There may not have been the same European influx to the new American National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) as to its two defunct predecessors, but there is a clear British influence at Seattle Reign FC.
English manager Laura Harvey left Arsenal LFC to take change of the new club for their launch at the start of the year. And among her squad is Wales midfielder Jessica Fishlock, signed in February from Bristol Academy WFC after a cosmopolitan career that has also featured spells in the Netherlands and Australia.
Seattle, deprived of their marquee allocated players Hope Solo, Amy Rodriguez and Megan Rapinoe at the beginning of the season for various reasons, have struggled early on – drawing their first game at Chicago Red Stars then losing eight in a row. But Fishlock, back in Europe this week on international duty, believes things can turn around.
"I think the league table is lying a little bit in regards of the way we play and the way we have been playing," Fishlock told UEFA.com. "We've been playing some great stuff. I think the last three, four games we have definitely deserved some wins, certainly not all losses.
"But at the end of the day, as much as it does lie, it also doesn't lie, we haven't scored many goals and we've conceded goals – we have to take responsibility for that. But we are not panicking and people may say, 'What, how can you not?' But we know what we are doing is right and that we are doing a good job, that's why we are not panicking at all."
Fishlock, who has UEFA club competition experience with Cardiff City LFC, Bristol and AZ Alkmaar, had never previously played under Harvey – whose Arsenal side beat Academy in the 2011 FA Women's Cup final – but she has been impressed by her English manager. "I only knew her from playing against Arsenal, I hardly knew her to speak to," Fishlock said. "It's really good and I really like her a lot.
"She's a great coach, she has great enthusiasm about football. She is quite similar to the way I think as well. She's helped me loads, I've learned a lot from her, and I look forward to continuing to play with her and learning and hopefully achieving with her in the future."
Although the pregnant Rodriguez and Rapinoe – who spent the spring at Olympique Lyonnais – have not yet played for Seattle, United States goalkeeper Solo has recovered from wrist surgery to line up alongside Fishlock, to the 26-year-old's excitement. "I'm not going to lie, I was trying to pinch myself when she first came into the changing rooms and started training with us," Fishlock said.
"I remember watching her train and she is phenomenal in the way she works and does her job. She's a lovely person as well and that is always nice to see in someone who is as big as Hope. She's absolutely lovely as well as being a world-class goalkeeper so it is really good to work with her and I am looking forward to continuing to work with her."
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