OL Reign reset begins as Laura Harvey retakes the reins

OL Reign reset begins as Laura Harvey retakes the reins.

Laura Harvey took Seattle Reign FC to two NWSL Shields and Two NWSL Championship matches in her first run with what is now OL Reign.

She coached the startup Reign club for five seasons, leading it from a sluggish start to a club that challenged for trophies.  At the end of the 2017 season, she left to pursue other options.  Her shock departure from the club, still then in Seattle and with a loaded roster of talent, was a move that led her to another startup in Utah and international coaching opportunity.  The club had moved on, but much of a veteran core remained in place.  

When the Reign coaching position became open recently, Harvey was not immediately commented on as a likely return to the club.  Yet, after a couple short weeks under the helm of her former assistant Sam Laity, Harvey takes back a club full of promise, but lacking in points and success on the season.

The Reign have used the word “Bold” in much of their media and promotional materials throughout their existence. In bringing back Harvey, with a core of veterans and international talent and much of a season to play, this could very well end up being the case.

Although in 9th place in the standings as of taking charge after Laity’s final interim match, the actual gap in the standings from 4th to 9th is 6 points. There is a great cluster in the middle of the standings and a few three point results could quickly make up the ground.

Coach Harvey has commented about being a different coach and the journey she has gone on since leaving the club.  There is a real chance to right the ship this season should a winning run of even a few matches move the club up the standings.  With returning Olympians and the talent on hand, the job is not so much a rebuild as a reset. 

Reports are the contract is for 2021 through 2023.

Sam Laity to Replace Farid Bentisti as OL Reign HC

From the team’s press release.

TACOMA, WA (July 2, 2021) – OL Reign today announced that Farid Benstiti has resigned his position as head coach of the club with immediate effect. Assistant coach Sam Laity, who has been with the club since its inaugural season in 2013, will serve as interim head coach, beginning with tonight’s match in Houston against the Dash.

“We are appreciative of Farid’s many contributions to the club over the past 18 months and wish him the best in all his future endeavors,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore. “We have great respect for Farid’s talents and all he brought to the organization, but in our recent conversations there was a collective agreement that new leadership was required to achieve the performances and results needed to satisfy our ambitions.”

Benstiti was hired by OL Reign in January 2020 and led the club through twenty matches across four competitions, including the Challenge Cups in 2020 and 2021, the 2020 Fall Series, and the first seven matches of the 2021 NWSL Regular Season. Benstiti’s record during his tenure was 6 wins, 9 losses and 5 draws, including last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Gotham FC.