The curious case around OL Reign goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce has reached a conclusion. She is now a Manchester United player.
With England's transfer window closing on Thursday ahead of the upcoming Women's Super League season, OL Reign agreed to terms on a transfer fee to send their former starting goalkeeper to Manchester United.
“Phallon is someone who we value and has achieved quite a lot both on and off field during her time here. We worked with Phallon and Manchester United to make sure all parties were satisfied with the move and once we got to an agreement, everything moved pretty quickly. We will be forever grateful for Phallon’s achievements with OL Reign and wish her all the best in the WSL," said OL Reign General Manager Lesle Gallimore in a club press release.
Although financial terms were not disclosed per NWSL and club policy, sources have told Ride of the Valkyries that the transfer fee is nearly $160,000 with additional potential performance bonuses, which breaks the prior record for a goalkeeper transfer, set when Kailen Sheridan moved from Gotham FC to San Diego Wave ahead of the 2022 season for $130,000.
Tullis-Joyce's tenure with OL Reign ends with 47 appearances (46 starts) across all competitions and the club's all-time record for clean sheets with 13. Tullis-Joyce joined OL Reign halfway through the 2021 season, coming from French club Stade de Reims. She became the starting goalkeeper for the 2022 season, claiming 9 clean sheets and becoming a finalist for the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award. Off the pitch, Tullis-Joyce was an instant fan favorite as she shared and educated fans about marine biology through a series of entertaining, self-produced vignettes and holding dive talks at local aquariums.
Even with OL Reign's struggles to get results as of late in a very tight, every-game-matters NWSL playoff race, it seemed unthinkable just weeks ago that Tullis-Joyce would be departing with only a few matches left to go in the NWSL regular season. When she was dropped as the starting goalkeeper and relegated to serve as backup to Claudia Dickey for OL Reign's August 27th match at Angel City FC, fans certainly raised their eyebrows.
After that 2-1 loss, OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey said the change was to give Dickey a start based on her performance in the group stage of the NWSL Challenge Cup, where she claimed a clean sheet in all three starts. Dickey would once again be the starting goalkeeper with Tullis-Joyce as backup in the club's 1-0 victory over Orlando Pride the following week. In the NWSL Challenge Cup semifinal against Racing Louisville, Laurel Ivory got the nod, with Tullis-Joyce once again on the bench as backup goalkeeper.
In her post-match press conference following the team’s win over Orlando, Harvey was asked if Dickey had surpassed Tullis-Joyce as the starting goalkeeper. Her answer was this:
"I'm not sure I'm ready to say that. I think I've said all year that all three are exceptional, and they are. I knew making that change going into last week's game was going to be challenging for them, all three in different ways. Claudia getting the start was big, Phallon not was hard, Laurel not was hard, for all three of them. But credit to all three of them, they've all been super professional and I've been honest with all three of them. I'm not in a position to say this person is absolutely the number one right now, but I think we're in a position where that gap has closed and Claudia we feel right now is in a position to take that mantle on."
OL Reign currently has two goalkeepers on their roster, Dickey and Ivory. Their next match is this Saturday at 7:30 PM PT against their Cascadia rivals, Portland Thorns FC at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon.