After three seasons with the Washington Spirit, Christine Nairn is heading back to Seattle Reign FC, the club for whom she launched her professional career in 2013. On Thursday the Spirit traded Nairn and the rights to goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel. In exchange the Spirit receive the rights to Havana Solaun plus the 3rd and 36th picks in January’s draft. The Spirit also acquired the Reign’s second round pick in 2018.
“I’m excited for Christine’s return to the club,” Reign head coach and general manager Laura Harvey said. “We felt it was the right time for Christine to come back to the club as we work towards achieving our ultimate goal. She played a key role in Washington’s success over the past three seasons and believe she can make a similar impact for our club.”
Nairn was the Reign’s first ever college draft pick in 2013 and started every match for the club as a rookie. The Penn State alum was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal inaugural season for the club. She was later traded to the Spirit in a move that help transform the Spirit as one of the returning parts was the discovery rights to Kim Little. Three years later, Nairn is back in Seattle where she will be charged with helping to replace Little who was recently transferred to Arsenal Ladies.
“I am very excited to come back to Seattle for the upcoming season,” said Nairn. “It has been one of the best organizations in the NWSL since day one. In my first year, I made such great relationships with everyone involved, so it makes it a very easy decision to return.”
On Solaun, the Spirit acquire the first piece in what looks to be a rebuilding project with Nairn joining Ali Krieger as regulars to have been traded since the club’s narrow loss in the NWSL Championship. She was a second round pick of the Reign in 2015 but missed the entire season due to a foot injury. Solaun returned to the field in 2016 but struggled to gain playing time in a crowded Reign midfield.
Schiffel was the 34th pick in the 2016 draft by the Spirit but spent the season in Norway.