TACOMA, WASH. – Reign FC announced the signing of forward Sofia Huerta, defender Amber Brooks, and defender Julia Ashley today. All three players are under contract through the 2022 NWSL season. As per league and team rules, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Huerta is currently playing with Sydney FC in the Australian W-League, where she has three goals in 12 starts for the club. Over five seasons in the NWSL, the midfielder has 113 appearances for Chicago and Houston in the regular season and playoffs, scoring 32 goals in those games.
The Idaho native also has seven caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team dating back to 2017, having switched her affiliation after making four appearances for the Mexican national team.
“I’m really looking forward to being a part of Reign FC,” Huerta said. “The club has such a great reputation and I’m excited to help contribute on and off the field in any way that I can. Ultimately, my goal is to be the best player and person I can be and I’m extremely confident that the Reign will help me achieve this. I’m also so excited that I’ll be back in the Pacific Northwest, close to where I grew up.”
Brooks, 29, made 12 appearances and scored one goal for Reign FC during the 2015 season, helping the club claim its second NWSL Shield. Brooks spent four seasons with the Houston Dash before her return to Reign FC. The defender is happy to be back in the Puget Sound.
“I am really excited to rejoin Reign FC this season,” Brooks said. “The quality of coaching, players, and professionalism at the club is top notch and what I want as a player to continue pushing my career forward. When I was last a part of Reign FC, I remember the family environment and high standards that produced a winning culture and successful season, so I am looking forward to experiencing that once again. The Reign FC fans are so supportive and enthusiastic so I can’t wait to be someone they are cheering on.”
Brooks played every minute of the regular season for Houston in 2019 and spent the NWSL offseason with Australian W-League side Adelaide United.
Brooks said that while the club has undergone changes in recent years, the core values of Reign FC make it an attractive place to play.
“There have been a lot of changes with the club as far as moving to Tacoma, coaching staff, and player turnover, but Bill and Teresa and the veteran players have always ensured the club identity and values remain,” Brooks said. “I think Reign FC has already set the standard for being one of the best women’s clubs and with the addition of the OL ownership, the future of the club on and off the field is limitless. I am looking forward to giving my best, learning from the best, and making an impact as we reach our goals as a team.”
The sixth overall pick at the 2019 NWSL College Draft, Ashley spent her first professional season abroad playing for Linköpings FC in the Swedish Damallsvenskan. Ashley is currently playing for Adelaide United in the Australian W-League, where she has made eight appearance for the club.
Ashley was a four-year starter at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was named to the Freshman All-ACC Team in 2015 and helped lead the Tar Heels to a College Cup final in 2018.
“I can’t wait to fly back to the U.S. and get started with the Reign,” Ashley said. “I am looking forward to meeting with the coaching staff, my new teammates, and getting acclimated in Tacoma.”
Additionally, Reign FC announced today that goalkeeper Lydia Williams and midfielder Rumi Utsugi, who were out of contract following the 2019 season, will not be returning to the club in 2020.
Williams spent three seasons with Reign FC, making 20 starts for the club. She posted a 9-4-7 record and a 0.76 goals-against average in those appearances. During the 2018 season Williams anchored a backline that featured the second-best GAA (.792) in NWSL history. In 2019, the Australian keeper was limited to one appearance for the club due to World Cup duty and an injury that required a stint of the 45-day disabled list.
Utsugi spent four seasons with Reign FC. She made 47 appearances for the club, scoring three goals and assisting on three more. In total, the Japanese international played 3,763 minutes, helping the club make back-to-back postseason appearances in 2018-19.
“We will all miss Rumi and Lydia and wish them both the best,” said Predmore. “They were incredible professionals, fantastic talents, and important individuals in our squad. They will be long remembered by our club and supporters for their contributions during their time with the team.”