Seattle Reign Acquire Canadian Icon Diana Matheson

If all of the Seattle Reign’s departures and questions this offseason left anyone thinking that perhaps they would settle for a rebuilding season, those assumptions have been proven incorrect. Manager Laura Harvey has kept Seattle in the hunt for titles ever since her arrival, and 2017 will be no different. On Monday, the club’s latest move confirmed their desire to win now. 

The league announced that the Reign acquired Diana Matheson from the Washington Spirit in exchange for the right’s to their 2017 College Draft third-round pick, Arielle Ship, as well as Seattle’s 2018 third-round pick.

Matheson brings invaluable experience to Seattle. She’s been in the league for four years with the Spirit, and she’s Washington’s all-time attacking leader with 23 goals and 12 assists. 

Speaking about the move, Harvey stated: “Diana has proven over the four seasons in the NWSL that she is a top talent. She will bring experience, leadership and proven ability to our squad. We are really excited to bring Diana on board with our club and thankful she will be scoring goals for us and not against us!”

For readers who aren’t up to speed on their NWSL history, you may remember Matheson better from her time with the Canadian national team. She’s been a part of four World Cup teams and three Olympics, securing bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Games. Her arrival and knack for goalscoring will help ease the loss of former league MVP Kim Little. 


For Washington, however, they appear to be signaling a move towards a new version of the team after coming so close to winning it all in 2016. Losing the final in penalties to the Western New York Flash (now NC Courage), the Spirit enter the new season without former MVP Crystal Dunn, captain Ali Krieger, Estefania Banini, Christine Nairn, Megan Oyster and Matheson.

They will be hoping that the PAC-12 Player of the Year they’ve acquired from Seattle, Shipp, can have a breakout rookie season. Shipp scored 29 goals while at the University at California and will find it easier to break into the Spirit’s squad as they build a new attack. 

Jim Gabarra, Washington’s head coach, noted, “Ari is a player we believe can come in and challenge immediately for a starting spot just about anywhere in our attacking end. She’s a very creative player who provides that double threat of either providing a goal or scoring one herself. Ari is someone we feel has a long future as a professional, so this is another player who has the ability to contribute to the Spirit for many years to come.”

For 2017, the trade appears to heavily favor the Seattle Reign, but the Spirit clearly see something in Shipp to allow their record-holding attacking player to leave. The NWSL 2017 schedule is expected to be released in the coming weeks, and league action will begin in April. 

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