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Where EAST meets the Northwest


NWSL NEWS. Nahomi "Naho" Kawasumi (#36) will play the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League season with Sky Blue FC. The Japanese international was traded by Reign FC to Sky Blue in January. (AR Photo/Jan Landis)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #04 (February 18, 2019), page 8.

Naho Kawasumi traded to Sky Blue FC, Thorns announce preseason tourney

Nahomi "Naho" Kawasumi will play the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season with Sky Blue FC. The Japanese international was traded by Reign FC to Sky Blue last month.

Naho first joined the Reign in 2014 on loan from Japanese side INAC Kobe Leonessa, where she was the league’s second-leading scorer and was named league MVP in 2013.

During Naho’s first season in the NWSL, she scored nine goals, added five assists, and was named to the NWSL Best XI. Following Japan’s silver medal earned at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada and another two seasons with INAC, she signed again with Seattle in 2016. During the past three seasons with the Reign, Kawasumi appeared in 48 matches and recorded 14 assists, including a league-high nine assists in 2017.

"Nahomi has had over a decade of experience with the Japanese national team and her international experience alone is a huge asset for us," said Sky Blue head coach Denise Reddy. "In addition, she has had proven success in this league, success that we believe will transfer here to Sky Blue."

"The decision to trade Naho was made in conjunction with Naho and her representatives," said Reign FC owner and president Bill Predmore. "She expressed a need to maximize her playing time prior to the World Cup in 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. We agreed that Sky Blue FC would be in the best position to provide her that opportunity, so we worked hard to affect that outcome on her behalf."

Predmore praised Naho’s leadership, professionalism, tireless work ethic, and extraordinary talent, and added, "Naho has always played with a joy that is infectious and a quiet intensity deeply respected by all her teammates. She will be missed."

Also in NWSL news, the Portland Thorns have announced details of the Thorns Spring Invitational, which is scheduled for the final week of March at the University of Portland’s Merlo Field. The fourth-annual, four-team tournament features Thorns FC, the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team, Chicago Red Stars, and Reign FC.

The invitational kicks off on Sunday, March 24 with Reign FC facing the U-23s at 11:30am and the Thorns playing the Red Stars at 5:00pm. The mid-week matchups on Wednesday, March 27 pit Chicago against Reign FC at 1:30pm, followed by a 7:30pm match with the Thorns and U-23s. The final day, Saturday, March 30, features the Red Stars and the U-23s, with the evening match taking place at 7:30pm and highlighting the two Cascadia rivals — Thorns FC and Reign FC.

Tickets for the three preseason tournament matches featuring Thorns FC are general admission. Individual tickets are available for sale starting March 19 at <www.thornsfc.com>.

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