So it’s been a little while since I wrote a blog for this site, but when you look at the squad we’ve been able to assemble at Seattle and the work we’ve put in during the off-season, you’ll see it’s been pretty busy here in the north west.
Bill (owner) and I sat down at the end of July and both asked the question, ‘How do we get to where we want to be?’ Which is to be one of the top teams in the world of women’s football.
We highlighted a number of areas that were key to our plan, such as setting an environment to match the targets set, while also making a list of names that we wanted to add to the squad.
We made two lists of names – the reality list, and the wish list – then it was a case of working to go and get them. I wouldn’t lie, Syd Leroux was very much on the wish list, but as we learned of her desire to move closer to home, she soon crossed over to the reality.
I’m really pleased with what we’ve been able to add. You’ll know about the players we’ve brought in already, but it was really important to add depth and versatility to what we had last year.
Players will be away with their national teams over the course of the season, which isn’t ideal, but we’ve brought in players who are versatile and can fill in when players are away. This is key for us in trying to be where we want to be.
The way the league is scheduled is unheard of in other countries, so it’s almost impossible to play the same eleven every game. Players will sit out, so more depth in the squad was really important and something we discussed last July.
Players like Bev Goebel, Kim Little and Danielle Foxhoven fit into this thinking almost perfectly, while the college players brought in are very much a long term project. I knew exactly who I wanted from the draft months ago, and thankfully, I managed to get pretty much everyone I wanted.
The squad is in a good place as we open the season this weekend and while we’re happy to do media and the social bits we’ve done on YouTube, we like to keep things very much behind closed doors when it comes to ironing out finer details for the team.
One thing we did do over pre-season was a photo shoot in our new kit, which was followed by training.
All players were told to hand back their jerseys after the shoot before getting into their training gear for practice.
Unfortunately, Nahomi Kawasumi, or as the players have christened her, Homie, didn’t quite get the message, so when we all go out for training, she’s stood there wondering why she’s the only one not in training gear. It was a funny moment, but a sign that she’s settling in well to the atmosphere here.
Needless to say, the donkey t-shirt is back!
Pre-season is obviously a little disrupted as the national team players missed the start due to the Algarve and Cyprus Cups and have only just come back again after friendlies and World Cup Qualifiers.
But we will be as ready and prepared as we can be going into the season and the first game against Boston.
The pressure is always on as people always expect you to win your first game. Everyone expects Portland to beat Houston, but you just never know.
We’re in a much better place than this time last year when we didn’t even have a cone for training let alone the stadium we have now, which is great and definitely somewhere we can call ‘home’.
I can’t wait for the kick-off on Sunday and I hope to see the stadium packed out throughout the season as we look to fulfil the potential that this squad has in abundance.
Thanks for reading