Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator Skip to content

Seattle Reign signs Bethany Balcer through 2025

Balcer is one of only two NWSL players to score more than 6 goals each season since 2019.

Last Updated
4 min read
Bethany Balcer smiles and looks back at teammate Jordyn Huitema after scoring a goal
© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Reign FC announced on Thursday that the club has extended forward Bethany Balcer's contract through the 2025 season. Balcer's previous contract ran through 2024, with a mutual option for 2025. Instead of waiting for that option to be triggered, the Reign prioritized a new deal to ensure the forward remains in Seattle for at least two more years.

Balcer told Ride of the Valkyries that she is thrilled to be staying in Seattle, which she considers her home away from home.

"I feel like I've really like found a home in the club," Balcer said. "We've continued to get better, and this year we finally saw the fruits of our labor, making it to the championship. It's really cool to continue the journey with this club of seeking that first championship."

Balcer has been with the Reign since 2019, when she became the first player from an NAIA school to sign an NWSL contract. After going undrafted – and nearly being cut during the Reign's preseason, as she told the Two Washups One Pro podcast – Balcer went on to become the only Reign player to appear in all 25 matches her rookie year. Her six goals and two assists earned her the 2019 NWSL Rookie of the Year title.

"It's just cool that the Reign was the first team to give me the opportunity, and now I'm continuing my career with them," Balcer said. "It's really special."

Balcer attended Spring Arbor University and finished her college career with a school-record 129 goals, which ranks fifth all-time in NAIA history. She was named the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Player of the Year in 2018, 2017, and 2015, becoming the first player to ever win the award three times.

The 26-year-old forward has been a consistent goal-scorer at the Reign since then. Her 28 regular-season goals put her tied for second in the NWSL in non-penalty goals since 2019, falling just one goal short of Debinha's 29 during that timeframe (Balcer is fourth in all goals scored since 2019). She also joins Ashley Hatch as the only two NWSL players to score at least six goals each year since 2019.

In addition to leading the league in several goal-scoring categories, Balcer is fourth in all-time goals for the Reign and has led the club in scoring every season since joining the club.

“Bethany Balcer made a name for herself quickly in the NWSL and has been a consistent high-performing goal scorer for the club,” said Seattle Reign General Manager Lesle Gallimore in a team press release. “Boats, as she is affectionately known, is someone we’re ecstatic to have extending her time with the Reign.”

Balcer is particularly tough to defend in the air – having scored a league-leading 13 headed goals since entering the league. Her timing, movement, and instincts in the box are among the best in the NWSL. She averages just over three aerial duels won each match, putting her around the 95th percentile compared to other forwards and wingers.

Balcer is aware that the team will look different in 2024, with the departures of players like Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Emily Sonnett, and Angelina, and the new players yet to be announced or selected in the NWSL Draft. But she also knows the club's values and mentality will remain just as strong.

"Obviously, the team's going to look different, but I think the culture and the club standard remains the same, which is something that brings a lot of people here. I'm excited to continue to be a part of that, grow that culture, and step into more leadership roles."

Now a true veteran on the squad, Balcer is the longest-tenured player after Lauren (Lu) Barnes and Jess Fishlock, who have both played with the Reign since 2013. She now ranks fifth in regular-season appearances for the club and recognizes how important it will be to continue her leadership journey with the Reign, building on what the Reign originals created.

"You know, when you think of a leader you think of someone who's just been here a while. So I just think of myself as someone who will probably one day receive the torch from Lu," Balcer shared. "And I want to carry on the tradition of the club, the legacy of the club, and just kind of be that culture builder and sustainer and keep it the way it is – because it is really special here. What happens in the locker room, the inclusive environment that we have with the Reign, that's really special."

While the sale of the Reign has brought a little more chaos to an already chaotic NWSL offseason, Balcer is extremely optimistic about the long-term future of the Reign. She was particularly excited to see the name and crest return – joking she's been calling the team Seattle Reign since the beginning, so it won't be a hard transition.

"It's cool because it represents so much about this team and this city. There's been so many iterations of this team and the coaching staff and the ownership group, and hopefully this can solidify something a little more long-term and establish that we're back in the city and we're not going anywhere."

If Balcer hadn't extended her contract, she could have been eligible for free agency. And while she's so grateful to have that choice available, she feels extremely settled in her decision to stay with the Reign.

"I just think there's something special about staying with one club and the relationships you build within the team and within the community – and I feel like I've got such great roots here now. I've got such a good community outside of soccer, which I love and cherish so much. It's cool to be able to continue to plant the roots deeper and deeper here."