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Sleepless in Seattle: Reign’s uncharacteristically uncertain offseason

Photo Copyright Kyle Terada for USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Reign knew they’d be losing a generational player during this offseason. After all, tens of thousands showed up at Lumen Field to say goodbye to said player, Megan Rapinoe. What they didn’t know is that they would lose even more generational players and beloved team members. Combined with the incomplete sale, worry has spread among fans as a result.

Eight players from the 2023 squad that made it to the NWSL Championship match will not continue with the Reign in 2024. Though some of the losses are more impactful than others, they are all either major contributors or young players who were set to take on that role in the absence of others.

Players lost from 2023 roster (8): Elyse Bennett (Expansion Draft), Alyssa Malonson (Expansion Draft), Angelina (RFA -> Orlando Pride), Rose Lavelle (FA -> Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (FA -> Gotham FC), Marley Canales (Waived), Sam Hiatt (Trade -> Gotham FC), Megan Rapinoe (Retirement).

The club had spoken hopefully about re-signing U.S. women’s national team star midfielders Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett. When it was announced that both had signed long-term contracts with Gotham FC it didn’t necessarily come as a surprise but it was extremely disappointing.

Young Brazilian midfield talent Angelina also chose to leave the team—the restricted free agent signing with Orlando Pride. Promising young attacker Elyse Bennett was taken in the expansion draft and the purported center back of the future, Sam Hiatt, was traded away.

Suddenly, one of the Reign’s greatest areas of strength, its depth, particularly offensively, looked extremely thin.

The front office doesn’t necessarily share the same concern but they do understand where fans are coming from. General Manager Lesle Gallimore told The Equalizer that her message to fans is: “Trust us. Trust us that we’re doing everything we can to put ourselves in a position to be the club that they’re proud of.”

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