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Thursday Roundup: The Reign to remain at Memorial Stadium for 2019

Also in today’s roundup, FIFA U-20 World Cup quarterfinal results and Michaela Hahn announces her retirement.

Memorial Stadium will remain the home venue of the Seattle Reign in 2019.

Memorial Stadium will continue to be the home of the Seattle Reign for the 2019 season, according to a report published Thursday by Sounder at Heart.

The team’s lease with the stadium, owned by Seattle Public Schools, was originally set to expire at the end of the current season, but owner Bill Predmore said that the school district had agreed to extend their lease for another season.

“We are excited to return for our sixth season in Memorial Stadium and are appreciative of the new scoreboard and other investments in the stadium recently made by Seattle Public Schools,” Predmore said.

A renovation of Memorial Stadium was previously announced as part of a plan to revitalize Seattle Center, which also included a renovation of Key Arena in hopes of attracting other professional sports franchises, specifically in the NHL and NBA, to the city. However, those plans seem to be on hold as an update this May centered on securing funding for the project.

The long-term goal for the Reign is to eventually move to a venue that will present the team with a more professional gameday experience and playing conditions.

“While fans and players have generally been understanding of Memorial Stadium’s rustic charm and history, we share their interest and ambition to someday play in a stadium capable of supporting a world-class experience,” Predmore added.

“Our players and fans deserve it, and as the league continues to grow and evolve, a modern stadium will be necessary for us to remain competitive on and off the pitch.”

Spain, France advance to U-20 World Cup semifinals

The first two quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup were played on Thursday, with Spain and France defeating Nigeria and Korea DPR respectively to advance to the semifinal round of the tournament.

Spain 2-1 Nigeria: Two goals in the first half and a strong defensive showing in the second were enough to earn Spain their first ever trip to the U-20 World Cup semis. Captain Aitana Bonmati struck first for the European side, scoring with a left-footed shot struck from the edge of the Nigerian box in the 12th minute. Patri Guijarro then doubled Spain’s lead after getting on the end of a free kick by Maite Oroz to score from close range. The goal was Guijarro’s fifth of the tournament.

Nigeria were able to prevent the shutout in the 56th minute courtesy of a goal from Peace Efih. Efih made a run towards goal before passing to Rasheedat Ajibabe on the left, but Spain netminder Catalina Coll made the diving stop. In doing so, however, she sent the ball right into Efih’s path, and the unmarked Nigerian easily sent the ball home into an empty net. Although the Super Falconets were able to get one goal back, they were unable to find a late equalizer and were eliminated.

France 1-0 Korea DPR: The hosts continued their undefeated tournament streak with a 1-0 quarterfinal win over North Korea. The lone goal of the match was scored in the 28th minute from the penalty spot after North Korea’s Ri Pom-Hyang was whistled for handling the ball inside the box. Amelie Delabre converted the spot kick for the game-winning goal, her fourth of the tournament.

The result was France’s third consecutive shutout of the tournament and sends them to Monday’s semifinal, where they will take on Spain. The last two quarterfinal matches will be played on Friday, with England squaring off against the Netherlands before Germany takes on Japan.

Michaela Hahn announces retirement

The Houston Dash announced on Thursday that midfielder Michaela Hahn had officially retired from professional soccer. The move is to allow Hahn to return to her alma mater, Florida State, where she will pursue her Master’s degree in sports management. She will also be working with her collegiate team, with whom she won the 2014 national title, during their fall season.

Hahn was acquired by Houston as a discovery player back in January but has failed to make an appearance for the Dash during her time with the club. She returned to the NWSL after a season playing abroad for Apollon Ladies FC in Cyprus. She played her rookie season with the Western New York Flash after being selected as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2016 season. She went on to score one goal in 13 appearances with the Flash during their NWSL Championship-winning season.


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