Seattle Reign FC began the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League season a whopping 0-9-2, but a 5-1-1 record since that first victory in Boston on June 26 gives Seattle hope for the future.
Reign FC aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but it would take a small miracle for them to sneak into the postseason. Still, Seattle have played like a playoff contender since Hope Solo’s return from injury on May 26 and Megan Rapinoe’s addition (in late June) after a full spring with Lyon in France.
Solo took time this week while with Gatorade’s “Beat the Heat” hydration campaign to chat about her first couple of months back from March 7 wrist surgery:
Now a full two months back from your first game after wrist surgery, do you feel 100 percent?
I’m not playing at a level that I am happy with; that Tom (Sermanni) or Paul Rogers would be happy with, but I’m trying to be patient with myself. I’ve been out for five months, I’ve played (10 games, after Thursday’s win) with my Seattle team, with a new defense, too, so I’m coming back trying to learn new players’ tendencies, trying to learn a new defense. But also trying to figure out my timing again and my game-making decisions again. I’ve been off but it’s been more difficult this time with the wrist surgery to get back playing at this high level than it was with my shoulder surgery, and I do believe that’s because with my shoulder surgery, the World Cup was right around the corner.”
What is morale like right now in Seattle?
Because we dug ourselves a hole at the beginning of the season, we are at a point right now where we can’t tie or lose one more game. With that being said, the mindset of the team is to take it one game at a time. Before Megan Rapinoe and I came to the team, it wasn’t like the team was in shambles, it wasn’t like the team was losing games 3-0. They were putting on good performances, but having breakdowns here or there. This game against Kansas City (last Sunday) was the first time I really haven’t seen our team perform on any level, on the attack or defensively, which does happen from time to time with every team in every sport. But when Megan and I came on, it gave us more of an attacking presence with Rapinoe, and obviously I gave us some defensive shape. That’s not taking away from anything that the team established before we got here. We were a great team, we just weren’t getting the results.”
How critical has U.S. goalkeeper coach Paul Rogers been to your multiple comebacks?
Paul Rogers is by far the best goalkeeper coach I have ever had, I have ever seen or I have ever worked with. Coaches aren’t just great because they know how to coach, it is often because they know how to manage personalities and Paul knows how to manage me; he knows how to manage all of our goalkeepers. At the same time he has the best eye for the most minute details and we do video. He puts in the extra time, effort and work and he is the best goalkeeper coach. I don’t know where I would be without him.”