United States women’s national team star Rose Lavelle is trading coasts. Scratch that, countries.
The Washington Spirit midfielder’s rights were acquired by OL Reign, the team announced Sunday. Washington will get a draft pick, allocation money and the potential for more in the trade. Shortly afterward, Meg Linehan reported for The Athletic that Lavelle will in fact play for Manchester City in the FA Women’s Super League.
The Reign noted in their announcement that Lavelle was expected to play overseas and she is part of their “long-term vision for the squad.”
Rose Lavelle traded to OL Reign
OL Reign acquire a player who won the Bronze Ball during the United States’ World Cup win in 2019. The Spirit will receive the team’s natural first-round draft pick for the 2022 college draft and $100,000 in allocation money, per the team.
Additional allocation money will be part of the trade dependent on Lavelle’s playing status in the NWSL. OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore referenced the possibility Lavelle, 25, won’t play in the immediate future in a statement.
“Rose is an incredible talent that we believe has all the attributes to be the best player in the world. While we would have loved to have Rose join our club today, she fits perfectly into our long-term vision for the squad. It was the vision of Jean-Michel [Aulas] and the support of OL that made this deal this possible for our club. We are willing to make the necessary short-term sacrifices, exercise the needed patience, and do whatever work is required to realize our goal of bringing Rose to OL Reign in the future.”
The OL Reign roster boasts Megan Rapinoe, Allie Long, Sofia Huerta and Jessica Fishlock.
Future in the NWSL a question
The trade was made with the knowledge that Lavelle “is expected to sign an agreement to play outside the NWSL with immediate effect.” There have been rumors that she is considering signing with Manchester City, where fellow USWNT star Sam Mewis signed to play late last month. That became a reality after the Spirit/Reign trade was finalized on Sunday.
It is a one-year contract with a mutual option, per Linehan. Lavelle and Mewis can head to England immediately with the NWSL tournament in Utah completed. As Linehan noted last month, the disruption caused by COVID-19 could be a major cause of the moves. The sports that have gotten underway with the most success in the United States have been in a bubble, and there’s no guarantee the NWSL will start on time in 2021. Other countries have dealt with the pandemic better.
If the league does start on time, Lavelle will miss a few months of games and would not return to the States until after the Olympics, which are currently scheduled for July 2021.
It’s not all too uncommon for USWNT players to go abroad, though there are stipulations in their contract with U.S. Soccer that regulate that. The federation strongly encourages players to stay home in the NWSL. A thriving product at home will only further grow the game.
The European leagues run fall to spring and the NWSL plays the opposite schedule (spring to fall).
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