Seattle Reign FC has often proved unafraid of making big moves, and that trend continued Monday in perhaps the biggest trade in National Women’s Soccer League history.
Seattle, in a blockbuster transaction, acquired U.S. women’s national team star Sydney Leroux from the Boston Breakers for midfielder Kristie Mewis — a fellow U.S. international — backup goalkeeper Michelle Betos and its top two picks in the 2015 draft.
Leroux, 23, scored 11 goals last season, tied for second in the NWSL. She added 10 goals in a breakout year with the national team, including four against Mexico on Sept. 3.
Laura Harvey, Reign general manager and coach, called Leroux one of the world’s best forwards.
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“She is a young, extraordinary talent with unlimited upside,” Harvey said. “Sydney will be the consistent goal-scoring threat that we struggled to find last season.”
Goals were the major issue in 2013. Seattle scored four goals in its first 10 games, notably without U.S. standout Megan Rapinoe, who was on loan in France.
Rapinoe is set to miss the first half of 2014 for the same reason, but Leroux provides the firepower — not to mention the star power — to make up for it.
“This will be a big change for me, but one I am really excited about,” Leroux said.
A native of British Columbia, Leroux said she is looking forward to being closer to her family in the Northwest. The former UCLA star played for the Sounders Women during their star-studded summer of 2012.
Mewis, 22, was acquired in an offseason trade last month with Kansas City and never played for the Reign. Betos, 25, started seven games last year when Hope Solo was out injured.
“The trade for Sydney is a massive step in the right direction, but only one of several moves we intend to make before the start of the season,” Reign owner Bill Predmore said. “Our supporters should expect more good news in the days and weeks ahead.”
Osvaldo Alonso was named Sounders FC’s most valuable player for the fourth straight season, the team announced Monday. The award was voted on by the midfielder’s teammates.
Former goalkeeper Kasey Keller is the only other player to have won the award, claiming the honor in 2009.
Seattle went 13-7-6 with Alonso in the lineup this year and 2-5-1 without him. The 28-year-old Cuban-American was named an MLS All-Star for the third consecutive season and became the first player in franchise history to log 110 starts, 120 appearances and 10,000 minutes.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.