After excelling for PSG in France, Canadian youngster Jordyn Huitema appears to be days away from making a return to North America, where she will ply her trade as an important member of OL Reign’s attack. News broke on Thursday thanks to The Athletic’s Meg Linehan, following Reign’s recent signings of veteran Tobin Heath and Arsenal’s Kim Little on loan. Expected to be more of a long-term signing to improve upon Reign’s attacking horizons, Jordyn Huitema provides the perfect mix of pace and pizzazz to Laura Harvey’s team. Here is why Jordyn Huitema could be set to ignite the NWSL on fire.
OL REIGN’S STRIKING NEEDEmbed from Getty Images
Ever since Jodie Taylor departed in 2020, OL Reign have been without a natural goal-scoring presence up front. They’ve relied on the services of the young Bethany Balcer to fulfill the role up top, and even secured a short-term loan for 33-year-old France international Eugenie Le Sommer in 2021. But even despite Balcer’s decent scoring form and ability to hold the line and link up with her teammates, greater reinforcements are still needed up front for Laura Harvey’s team. Rose Lavelle remains the team’s top scorer in 2022, on just 2 goals in 8 matches. Balcer bagged 9 back in 2021, but sits on just a single goal so far in 2022. With just six goals thus far, the team rank second last on goals per game (0.8), ahead of only NJ/NY Gotham. That’s where the arrival of Jordyn Huitema could be so integral to Reign’s continued success in 2022, in providing a natural goal-scoring presence up top to bang in the goals.Embed from Getty Images
Simultaneously, OL Reign need to ensure that any new signing won’t disrupt the flow and harmony of their attack. Harvey’s team are excellent at playing through the thirds and chemically creating attacks through patience and skill, with Balcer often operating with her back to goal. A new signing needs to be able to hold up the play and create chances for others, whilst improving upon Balcer’s record in front of goal. Fortunately, Jordyn Huitema provides the perfect mix of scoring form and elegance in possession, ensuring she will be a valuable weapon for Laura Harvey’s team.
HUITEMA’S KEY CHARACTERISTICSEmbed from Getty Images
With electric pace, panache in possession and an expert eye for goal, Jordyn Huitema possesses all the important qualities of a modern-day ‘number nine’. At 5’10, she thrives off crosses and deliveries into the penalty area, where her excellent timing of movement can match her strong heading power and proficient finishing. Given that Reign often like to funnel crosses into Balcer’s head and use her as a target, this quality will serve Huitema well in supporting her teammates. No team in the NWSL have crossed the ball successfully more times than Reign (7.3 per game), or delivered more accurate long passes (28.1) according to FotMob. A player who boasted an aerial duel success of 73% in the UWCL last season provides the perfect fit for the club, allowing Laura Harvey to continue operating in the exact same way even if Balcer makes her way out of the starting eleven.Embed from Getty Images
Fully capable of holding up the ball and skillfully playing around an opposition defense, the Canadian forward offers an option that can continue to operate within Reign’s principles of play, just with greater poise and power in front of goal. In fact, scoring is one of the Canadian’s top characteristics. She netted 6 goals with 2 assists in 7 games in last season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League. With just 42 minutes per game, she scored in every 50 minutes of action, with a 33% goal conversion.
Playing more as a supporting cast member in Division 1 Féminine, the 21-year-old will be hoping to carry over her excellent scoring form into the NWSL as more of an out-and-out starter should that role become available to her. At the very least, her exceptional timing of movement into space to receive progressive passes means that she will be guaranteed goals in the NWSL. With her versatility to play anywhere in the front-line, there’s no reason why Huitema shouldn’t be a consistent starter for Harvey’s team.Embed from Getty Images
When it comes to the defensive side of the game, the 21-year-old possesses the mobility and power to fulfill Harvey’s energetic pressing style. Reign have boasted one of the most efficient presses in the NWSL so far in 2022. They’ve won possession in the final third more times than any other team (8.9 per game), whilst ranking second to Houston on successful tackles per game (14.9). Huitema has all the necessary tools to carry on that mentality, winning 70% of her duels in last season’s UEFA Champions League.
All ends up, Jordyn Huitema provides an excellent reinforcement to Laura Harvey’s team, and should help to improve upon their dismal goal tally at the start of 2022. The Canadian forward thrives off crosses into the box, perfectly fitting Reign’s style of play. But concomitantly, she offers greater poise and presence in front of goal than Reign’s current options, which should in turn make her an easy favourite for Harvey. The move is yet to be finalized, but should Jordyn Huitema secure her move to the NWSL, Reign are destined for vast improvements in the 2022 season.
So there it is! Why Jordyn Huitema is perfect for OL Reign. Be sure to check out more of our NWSL articles, Player Analyses, and follow on social media @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
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