Today the Seattle Reign FC announced that Megan Rapinoe has terminated her contract with Olympique Lyon and will be in the Reign’s preseason camp starting March 10th.
“I am grateful to Lyon for the opportunity they provided me and I will certainly miss all of my teammates and coaches in France,” said Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe. “I am excited to return to Seattle and play for an entire NWSL season. The league is the strongest in the world and Laura Harvey has assembled a world-class squad and created an environment in which I feel I can thrive.”
Rapinoe’s decision is a huge boost for the NWSL but also confirms what Equalizer Soccer reported last week regarding U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati saying it was “extraordinarily important” for USWNT players to play in the NWSL and making it a requirement:
… that’s important for the league, to have the best players playing in it. For Tom it makes the scheduling a lot easier – he met with them last week. And so the reason we made it a requirement that they’re here is for the league
This followed Chicago Red Stars and USWNT player Christen Press’s blog post last month detailing some reasons why US Soccer wanted the players to return from abroad and play in the NWSL:
US Soccer is also my employer. And they want their ‘Americans abroad’ to return to the NWSL in 2014 to help promote the league, raise the level, and lure both fans and top international players.
If it truly is a requirement for USWNT players to play in the NWSL, then Rapinoe’s announcement should be one of many we hear over the next couple of weeks.
UPDATE: The Women’s Football Podcast caught up with Rapinoe and she talked about her reasons for leaving Lyon, while also discussing the exciting future with Seattle Reign.