The last start to Reign FC’s home opener Saturday, a 1-0 loss to FC Kansas City, didn’t leave much time for postgame reaction, but here are some thoughts from owner Bill Predmore and coach Laura Harvey.
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BILL PREDMORE, owner
(How’d you feel about how things went off the field?) “I was super happy. We had a great turnout. It felt full, I think it was full, and I think people had a good time. That’s what we wanted, and luck or design it worked out. It was good.”
(Did you feel good about the atmosphere?) “Yeah, it felt like the right mix to me. It felt like a soccer crowd, and that’s something that we want to do. I don’t know why it worked out that way, but I couldn’t be happier with that.”
(Sounds like the stream went OK, but any bumps along the road of running a home game for the first time?) “Right now I haven’t seen the stream yet, so I’m reluctant to comment on it. But I went up a few times, and it sounds like everything went great. We invested a lot of time and a lot of money to get it right. My expectation was that it was going to work out, so what we know right now is that it worked fine, so I’ll go watch it and see.”
(A home opener comes after a lot of work in the buildup. What the emotions after such a day?) “I would’ve liked to cap the night with a win, for sure, but it was gratifying to see people out here having fun. I think we wanted to give people a great soccer experience. I think women’s soccer can be just as exciting and just as much fun as going to watch the Sounders or any men’s soccer. I feel like we did that tonight. The team worked super hard; I think they deserved a better result than they got. If everybody comes back next time, we’ll get a win for them.”
(Were you worried about attendance coming in?) “I am constantly worried about everything, so yeah, definitely. But we could see the numbers creeping up during the week, and we felt like there was momentum there. So I was probably less worried today than I was two weeks ago, but it seems like the tide is turning on ticket sales. I’d say we’re cautiously optimistic about where things are headed. I think it’s a night like this that will get people coming back, so if they had fun and saw a great game, why wouldn’t they come back?”
(Do you have a sense of how the walk-up numbers were?) “I haven’t seen the breakdown, but I think it was mostly presale. The vast majority of tickets had been sold online. I’ll go back and see what that mix is, but ultimately felt super good to get a pretty packed house.”
(On the field, is there any you can say to the fans other than be patient?) “I think that’s a tough one. I’m going to go back and talk with Laura, first and foremost, and see what she thinks. From a completeness of the game, I felt like this was the best game. I think we’re getting better every single week, so it feels like its headed in the right direction and we’re just not catching that break when we need it. We have to figure out how to do that. We have to manufacture our own luck, and we’re just not doing that. I think we’re one or two passes away from making it work, and I think it’s on Laura and it’s on the club to figure how to make that happen, and I think they will. It’s just going to take some times.”
LAURA HARVEY, head coach and general manager
(What’d you make of the game?) “I’ve said before, I think Kansas is a really good side. I think in possession, they’re really good. But I thought we stopped their threat. They had a lot of the ball, and they’re a bit of a possession-based team, and last week we tried to stop that in the wrong areas and we got punished because they had loads of chances. Whereas tonight, they had a couple of chances, and I think there was one where I thought, ‘Oh, we were lucky there.’ And I want to watch it back, but I thought their goal was a really good goal, and that’s the first time I can say that about any team that’s played us — where I’ve gone, ‘That’s a great goal.’
“In terms of us, we created more chances, we did everything but put the goal in the back of the net. And I have to remind myself it’s a long season. I have to remind myself how far we’ve come. I have to remind myself that we’re so young. It’s like that last five minutes shows sometimes … that’s when you have to change your game a little bit and get the ball in the box, and we have to learn from that a little bit. But tonight is the one that probably hurts the most of the four games, and I’m not saying we deserved to win it, but we didn’t deserve to lose it.
“I thought the crowd was great, and I thought it was a really good atmosphere. I don’t know what the attendance was, but I think for an opening night, with everything that’s happened to us prior to today, I think we can be really pleased with that. But for the players, that was the one I think hurt the most for them because I think they thought they deserved a little bit more. Football is a horrible game.”
(On Kaylyn Kyle playing higher…) “Just because we played Kristina Larsen up there, who’s going to hold the ball up, and Kaylyn will constantly run. I just thought in the first half, the runs that were being made sometimes weren’t necessarily at the right times. We tweaked that, and obviously in the second half there was that great chance really early on. They’re the ones that we at least have to get on target. I think we probably had three or four really good opportunities, where we could’ve worked the ‘keeper a little bit.”
(On the crowd…) “Well, with my dual role, it’s obviously something where I want this organization to be successful, and if people are going to come and watch us and support us like they did tonight, then undoubtedly we will be sustainable for a long time. I think the crowd, although we haven’t gotten the result, I think they appreciated how hard the girls worked and what effort they put in. Even the bleachers were packed out. Probably three days ago we actually thought it might be an issue on the TV because we didn’t think we’d have that many fans in that area of the stands. We knew (the grandstand) would get quite full, but it was great. We were saying just as we were coming out onto the field to play that we couldn’t believe that the lines that were still coming in. It just proves Seattle loves soccer. Everyone’s been telling me and everyone’s been talking about it, and tonight they proved it, which is great.”