Women’s soccer in the US has had its share of fits and starts over the years, but there’s a league now, the National Women’s Soccer League, that despite its own share of idiotic, shortsighted decisions by some teams has taken a pretty decent foothold and really started to establish a base for professional women’s soccer in this country.
A big part of that is because many national team players - not just US team players, but players from all over - come to NWSL to play, and one of the most prominent examples of that was Scotland international Kim Little.
Little played for Arsenal from 2008-2013 before leaving the semi-pro ranks of the FAWSL for the fully professionalized, but very low-paying, NWSL. She ended up in Seattle, where the Reign (geddit? it’s a weather pun!) were coached by Laura Harvey, for whom Little played at Arsenal and who made Little her top transfer target once Harvey arrived in Seattle.
The partnership was as fruitful in Seattle as it was in London; in both 2014 and 2015, the Reign won the NWSL Shield, which for those who don’t follow American soccer is the equivalent of the MLS Supporters’ Shield, a trophy given to the team who amassed the most points in the regular season. In both those seasons, the Reign also finished as runners-up in the NWSL Championship playoff tournament.
On an individual level, Little was instantly dominant, helping the Reign go from last place in 2013 to the NWSL title game in 2014. She won several Player of the Month awards while scoring 27 goals in 47 appearances and turning Seattle into one of the top teams in NWSL. To cap it all off, earlier this year she was voted the BBC’s Women’s Footballer Of The Year.
Well, now that dominant, older, better Kim Little, in search of more playing time prior to Euro 2017, has returned to the club where she became a star, re-signing today with Arsenal Ladies, who play in the FA Women’s Super League, a semi-professional league. That league is in a bit of transition right now - they used to play in the summer, but starting next season, they’ll align with the men’s league and play from fall to spring.
To bridge that gap, there will be what is being billed as “The FA WSL Spring Series”, between February 2017 and May 2017, when each FA WSL team will play each other team once, then break until September, when the realigned season schedule will start.
So anyway, with all that as background - welcome back to London, Kim!