SANDY — Just over six months ago, Rachel Corsie hit a low point.
After a strong first season for the Seattle Reign in 2015, the defender and captain of the Scottish Women’s National Team was, due to injuries, limited to just 26 appearances in the 2016 and 2017 seasons and then underwent another knee surgery in her home country in January.
Then on the final day of the month, the Reign announced that it had waived her.
With Vlatko Andonovski having replaced Laura Harvey as Seattle’s head coach a few months earlier, Corsie had a feeling her time in the Emerald City might be coming to an end, but the call saying she had been waived still came as a surprise.
Out of a job, Corsie turned to rehab yet again, with thoughts that she might try to go back to Europe to play. But having returned to Seattle after surgery to gather her things and plot her next move, Corsie got a call from Harvey, who had been hired in November to lead the new Utah Royals FC side.
As preseason training opened Feb. 19, Harvey learned she would be without center back Brittany Taylor Kolmel, who had decided to step away from the game. Having been Corsie’s coach for the previous three seasons, Harvey felt the 28-year-old could succeed in Utah despite her injuries.
Corsie was officially added as a non-roster invitee, but was on the final roster as URFC opened the season Mar. 24 against the Orlando Pride.
Entering the third and final matchup of the regular season Saturday afternoon against the Reign at Rio Tinto Stadium, Corsie has had a rather remarkable season by any measure, but especially so considering the challenges she had dealt with for 18 months.
She has appeared in every game and is second on URFC’s roster in minutes played and has become a key cog in one of the National Women’s Soccer League’s best defenses. In consecutive weeks in July, she earned the fan-voted NWSL Save of the Week honors, a rarity for a field player to be nominated, let alone win even once.
On Aug. 3 she was named to the NWSL Team of the Month for July.
“I’ve felt this year has been a whole new fresh start,” she said earlier this week. “I’m proud of the way that that’s gone because I think even just confidence-wise I was really low at the start of the year, and I really wanted to prove that I was good enough to play here.”
Despite not having great confidence at the season’s outset, Corsie still had a feeling she had something left to give.
“I think it can be hard when you have long spells of not feeling your best,” she said. “You have to work so hard...I knew it was in there somewhere. I just hoped that I could still get it back and I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to play so many minutes this year and contribute.”
Harvey, for one, isn’t surprised by Corsie’s resurgence.
“I’m just pleased for her that she’s back to being able to show what she really can do, being injury-free, being super healthy, because that’s the Rachel of 2015 that you see now,” she said. “It’s just good to see that back.”
Entering Saturday, URFC is just one point back of a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot after two straight wins saved its season.
“We’re confident, especially at home,” Corsie said before Wednesday’s 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit. “We’ve been good at home. Teams find it difficult to come here, and that’s what we want. We know that, and we take confidence from that.”