Seattle Reign FC head coach and general manager Laura Harvey said her club did not acquire Abby Wambach with the expectation that she will go back on her decision to sit out the entire 2015 NWSL season. The all-time international goal scorer was traded to the Reign with Amber Brooks and a 1st round pick in 2016 with Sydney Leroux and Amanda Frisbie headed back to the Western New York Flash.
“If you look into 2016, she may come back,” Harvey said. “No pressure from us, but we would love to have her here whenever that may be.”
Harvey said she spoke briefly to Wambach after the trade went down but that they did not get into the 2015 season and whether Wambach might play for the Reign after the World Cup. In an interview with Grant Wahl, one of the reasons Wambach gave for deciding to sit out the season was the difficulty in being so far from Portland, where she owns a home with her wife, former NWSL player Sarah Huffman. Seattle is an easy drive to Portland as opposed to a cross-country flight from Rochester.
“We haven’t done the trade thinking that her decision is going to change,” Harvey said. “There is going to be no pressure from us on that. We respect the decision she made to not play this year. She’s been very public about the reasons behind that and as far as we know that’s not going to change. Obviously if she ever decided to change that would be great.”
The Reign are due some financial relief for Wambach’s spot as an allocated player, but said the club will not take it until they are absolutely sure Wambach will not play this season.
The Equalizer has learned that Leroux did request a trade from the Reign and that at least one other team was involved in talks before Harvey elected to accept the offer from the Flash. Leroux and Wambach did not have to approve the trade.
The Reign also acquired Amber Brooks who never played for the Flash after being traded there by the Thorns over the winter. She will arrive in Seattle on Wednesday and provide additional options for all aspects of the midfield.
“She adds a different dynamic to our midfield,” Harvey said. “I thought when we her last year I thought she was one of the better performers against Kim (Little). It gives us even more flexibility to move people around now having an extra player in there. And Kim, obviously, you can play as an attacking midfielder or a little higher up the field.”
The NWSL Coach of the Year added that her newfound glut of midfielders could lend to the Reign spending more time in a four-midfielder setup as opposed to the 4-3-3 that was so prominent in 2014.