Reign FC names decorated English coach Laura Harvey to head new women's team
Laura Harvey, the manager of the Arsenal Ladies since 2009, has a "track record of consistently delivering brilliant results," said Reign FC owner Bill Predmore.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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For Laura Harvey, calling it "soccer" will take getting used to.
As will being called "coach" instead of "manager."
But coming from London to Seattle to become the first coach of Reign FC in the new National Women's Soccer League was an opportunity too exciting to pass up. Yes, even for someone who has won six trophies the past three years with the Arsenal Ladies, one of the world's most decorated women's teams.
Harvey's hire was announced Friday, two days after Reign FC released its team name and logo.
"Arsenal is a fantastic job, and I loved every minute of it," Harvey said in a phone interview from her native England. "I just thought I needed a change, and this was the right one for me."
Harvey, 32, brings a championship pedigree to a fledgling franchise. The Gunners, under her leadership, won the past three league titles in England, the past two Continental Cups and an FA Women's Cup.
Arsenal won three trophies in 2011, which led to Harvey being named FA Women's Super League coach of the year.
"Laura has the experience, talent and tenacity to drive our club to the highest levels of success," said Reign FC owner Bill Predmore in a news release. "Laura has proven that she can build a winning squad and has a track record of consistently delivering brilliant results."
Harvey's absence will be missed at Arsenal, where she started as an assistant coach in 2008 before taking over as head coach during the 2009-10 season.
"What she has achieved with this team — both in terms of the trophies she's won and the players she's brought through — has been remarkable," said general manager Vic Akers on the club website.
Since taking the Reign FC job, Harvey said her "phone has never been so busy."
"Everyone's really pleased for me," she said. "A lot of people were disappointed that I'm leaving the league in England and leaving Arsenal, but they see it, like myself, as a great opportunity."
Harvey, who has also served as an assistant coach with England's youth national teams, will finish final duties with Arsenal before coming stateside in the next month. A "blank canvas" at Reign FC provides some of the appeal to the new job, she said, as does a soccer-crazed city that has "a bit of a European feel to it."
"Soccer is so attractive over there that I think people want to support it — not just the men's side and the Sounders," Harvey said. "I think obviously last year the women's Sounders were playing and got a massive amount of support, as well. We just want to build on that.
"You look at the city as a whole and it's got soccer in its blood. We've got to build on that and show the people that we want to be successful within that."
• The NWSL will hold a four-round college draft Jan. 18 in Indianapolis.
The draft order will be determined by a blind draw. National team players will be allocated to teams beforehand by a third party, according to Equalizer Soccer.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers.