Reign FC will look for a 2-0 start to the NWSL season Wednesday as it hosts the Washington Spirit (1-1) at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Seattle went 1-2 in the matchup last year.
Here are some leftover notes from the early part of the season:
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— First off, new addition Nahomi Kawasumi spoke to reporters after the season opener. She was asked what it’s like playing with the U.S. women’s national team stars, players she normally goes up against with Japan on the international level. “Play against them is always difficult,” she said through a interpreter, “but when we play together, I can rely on them. I think it’s great.”
— The enthusiastic crowd of about 3,000 was also something new following her NWSL signing. “So many people came to the stadium today,” Kawasumi said. “The way they get excited and the reaction from the fans was different from Japan, so I enjoyed it.”
— Teammates have been impressed, too. “She’s great,” said Megan Rapinoe of Kawasumi. “I think that she’s come in and adjusted really quickly. I know going overseas isn’t the easiest thing, but I think her game speaks for itself on the field and then off the field it seems she’s enjoying herself. … I think that she’ll be huge for us this year.”
— Coach Laura Harvey said Kawasumi will miss part of the season due to the Asian Cup, and the team has to be prepared for that.
— Another key addition, obviously, is Scottish international Kim Little, who scored twice in Seattle’s 3-0 win in Week 1 against Boston. Little was asked what made her think this was the right move for her career at this point. “I had been at Arsenal for I think six years, and I knew that I always wanted to come to America because it has such great leagues,” she said. “To come to play for Laura again, who I worked with at Arsenal, was a big part of that.” She also mentioned seeing a team with the likes of Rapinoe, Sydney Leroux and others helped.
— And how does the NWSL compare to playing in England? “It is a lot more transitional here,” Little said. “It kind of goes end to end a lot and there’s a lot of space, whereas back in England, lot of teams, when we played for Arsenal, set up to kind of stop us. It’s been different but hopefully something I’ll get used to quickly.”
— U.S. Soccer still hasn’t named a new women’s national team coach, and someone who might benefit from the coaching change is Seattle captain Keelin Winters. The defensive midfielder was a U.S. allocated player in 2013 but not this season. The 25 year old hasn’t been a part of the first team in a while.
“For me, it’s encouraging, because I get a fresh sheet,” Winters said. “I don’t think I had performed my best soccer when I was brought into camp last year. I admit that and I’ve come to terms with it. In the offseason, I’ve made sure I’ve done everything I can to improve. With a new coach coming in, it will be a clean slate for me. That’s encouraging. … With a coaching change, you don’t know how they’re going to think of you. Do they like you as a player? Do they like your style of play? Are they going to be looking for new options? With Tom (Sermanni), it sounds like he had a pretty comfortable idea of what his World Cup squad was going to look like. Now it’s kind of like back to the drawing board.”
— The Reign had 10 days in between games having been inactive over the weekend. Harvey said in a team preview that is has been “really important time for us, important to pin down exactly what we want to be and who we want to look like.”
— Lastly, a interview with Rapinoe and Leroux from LEVYfilms: