by Vanya Tucherov and Jeff Lageson
It’s not often that Reign FC general manager and head coach Laura Harvey takes to the podium following a major deal and doesn’t focus on discussing the departures or acquisitions, but such was the case Tuesday night, as the focus was on what was new – but not among the player personnel – as the team unveiled new road and alternate kits for the 2015 campaign at Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center.
Just a day after drawing commentary around the soccer world – and not just amongst fans of women’s soccer – by her exchange of US Women’s National Team forward Sydney Leroux Dwyer and highly regarded young defender/forward Amanda Frisbie with the Western New York Flash, netting in return the rights to 2012 Player of the Year and USWNT striker Abby Wambach, midfielder Amber Brooks, and the Flash’s first round draft pick in the 2016 entry draft, Harvey seemed reluctant to detract from the evening by discussing a player who has said that her focus is on the upcoming World Cup and that she plans to sit out the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League as a result.
Instead, the focus remained on the unveiling. The home and goalkeeper kits will remain unchanged: black with royal blue accents and the Moda Health logo in white for the home; purple with platinum and bright yellow chevrons on the sleeves and the white logo on the goalkeeper’s kit. Both returning kits feature the primary emblem on the left of the upper chest and the alternate logo in white at the back of the collar
Gone is the old road kit of white with navy accents and the red logo. It is being replaced by one comprising three horizontal bands – white through the shoulder yoke featuring the team logo on the player’s left, royal blue below providing visual contrast with the rest of the front of the body in platinum and a white back with the alternate crest of encircled crown in black at the collar.
This new road look strengthens the focus and branding around the palette of white, platinum, royal blue and midnight black, removing the darker navy blue and the red logo in favor of remaining consistent within the four main colors. The new alternate kit – making their first presences across the nine teams of the NWSL this season – is a radical and eye-catching departure.
Of the main colors, just the platinum and midnight black are retained in the alternate kit, with the team crest being recast in platinum and black in the customary location and sponsor logo in platinum. The layout parallels the road look, but in two bands rather than three – vibrant yellow through the yoke and back, and “ultraviolet” terminating the sleeves and the lower body.
With the unveiling complete, Harvey – flanked by team president and owner Bill Predmore and assistant general manager Mary Ann Ortweiler and joined by three representatives of primary sponsor Moda Health fielded questions, and fielded questions about her team. When asked how the squad would replace the goals scored by Leroux and Nahomi Kawasumi (on loan last season from INAC Kobe Leonessa, training with the Japanese team in preparation for the World Cup), Harvey quipped “Kim. And Kim…. And Merritt,” later noting that she had the Scottish international and former Arsenal Ladies star Little down “for about thirty-five goals this year.” It’s clear listening to Harvey talk about her team that she has a core cadre of trusted players and understands the need to at time sacrifice players to gain others to fill needs; and that she fully expects to be the team to beat in the upcoming campaign.
That sentiment is clearly shared amongst the squad. Stephanie Cox is primed for a title game rematch with FC Kansas City; Mariah Nogueira notes that as strong a side as the Reign were last season, the disappointment of dropping the final has only strengthened the resolve to work every day toward the goal of Shield and league crown.
Should Abby Wambach have a change of mind about playing in the NWSL following the World Cup, she’d join her national team compatriots Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe in being constantly intense and driven to excel on the field; but even with the national side call-ups absent from camp, the intensity hasn’t dropped off. In Solo’s absence, Haley Kopmeyer will log the lioness’ share of minutes in goal and comments that training with an athlete of Solo’s on-field focus and determination has sharpened her skills, noting that “Hope doesn’t just want to do it better, she wants to do it ten times better, and watching her in practice has the effect of making us all work harder,” adding that she’s feeling strong and confident with the team in front of her.
As we finish the preparation for the season, there is sure to be much to talk about concerning the Reign, extending far beyond what they wear on the pitch. Stay tuned here at ProstAmerika.com for news and recaps of the action around the defending NWSL Shield bearers.