2014 was quite an interesting year in the Pacific Northwest. Despite the difficulties that came with a quarterback controversy and trying to schedule practices with players imported from Canada, the Seattle Mist still were able to attain a 2-1-1 record for last season. Now, with a group of returning veterans like Jessica Hopkins in addition to a host of new faces, Coach Chris Michaelson will look to take his Mist to new heights in 2015.

“We have a young team this year,” Michaelson stated, “that’s going to be the challenge.” Michaelson pointed out that, with their inexperience, these players will have to get acclimated to “game time scenarios” and the pace of play. “They’re going to have to learn that there are little things that come with the game like the speed, the rules and the physicality.

Among the rookies who are looking to make their mark this season is Kadi Findling. According to Michaelson, Findling is currently a “front-runner” to start at quarterback for the Mist. While she is new to the game, she is not letting it stop her from making an impact. Michaelson said about her abilities as a leader, “Her leadership is phenomenal for a rookie. She’s definitely stepped into the role.” As to her play he remarked, “She’s actually picked up my offense a lot faster than what I had anticipated.” With all of that, Michaelson said he was “happy and confident” with the quarterback position right now.

One thing that rookies like Findling and veterans alike will have to be prepared for is the increase in games. This season, LFL USA teams will go from playing a four game to a six game slate. While Michaelson loves that there are more games on the schedule, he did admit that “It’s going to hurt us.”

He explained this saying, “We’ve been begging for more games for years, but, with a lack of depth, that could be problematic.” His hope is that, through more recruiting a focus on conditioning and efficient rotations that he will have more bodies and a roster of players ready for the grind of the season. One particular stretch that the Mist will have to be ready for is between May 29 and June 21 when they play their first three games of the season in a four week stretch. This includes back to back games vs. the LA Temptation.

With all of this going on, Michaelson will be relying heavily on his veterans to help guide the Mist this season. About his vets specifically he said, “They allow the stability of the team itself and for the rookies to rally around them.” Beyond that, Michaelson also wants his veterans to provide the rookies with the confidence they need going forward and to lead the team by their example. Along with mainstays like Hopkins (2014 DPOY nominee), Michaelson also called upon Megan Hanson and Lily Granston (2014 DPOY Nominee) to step up as leaders.

When it came to what they will look to do on either side of the ball, Michaelson mentioned some key goals. One of his major focuses was to “win the turnover battle.” On offense this meant keeping turnovers to a minimum or (even better) being turnover free. On defense, creating turnovers was the objective. Dictating and controlling the tempo was something else he wanted to see for his offense and defense.

With their first game not happening until May 29, the Mist still have time to ready themselves for 2015. While they did have another winning season in 2014, they were not able to advance into the postseason. With a stable of veterans, a group of rookies hungry to show their talents and a home field Michaelson described has a “hostile environment,” the Mist will head into this season ready to battle in what looks to be a tough Western Conference.