Jenkins, 23, is a graduate of UCLA, where she scored 29 goals in 76 appearances for the Bruins. Her college career was cut short when she fractured her fibula in a brutal injury toward the end of her senior season. At the time, Jenkins was leading the Pac-12 with seven goals, five game-winning goals, and 17 points. She was drafted by North Carolina in 2017 with the 7th overall pick, but missed that season recovering from the leg fracture.
Jenkins made 14 appearances for North Carolina during the 2018 season, primarily as a sub. She also made two appearances for the Courage in the Women’s International Championship Cup, scoring her first professional goal with a game-winner over PSG.
“Darian is a player I’ve had my eye on for a long time. She was a dynamic goal scorer in college and has great potential to be an impactful player in the NWSL,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski in a club release. “She will add a new dimension to our attack and will add needed depth to our squad, especially during our games during over the World Cup.”
With the trade for Jenkins, Reign FC has relinquished its last remaining pick the 2019 NWSL College Draft, which will be held on January 10, 2019. The draft pick that Seattle gave up for Jenkins was actually one that Reign FC acquired from NC last year in a trade for Merritt Mathias, which also sent a second-round draft pick to the Courage for 2019.
The rest of Reign FC’s 2019 draft picks were given away in key trades last season. Seattle traded its natural 1st round pick to Orlando in return for Orlando’s 8th and 11th selections in the 2018 Dispersal Draft, which Seattle utilized to select Elizabeth Addo and Morgan Andrews. Reign FC traded its natural 3rd round pick as part of a trade that sent Haley Kopmeyer and Carson Pickett to Orlando in exchange for Steph Catley and Jasmyne Spencer. Finally, the club sent its natural 4th round pick to Sky Blue FC in return for Canadian international forward Adriana Leon.
While the most recent move might feel a bit lopsided in North Carolina’s favor, Jenkins will bring some important depth to Seattle’s attack. The forward has been stuck behind players like Crystal Dunn, Lynn Williams, and Jessica McDonald in North Carolina — limiting her minutes and making her mostly a late-match sub for the Courage. She only played 179 minutes in 2018. In Seattle, Jenkins could be competing for starting time, especially when players report for international duty leading up to and during the World Cup.