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Spirit trade USWNT star Lavelle to OL Reign ahead of Manchester City move

00:34 BST 17/08/2020
Rose Lavelle USWNT Women's World Cup 2019
The playmaker's rights will head to the Pacific Northwest side, who confirmed that a transfer to Europe is imminent

OL Reign announced they have acquired the rights to midfielder Rose Lavelle in a trade with the Washington Spirit, with the U.S. national team star expected to join Manchester City imminently.

The Spirit received a first-round draft pick in 2022 in the deal, along with $100,000 in allocation money, and additional allocation money conditioned upon Lavelle’s future playing status in the NWSL.

OL Reign confirmed that Lavelle would be leaving NWSL after the trade, with The Athletic reporting the midfielder will join Manchester City next week on a one-year deal with a mutual option.

"The agreement with Washington was made with the understanding that Lavelle is expected to sign an agreement to play outside the NWSL with immediate effect," OL Reign said in a statement. "As a result of the trade, OL Reign will control Lavelle’s future playing rights in the NWSL."

Following the end of the month-long Challenge Cup in July the NWSL currently has no more matches scheduled in 2020, though there are reports the league could return in some capacity next month.

As players look for guaranteed minutes outside the league, Lavelle will join USWNT team-mate Sam Mewis in trading NWSL for Man City, with Mewis signing a deal last week. 

“Our project with OL Reign is ambitious, which requires taking smart, strategic risks to achieve our objectives,” said OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti. “We all know that Rose is a special player, so for me this is a chance we had to take.

"I very much hope that we will have the chance to work with Rose in the future, and I am excited about supporting her as she works to achieve her destiny as one of the best players in the world.”

Lavelle spent three years with the Spirit but made just 21 appearances for the club as a combination of injuries, international duty and the Covid-19 pandemic reduced her time on the pitch. 

“Rose truly is a world-class player, and working with her has been an incredibly enjoyable experience," Spirit head coach Richie Burke said in a club release. 

"I can’t thank her enough for her work on behalf of our club and for the relationship we shared during our time together. I wish her the very best of luck and the good fortune to stay healthy as she moves into this next phase of her career.”

Lavelle has scored 12 goals and added seven assists in 45 appearances for the USWNT, including a Bronze Ball-winning performance in 2019 as the U.S. won their second straight World Cup title.