Rachel Corsie, a 26-year-old Scottish international defender who played most of her career at home with Aberdeen and Glasgow City before transferring last season to Notts County in the FA WSL1, has been a strong presence in the Seattle Reign defense in her first season in the NWSL. She has contributed two goals, one a game-winner on August 12 against the Houston Dash in a 2-1 victory at home before 6,021 fans.
Corsie said that she was pleased with how her transition to the Reign and the NWSL has gone since leaving the British Isles. She joined two former teammates in Seattle—2014 NWSL Most Valuable Player Kim Little, who she started playing with on national teams when she was 15, and Jess Fishlock, who joined her Glasgow City side after the 2013 NWSL season—but the entire team has helped her settle in as well and become a consistent starter in the weekly lineups. Corsie said that the NWSL’s physicality and quality of the players is a step up from the WSL back in England
She was a full-time player for the first time last season with Notts County, where she was acclaimed as one of the top center backs in the league, but some of the other players had jobs on the side, as it is a semiprofessional league. Corsie, a certified accountant who worked for Ernst and Young in Glasgow, was a part-time player at home in the Scottish League but is pleased with the full-time set-up in the NWSL.
“Everyone here is working full-time on their game and with the same ambitions,” she said. “We have a strict training regime every day.
“I feel much fitter and much sharper,” she continued. “Every team here [in NWSL] has a few world-class players and every game is a different challenge and everyone here looks forward to it. It’s so competitive and exciting…You play against so many quality players every week; it makes you more focused on what you need to do and your role and responsibility. You get away with small lapses of quality in other places but certainly not here. I get tested by quality forwards. Being able to concentrate and focus on the mental side of the game—it’s definitely pushed me and challenged me here and I enjoy getting that test.”
At the personal level, she has enjoyed Seattle, calling it “A cool place to live. There are so many big sports teams—Mariners, Seahawks as well as the Sounders–and such a big focus on the sport.”
Corsie is a core member of the Scottish national team’s central defense as they attempt to qualify for the European Championships finals in 2017, which would be their first-ever senior tournament finals. The Scots lost last fall, 4-1 on aggregate to the Netherlands in the Women’s World Cup playoff semifinals for a last UEFA spot in this summer’s World Cup in Canada.
Corsie would like to train in a full-time environment: “I hopefully will return to Seattle [in 2016] and then continue to play and work in the winter but it has to work for Seattle and Scotland.” She should know in the next couple of months if she can continue to play in the offseason.
Scotland was drawn into Group A with Belarus, Macedonia, Iceland and Slovenia. Scotland starts the group process off in Slovenia on Sept. 22, followed by four consecutive home games against their opponents from October thru next June. The eight group winners and the six best second-place sides advance to the 16-team Euro finals, expanded from 12 teams for the first time. The Netherlands will host the finals in the summer of 2017.
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