The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
SEATTLE, WA –- Seattle Reign FC are the state of Washington’s entry in the new National Women’s Soccer League. They are the first-ever fully professional women’s soccer club in state history. The Reign have a dedicated, growing supporters group who call themselves The Royal Guard.
RG sent us a look back at how they saw the club’s first-ever home match on May 4th. Read below! Visit them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TheRoyalGuardSG
First Decree: Thou shalt enjoy thy home opener
It was a beautiful night for SRFC’s home debut against FCKC on the Moda Health Pitch at Starfire Stadium. Before kickoff I got the chance to talk with ReignFC fans and the support was unbelievable! Fans from all over (even out of state) came to attend the inaugural home opener. Excitement filled the complex as people picked up their tickets, merchandise, and posters provided by Golazo. Energy was built in the air because the day we all have been waiting for had finally arrived. After talking with several supporters it was clear- passion reigns in Seattle. This passion is relative in the stands and on the field and is the fuel that will make Seattle the premier NWSL club.
The energy from the stands carried out onto the pitch. SRFC started strong, as did FC Kansas City. Both teams battled for possession. Feisty play from Seattle’s Jess Fishlock and Christine Nairn resulted in two early yellow cards. Both also took a knock in the first half that left them shook up, but soon to return to the field moments later. FCKC capitalized on a few errors made by SRFC that turned into cautious moments for the Reign backline, but Kate Deines and Emily Zurrer stood their ground and halted the FCKC attack. Seattle nestled into playing a defensive game for most of the first half. Michelle Betos was on her toes and made some quality saves. SRFC had a few chances on goal as well. The Seattle midfield found Tiffany Cameron on several occasions that caught FCKC’s defense off guard, but Nicole Barnhart was there to clean up her backline’s mistakes. Barnhart watched most of the match as possesion favoured FCKC, though both teams went into the locker room empty-handed at 0-0.
Seattle was the team to beat when the second half kicked off. There was a definite change in their mentality as they played with an attacking mindest. SRFC played many brilliant balls that were played through to their streaking forwards. Barnhart was there to protect her clean sheet though. Lauren Cheney showcased her footwork and won many balls from SRFC, which allowed Renae Cuellar to push forward. Momentum started for FCKC and in the 69′ Cuellar converted a goal on an assist from her centerback Becky Sauerbrunn who made a brilliant run up the right flank to get a touch inside for Cuellar. SRFC kept battle as the minutes wind down, but unfortunately could not find the back of the net.
Still searching for that first win, Reign fans applaud their “never say die” spirit. It’s SRFC’s vigilance that will continue to fill Starfire Stadium. Their drive for success is admirable and SRFC fans are proud to support a team with such heart.
Also, searching through social media, fans tune into Reign matches from all over- the East Coast, Mid West, Chile, and a strong support base in the UK. The ReignFC online stream has been credited as the best in the league, much to the relief of NWSL fans. The venue is top-notch and provides an intimate setting for players and fans alike. SRFC is on the right track to be the leading club in the NWSL and will set the standard for talent, venue, broadcast, and fan support. All great things arise at the right time. Seattle fans are here to back their Reign and when the times arrives, Seattle Reign FC will be a force to be reckoned with. —– Stephanie Van Slageren
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