Hi, I’m Seattle Reign Head Coach Laura Harvey and welcome to my blog!
So after the inaugural NWSL season has finished my attentions quickly turned to planning for next season. It is quite foreign to me to have so much time in the off season to prepare, back in England we might get a month off before our next pre season starts. In the states we finished in August and don’t have pre season until March of the following year. This is a good thing for our league I think as especially last year we had to move very quickly on aspects of the club once I had been appointed and many things were done as a reaction and we as a club know we need to be more prepared for next season. We have without doubt one of the most hard working and hands on Owners in the league so although I’ve spent a few weeks back in England we are in constant contact looking at ways to make our club better.
We even managed to go and see PSG v Lyon at the end of September, this was a great opportunity to see what level we are trying to push our league towards. Lyon are undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best team in Europe and their structure on and off the field is something I think every club can learn from. So to see the game and appreciate the fan base and how the club works is great for us and gives some ideas of things we can do to make Reign FC a sustainable and competitive club. It was also nice to see Megan Rapinoe in action again, she has had a few weeks off so she only came on in the second half but she put her own stamp on the game straight away, which was great to see.
A big part of my off season task is to prepare ourselves for the NWSL college draft, for those of you that don’t know the American system I will try my best to explain! The draft is made up of players who are in their final year at college in America, the players have to draft themselves and then they sit back and watch which team drafts them. There are only 32 places though and normally there is over 100 players in the draft so competition is tough. Each NWSL club will get four picks in the college draft, throughout 2013 teams used those picks as part of trades for other players so some teams may have given up a pick or moved in the order. So for example, we have traded our first round pick in the draft for the deal we made with Chicago for Keelin Winters, which means we still get four picks but one of those picks will be further down the order than it would have been. A few players who came out of the college draft last year and did well were Erica Tymrak, Adrianna Franch, Kat Williamson and our own Christine Nairn. So you can see if you get your picks right it can differently be a positive thing for your club. The draft happens in early 2014 so we will see what clubs go for in the draft.
As I said earlier I have spent the last few weeks back in England and its been interesting seeing how the FA WSL has ended with Liverpool winning the league for the first time. I know the players and staff at Arsenal will not be happy about letting their trophy go and Im sure this will give them added incentive for next season. Its been interesting to see how everyone has responded about Liverpool winning the league with limited amount of English players. My own opinion is that Arsenal have won the league for the last 10 plus years because they had the best players in Great Britain and Ireland so for a team to compete with them, I think that they had to get the better players from around England and mix that with foreign players. I’m sure if we were to ask the players competing in the FA WSL they would say that foreign players help raise the standard which is what everyone wants.
The NWSL is such an exciting league as although we have limited amount of Internationals we can bring in. The standard and talent pool on offer in the States is so huge that everywhere you look you see talented players. If you look at the player pool on offer to the US national team I think the A and B teams would compete with most teams across the world. I’m excited for next season to see what new talent emerges through and which teams come out fighting to win the championship.
As for Seattle Reign FC we will be working tirelessly to improve our club on and off the field throughout the off season, so we can push on from some of our good performances of last season. 2014 is going to be an exciting year!