awards;[26] Laura Harvey was named Coach of the Year;[27] Kendall Fletcher, Jess Fishlock, Little and Nahomi Kawasumi were named to the NWSL Best XI team while goalkeeper Hope Solo and defenders Lauren Barnes and Stephanie Cox were named to the Second XI team.[28]

2015 season[edit]

The Reign finished the 2015 season in first place clinching the NWSL Shield for the second consecutive time.[29] After defeating the Washington Spirit 3–0 in a playoff semi-final, the Reign were defeated 1–0 by FC Kansas City during the championship final in Portland.[30] Following the regular season, the team earned several league award nominations. Kim Little, Jess Fishlock, and Bev Yanez were nominated for league Most Valuable Player, Laura Harvey was nominated for Coach of the Year; and Lauren Barnes and Kendall Fletcher were nominated for Defender of the Year.[31]

Laura Harvey was ultimately named Coach of the Year for a second consecutive year.[32] Barnes, Little, Yanez, and Fishlock were named to the NWSL Best XI team while Kendall Fletcher, Stephanie Cox, Megan Rapinoe, and Keelin Winters were named to the Second XI team.[33]

2016 season[edit]

The Reign finished the 2016 season in fifth place with a 8–6–8 record, narrowly missing a playoff spot by two points.[34] The season was complicated by a number of players being unavailable during the early part of the season due to injury including Manon Melis,[35] Jess Fishlock[36] and Megan Rapinoe.[37] In early July, Nahomi Kawasumi returned to the Reign for the first time since the 2014 season and scored a brace in her first match with the club.[38] Rachel Corsie and Haley Kopmeyer suffered injuries during a match in July against the Western New York Flash that was controversially played on a baseball field.[39][40] Schedule changes from previous years were announced in February that resulted in an imbalance amongst team matchups.[41]

In late August, the Reign announced that Hope Solo was taking a leave of absence for the remainder of the season after being suspended from the U.S. national team.[42] In September, four-year team captain Keelin Winters announced her retirement for the end of the season.[43] On October 17, midfielder Kim Little announced that she would leave the Reign and return to Arsenal. Harvey said Little was given an "incredible offer" of a multi-year contract, though no other details were disclosed.[44]

2017 season[edit]

Seattle Reign forwards Beverly Yanez and Megan Rapinoe in a match against the Chicago Red Stars, June 28, 2017.
Seattle Reign forwards Beverly Yanez and Megan Rapinoe in a match against the Chicago Red Stars, June 28, 2017.

Following the loss of core players Kim Little and Keelin Winters following the 2016 season, the Reign faced a bit of re-structuring for the 2017 season. Three 2017 NWSL College Draft rookies were signed including defender Maddie Bauer, forward Katie Johnson, and midfielder Kristen McNabb. With Kim Little moving back to Arsenal, the Reign re-signed attacking midfielder Christine Nairn, who had played for the team during its inaugural season.[45] The team also signed Canadian international Diana Matheson and Australian international Larissa Crummer, though they spent the majority of the season injured as well as New Zealand international defender Rebekah Stott.[45] The Reign finished in fifth place for the second consecutive season narrowly missing a playoff spot after losing 1–0 to Kansas City.[46][47] Megan Rapinoe was the team's leading scorer (and league's third highest) with 12 goals.[48][47] Her season performance contributed to her nomination as FIFA World Player of the Year the following year.[49]

2018 season[edit]

After two consecutive seasons of fifth-place finishes and thus outside of the playoffs, head coach and general manager Laura Harvey stepped down and was replaced by former rival Vlatko Andonovski as new head coach of the team.[50] The amicable transition nonetheless led to new vision for the team and new players, with Andonovski bringing in 11 new players on the season-opening roster. Notably, Andonovski traded for US international Allie Long and Australian international Steph Catley, while English international Jodie Taylor and Danish international Theresa Nielsen joined on free transfers from abroad. The refreshed team performed well throughout the season and remained largely in second place behind a dominant North Carolina Courage team, until a loss to Cascadia rival Portland Thorns FC at the end of the regular season dropped them to third place. This set up a semi-final rematch with the Thorns FC away from home, which the team lost 2-1. Despite the late slide, Andonovski led the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015 in his first season in charge.

2019–present: Reign FC in Tacoma[edit]

On January 30, 2019, the team announced that it would relocate to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma for the 2019 season and re-brand itself as Reign FC.[51] This relocation, as well as two new minority ownership groups (Mikal Thomsen, owner of the Tacoma Rainiers and Adrian Hanauer, owner of the Seattle Sounders, as well as his mother, philanthropist Lenore Hanauer),[52] secured the team's long-term future by addressing long-standing stadium issues.[53] A new soccer-specific 5,000 capacity stadium that would host Reign and Tacoma Defiance games is currently in the works adjacent to Cheney Stadium.[54]

Colors and crest[edit]

On December 19, 2012, the name and logo was unveiled as Seattle Reign FC. The team's colors were announced as white, platinum, royal blue and midnight black along with a neon green away colors[3] The name was selected in part as homage to the first professional women's sports team in Seattle, the Seattle Reign, a defunct professional basketball team in the American Basketball League (ABL).[3] That team was in turn named after its location in King County, and as a pun alluding to Seattle's rainy climate.

Owner, Bill Predmore stated, "Today's announcement is the result of a thoughtful process to identify the name that best represents the values of our club, articulates our long-term ambitions and celebrates the community within which our supporters live. Reign FC meets all of those objectives and at the same time honors the legacy of professional women's sports in Seattle. Like the Seattle Sounders, whose fans selected a name that honored those who pioneered the sport of soccer in Seattle in the early 1970s, Seattle Reign FC was, in part, selected to pay homage those visionaries – the leaders and players of the Seattle Reign women's basketball team – who pioneered professional women's sports in Seattle."[55]

On January 30, 2019, it was announced that the team would relocate to Tacoma, Washington and rename as simply Reign FC. As part of the rebrand, the team released a slightly modified visual identity and a new team crest.[56]

Sponsorship[edit]

In April 2013, Moda Health was announced as the team's jersey sponsor.[57] The company remained the jersey sponsor for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. In 2016, Microsoft was named as the new jersey sponsor and "presenting partner".[58] The team also uses Microsoft technology on and off the pitch as part of the partnership.[58]

In January 2019, Seattle-based online retailer Zulily was announced as the team's new presenting partner and third-ever jersey sponsor.[59] On the same day, Seattle Sounders FC also announced Zulily as its new jersey partner, making it the first time that both men's and women's professional soccer teams in Seattle share the same jersey sponsor and Seattle only the second-ever American city to hold this distinction.[60] Despite the new jersey sponsor, Microsoft remains the team's technology partner and will continue to provide sports analytics to the coaching staff.[61] In April 2019, aerospace corporation Boeing was announced as a kit sponsor during the new secondary jersey unveiling event.[62]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2013–2015 Nike Moda Health
2016–2018 Microsoft
2019– Zulily

Stadium[edit]

During the inaugural season of the NWSL, Reign FC played at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington.[63] The stadium is located approximately 12 miles from downtown Seattle and is the training facility for Seattle Sounders FC, as well as where the Sounders play their U.S. Open Cup matches. With a seating capacity for 4,500 spectators, the stadium also features a press box with full scoreboard and sound system capabilities. The pitch features FieldTurf.[64]

In February 2014, it was announced that the team would be moving to Memorial Stadium, located at the Seattle Center, for at least the 2014 and 2015 seasons;[65] the Reign chose to remain there beyond the originally intended two seasons. The stadium features an artificial turf pitch that was installed in 2013 and a seating capacity of 12,000 spectators, although seating capacity was set at 6,000 for the beginning of the 2014 season.[66] The stadium was the previous home of the Seattle Sounders from 1974–1975 when the team played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) and from 1995 to 2002 when the new incarnation of the team played in the A-League.[66]

In late 2017, the team's future in Seattle beyond 2018 was seen as uncertain due to issues with Memorial Stadium. The facility does not meet league standards for playing surfaces set to be enforced in 2019. Additionally, the stadium is owned by the Seattle School District, which has announced plans to build a new high school in that area of the city, with the stadium being the most likely site. The Reign were seen by national soccer media as lacking viable options for a replacement—other possible venues in the region are problematic due to size, location, or ancillary facilities.[67] Reign FC owner Bill Predmore initially responded that, despite these challenges, the team would remain at Memorial Stadium for 2019.[68] However, newly enforced standards by U.S. Soccer and NWSL made this untenable, and the club relocated to Tacoma, Washington in January 2019.[61] The newly re-named Reign FC will first play temporarily at Cheney Stadium, before moving to a soccer-specific stadium shared with Tacoma Defiance when construction is completed in 2021.

Broadcasting[edit]

From 2013 to 2016, Seattle Reign games were streamed live by Bootstrapper Studios via YouTube. The broadcasts were called by KOMO News Radio Sports Director, Tom Glasgow, with color commentary provided by Lesle Gallimore, head coach of the Washington Huskies.[69] During the 2013 season, a select number of league games were broadcast on Fox Sports.[70] During the 2014 season, several league games were broadcast by ESPN.[71]

In March 2015, the team became one of the first sports teams to use the newly released app Periscope to stream a preseason friendly against the Portland Pilots.[72] In 2015, six select regular season games and the playoff matches were broadcast by Fox Soccer.[73] The playoff final featuring Reign FC and FC Kansas City set what was then a league record, averaging 167,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1 – an increase of 7 percent compared to the 2014 final broadcast on ESPN2.[74] That record stood until the 2016 NWSL finals between Western New York and Washington, which averaged more than 180,000 viewers.[75]

As of 2017, Seattle Reign games are streamed exclusively by Go90 for American audiences and via the NWSL website for international viewers.[76] As part of a three-year agreement with A&E Networks, Lifetime broadcasts one NWSL Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons.[77][78] For the 2017 season, the Reign were featured in nationally televised Lifetime NWSL Game of the Week broadcasts on May 27, July 8, August 26, and September 9, 2017.[79] During the 2018 season, Lifetime match broadcasts featuring Seattle include May 5, July 21, and August 11, 2018.[80]

Supporters[edit]

The first supporters group formed for the Reign is the Royal Guard. Founded by Matt Banks and Kiana Coleman in April 2013, the group became the first organized supporters group for a women's professional sports team in Washington state's history.[81][82][83] Other supporters groups for the team have included Fortune's Favourites and Queen Anne Collective.[84][85]

Rivalries[edit]

Like the Seattle Sounders FC rivalry with the Portland Timbers, the Reign has a long-standing regional rivalry[86] with Portland Thorns FC.[87] In May 2015, a match between the two teams in Portland set a new attendance record with 21,144 fans cheering in the stadium.[88]

After losing twice to FC Kansas City during the NWSL championship final in 2014 and 2015 despite winning first place in the league, the Reign also considered FC Kansas City to be a rival.[89][90] However, Kansas City folded after the 2017 season, with their head coach Vlatko Andonovski joining the Reign.

Ownership and team management[edit]

Reign FC was wholly owned by Bill and Teresa Predmore from its establishment until January 2019.[51] Bill Predmore is the CEO of POP, a Seattle-based digital marketing agency.[91] Prior to the start of the first season, Predmore stated, "Ultimately, my goal is to build the best women's club in the world. That won't happen tomorrow or this year, but in 10 years or 20 years that's where we want to be."[92] Predmore's wife, Teresa, played college soccer at Oregon State University and soccer is one of her lifelong passions.[92]

Leading up to the inaugural season of the NWSL, Amy Carnell was named general manager for the team. Within a week of regular season play, Carnell resigned from her position citing "personal reasons" and head coach Laura Harvey assumed the role – a setup similar to what she was used to as coach of the Arsenal L.F.C. in England.[93][94][95]

Following the 2017 season, Laura Harvey resigned as general manager and head coach of the club, and Vlatko Andonovski was hired from FC Kansas City as the new head coach.[50] Andonovski and Harvey had been the two most successful coaches in NWSL history, with three Coach of the Year awards and four trophies between them, and Andonovski was the only replacement Harvey endorsed.[96] Andonovski further complimented Harvey's positive impacts and committed to continue playing a "beautiful game" with the Reign.[97]

Before the 2018 season, the club announced an agreement with Force 10 Sports Management, LLC, for it to manage ticket sales and services.[98] Force 10 Sports Management owns and operates the Seattle Storm, a standalone professional women's basketball team in the WNBA, much like the Reign.[99]

On January 30, 2019, Reign FC announced that it would move to Tacoma, Washington.[51] As part of the move, the club announced two new minority owners: the Baseball Club of Tacoma LLC (the owner and operator of Tacoma Rainiers, led by Mikal Thomsen), as well as Seattle Sounders FC majority owner Adrian Hanauer and his mother Lenore Hanauer. Bill and Teresa Predmore remain the team's majority owners, and Bill the team president, after the additional investments. The relocation also brought previous management agreement with Force 10 Sports Management to an end, with the Tacoma Rainiers taking over similar responsibilities at Cheney Stadium.[56]

After winning the 2019 NWSL Coach of the Year award, head coach Vlatko Andonovski resigned to manage the United States women's national soccer team on October 28, 2019.[100] As his departure had been anticipated, co-owner and president Bill Predmore had already begun the search for Andonovski's successor since early September.[101]

Players and staff[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of November 7, 2019.[104]

No. Position Player Nation
2 Forward Shea Groom  United States
4 Defender Megan Oyster  United States
5 Midfielder Rebecca Quinn  Canada
6 Midfielder Allie Long  United States
8 Defender Theresa Nielsen  Denmark
9 Forward Jodie Taylor  England
10 Midfielder Jess Fishlock  Wales
14 Midfielder Morgan Proffitt  United States
15 Forward Megan Rapinoe  United States
17 Midfielder Bev Yanez  United States
18 Goalkeeper Michelle Betos  United States
19 Defender Kristen McNabb  United States
20 Midfielder Rumi Utsugi  Japan
21 Defender Christen Westphal  United States
22 Forward Jasmyne Spencer  United States
23 Defender Taylor Smith  United States
24 Forward Bethany Balcer  United States
25 Forward Ifeoma Onumonu  United States
26 Goalkeeper Casey Murphy  United States
27 Forward Addison Steiner  United States
28 Goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme  United States
31 Midfielder Rosie White  New Zealand
33 Defender Steph Cox  United States
35 Defender Schuyler DeBree  United States

Out on loan[edit]

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of November 7, 2019.[104]

No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Lydia Williams (at Melbourne City)  Australia
3 Defender Lauren Barnes (at Melbourne City)  United States
7 Defender Steph Catley (at Melbourne City)  Australia
11 Forward Darian Jenkins (at Melbourne Victory)  United States
12 Midfielder Morgan Andrews (at Perth Glory)  United States
13 Defender Celia Jiménez Delgado (at Perth Glory)  Spain

Staff[edit]

As of November 4, 2019.[51][104][105]
Executive
Majority owner Bill and Teresa Predmore
Minority owners The Baseball Club of Tacoma LLC
Adrian and Lenore Hanauer
President Bill Predmore
Associate general manager Brynn Sebring
Coaching
Head coach vacant
Assistant coach Sam Laity
Goalkeeper coach Ljupco Kmetovski-Rakush
Director of high performance Nick Leman
Head athletic trainer David Beauchene

Honors[edit]

Records[edit]

Team records[edit]

Season NWSL regular season Position NWSL
Playoffs
Avg. Attendance Highest Attendance Total Attendance
P W L D GF GA Pts
2013 22 5 14 3 22 36 18 7th 2,306 3,855 25,365 (11 regular season home games)
2014 24 16 2 6 50 20 54 Shield Runners-up 3,632 5,957 43,581 (12 regular season home games)
2015 20 13 3 4 41 21 43 Shield Runners-up 4,060 6,303 40,595 (10 regular season home games)
2016 20 8 6 6 29 21 30 5th 4,602 5,888 46,018 (10 regular season home games)
2017 24 9 8 7 43 37 34 5th 4,037 6,041 48,449 (12 regular season home games)
2018 24 11 5 8 27 19 41 3rd Semi-finals 3,824 5,251 45,885 (12 regular season home games)
2019 24 10 6 8 27 27 38 4th Semi-finals 5,213 7,479 62,551 (12 regular season home games)

Player records[edit]

As of October 20, 2019. Current players in bold. Statistics are updated once a year after the conclusion of the NWSL season.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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