In the latest move to overhaul the team’s roster, Sky Blue FC has acquired midfielder Nahomi “Naho” Kawasumi from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for forward Shea Groom.
Kawasumi, 33, first joined the National Women’s Soccer League in 2014, playing for the Seattle Reign FC on loan from Japanese club INAC Kobe Leonessa. Following the season she returned to Japan only to be signed by the NWSL to play for the Seattle Reign FC on a full contract in 2016.
During the past three seasons, she has appeared in 44 matches and recorded 14 assists, including a league-high nine in 2017. Her 19 total NWSL assists are the second-most in league history, tied with Vanessa DiBernardo and just behind Tobin Heath and Christine Nairn, both of whom have recorded 20 assists.
“Naho has had over a decade of experience with the Japanese national team and her international experience alone is a huge asset for us,” said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue’s head coach. “In addition, she has had proven success in this league, success that we believe will transfer here to Sky Blue.”
Following the trade to Sky Blue, Kawasumi said, “I am looking forward to playing with my new teammates. I will do my best for Sky Blue and will work with the team for the championship.”
From 2008-16 Kawasumi came just shy of making 150 appearances for INAC, scoring 58 goals in the process. As part of the Japanese club, she won the Nadeshiko Division 1 league title for three consecutive years from 2010-13 and was named to the Best IX each season. In 2013 Kawasumi was named the Nadeshiko League MVP.
It was during the 2014 NWSL season that Kawasumi turned heads scoring nine goals and tallying five assists in just 20 matches for the Seattle Reign FC. After another two seasons with INAC, Kawasumi returned to Seattle where she remained a prominent piece in the team’s success.
Kawasumi made her first appearance for the Japanese national team in 2008 and leading up to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup she became a staple in the team’s midfield. It was in 2011 that she helped Japan win their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup championship.
The following year Kawasumi was part of the squad that finished second to the U.S. WNT in the 2012 London Olympics, receiving the nation’s first-ever silver medal for women’s soccer at the tournament. In 2015 Kawasumi nearly repeated history, as her squad made it to the final of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, ultimately falling again to the United States.
Since her first appearance with Japan, Kawasumi has played in 90 matches for her nation, scoring 20 goals.