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Sports

OL Reign moving back to Seattle

Female soccer players hug and cheer.
Ted S. Warren
/
The Associated Press
OL Reign players, from left, Lauren Barnes, Jessica Fishlock and Megan Rapinoe celebrate after the Reign beat the Portland Thorns FC 2-1 in an NWSL soccer match on Aug. 29, 2021, in Seattle.

OL Reign team executives announced the team's return to Seattle, where they will play at Lumen Field starting in 2022.

Seattle soccer fans, rejoice: OL Reign is returning to Seattle next year. The team announced its move from Tacoma on Wednesday at Lumen Field. That’s where they’ll move for all their home and playoff games this coming season.

"Over the last nine years, we've made some important, but ultimately incremental, upgrades," Bill Predmore, OL Reign's CEO, said Wednesday at a news conference. "I think in each case, we delivered improvements to the experience for fans and players. But you know, ultimately it all fell short of our ultimate objective, which was to have our world-class players playing in a world-class stadium."

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell were both in attendance at the conference.

"Today's a great day for women's soccer," Durkan said, adding that she sees this as a signal to the world of how Seattle will pave the way for women's sports.

Team executives partially attributed the move to the success of this summer’s doubleheader with the Seattle Sounders against their Portland rivals.

OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey wasn't sure if this day would ever come. Since its inception, the team has played in Tukwila at Starfire Sports Complex, at Seattle Center at Memorial Stadium and at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.

Harvey recalled painting the lines before games at Memorial Stadium, something she won't have to worry about anymore.

When OL Reign played its doubleheader over the summer, Harvey said the experience was everything they had ever dreamed of.

"I just remember [Megan Rapinoe] Pinoe saying at the end of the game, 'We deserve it. We deserve this.' And I believe that this team does. I believe this club does," Harvey said. "And I'm excited for what it can look like in the future because I think what everyone's already said, what the opportunity of playing in a world-class stadium like this can bring to this club is going to be unmatched."

Predmore said the Reign would continue to train in Tacoma and maintain partnerships with the community.