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Seattle Reign FC Signs Japan National Team Midfielder Rumi Utsugi

Seattle Reign FC has announced that the club has signed Japanese international midfielder Rumi Utsugi, pending receipt of her International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Utsugi will arrive in Seattle upon completion of her current contract with French side Montpellier HSC. It is expected that Utsugi will be available for selection in Reign FC’s match against the Western New York Flash on July 9.

Utsugi, 27, has amassed 87 caps representing the Japan Women’s National Football Team. Utsugi was in the squad for the 2007, 2011, and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, taking home the World Cup trophy in 2011 in Japan’s 3-1 penalty shoot-out win over the U.S. Women’s National Team. Utsugi played every minute in six of Japan’s seven matches in their 2015 World Cup campaign, firing of off four shots during the historic championship match against the US Women’s National Team on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. Utsugi was also a member of the Japanese squad that won the 2014 Women’s Asian Cup, defeating Australia 1-0 in the championship final on May 25, 2014 in Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam.

Utsugi’s professional career started in Japan in 2004, where she played six seasons for NTV Beleza. In 2010, Utsugi signed on with Montpellier HSC of Division 1 Féminine – the first Japanese player to play in the French top division. During her six seasons with Montpellier she recorded 19 goals over 101 appearances in league play, with 798 minutes and one goal over 12 appearances throughout the 2015-2016 season. Montpellier finished the 2015-2016 season third in Division 1 Féminine on 71 points, behind PSG and league-winner Lyon. Utsugi led Montpellier to four league cup finals in 2012, 2014, 2015 and most recently on May 15, 2016, when the club fell 1-2 to Olympique Lyonnais.

“It is a dream to play in a country ranked #1 in the world in women’s soccer. I have decided to challenge myself to play in this country,” said Utsugi. “Seattle Reign FC is a young team with enormous potential. I want to contribute to Reign FC’s potential to go even farther in the league. I’m looking forward to joining the team.”

“We’ve had our eye on Rumi since the World Cup last year. She had a terrific tournament and showed she can perform in high-pressure situations against some of the world’s most talented players and teams,” said Reign FC general manager and coach Laura Harvey. “We believe Rumi’s experience with Japan and Montpellier make her well-suited to our style of play. She’ll add experience and depth to our midfield and backline, something that will be very helpful given the number of injuries we’ve been dealing with this season. We’re really excited to have her with the club.”

Rumi Utsugi

Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-6
Born: December 5, 1988 in Kanagawa, Japan
Former Club: Montpellier HSC

On Sunday, June 12 at 4:00 p.m. PT, Reign FC will return home to Memorial Stadium to face the Houston Dash, who feature Carli Lloyd, the 2015 FIFA Player of the Year. Tickets to the match begin at $18 and can be purchased by calling (855)-REIGN-FC or by visiting reignfc.com/dash.

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