Seattle Reign FC opened their 2014 NWSL season with a shutout victory, something they failed to obtain in all 22 games last year. They followed that up with a convincing 3-1 win over the Washington Spirit on Wednesday that put the Reign atop the NWSL table, a very unfamiliar place.
Reign FC are expected to be vastly better than the squad the finished seventh of eight teams last year and started the season winless in their first 11 games.
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe didn’t join the club until the last match of that skid due to her contract with Lyon in France, and Hope Solo missed the first seven games in net after wrist surgery. Both of those players are with Seattle from the start of the 2014 season, and with a nearly completely turned over roster, the mood is a lot different this year in the Emerald City — and the results are already showing that.
“I kind of wiped last year and put it in the history books,” Solo said in a recent interview conducted by the team. “It felt right; it felt right to start off the year not just with a victory, not just with the team playing great, but of course with a shutout.”
“I have a completely different mindset going into season two with the Reign. I’m in a better mindset mentally, emotionally, of course physically. It’s different. This is a very true professional team in all areas, because of (Bill) Predmore, because of Laura (Harvey).”
Solo also had some interesting thoughts on U.S. coaches, while singing the praises of Reign coach Laura Harvey:
“You treat players as professionals and they are going to act as professionals. The three leagues that we’ve had that have come and gone, a lot of recycled coaches, a lot of typical American coaches. You’ve seen them around the game for a long time. Each coach has their own style, but I do believe they sometimes treat the players like kids.
“Laura’s a true manager. She knows how to manage personalities, she knows how to manage players and of course she knows how to do the tactical game on the field. I think that’s what makes Laura so different – she gets the ins and outs of what it’s like to be a professional soccer player.”
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