When OL Reign has their first Challenge Cup match on April 16, they’ll be without a few key players who received international call-ups during FIFA’s April international window. Jess Fishlock, Karen Bardsley, Megan Rapinoe, Nicole Momiki, and Quinn will join their respective national teams for a few weeks.
These national team games will take place between April 8 - April 13 and will be important matches for the national teams that qualified for the Olympics.
OL Reign certainly is not the only team losing a few players in April. After a significantly reduced 2020 season, the league scheduled the 2021 Challenge Cup as a way to build excitement for the regular season, knowing it overlapped with international dates. With this schedule in mind — and the Olympics still on the horizon this summer — OL Reign assembled a deep and large roster for 2021. The team currently has 26 players on the roster, and that doesn’t include Ally Watt and Kelcie Hedge, who are still on the season-ending injury list as they recover from ACL tears.
OL Reign forward Megan Rapinoe will represent the United States for two matches in Europe: first against Sweden on Sunday, April 10, and then against France in Le Havre, France, on Tuesday, April 13. The Sweden match will air on FOX, while you can catch Rapinoe and the USWNT against France on ESPN2.
Forward Nicole Momiki has been called in to represent Japan, where she has made 33 senior team appearances and scored 10 goals. Momiki and Japan will face Paraguay on Thursday, April 8 and Panama on Saturday, April 10. Both matches will take place in Japan.
Quinn will face off against their OL Reign teammates in two matches in the UK. Canada will take on Jess Fishlock and Wales on Friday, April 9, and will then face Karen Bardsley and England on Tuesday, April 13. Canada is still working out broadcast details for these matches. Wales will also face Denmark on Tuesday, April 13. Before their match against Canada, England will go up against France on April 9.
While these international matches will put these five OL Reign players out of the initial Challenge Cup match, they should still be able to feature in the club’s remaining matches on April 21 against the Portland Thorns (perhaps in a limited role), April 27 against the Chicago Red Stars, May 3 against KC NWSL, and possibly in the Challenge Cup final if they qualify. The regular season will begin shortly after that.
OL Reign - International Match Schedule
Thursday, April 8
- Japan (Nicole Momiki) vs. Paraguay – Yurtec Stadium, Sendai, 12:30 AM PT
Friday, April 9
- Canada (Quinn) vs. Wales (Jess Fishlock) – Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, 10:00 AM PT
- France vs. England (Karen Bardsley) – Stade Michel d’Ornano, Caen, 12:10 PM PT
Saturday, April 10
- Sweden vs. USA (Megan Rapinoe) – Friends Arena, Stockholm, 10:00 AM PT, FOX
- Japan (Nicole Momiki) vs. Panama – Japan National Stadium, Tokyo, 9:30 PM PT
Tuesday, April 13
- England (Karen Bardsley) vs. Canada (Quinn) – Bet365 Stadium, Stoke, 11:15 AM PT
- Wales (Jess Fishlock) vs. Denmark – Leckwith Stadium, Cardiff, 11:15 AM PT
- France vs. USA (Megan Rapinoe) – Stade Océane, Le Havre, 12:00 PM PT, ESPN2