The 2019 Reign FC season is nearly upon us. With training camp scheduled to start next week, new faces like Darian Jenkins and Shea Groom will be arriving at the club’s new home in Tacoma to join some familiar company like Beverly Yanez and Megan Oyster.
Unfortunately in the case of defender Yael Averbuch, she will not be among the players returning from last year’s squad.
The club announced yesterday that Averbuch will be suspending her playing career as she continues her fight with ulcerative colitis.
“Yael is a warrior. I know how much she loves the game and how hard she has worked to get back on the pitch. The entire team supports her in her fight to get healthy and we’ll welcome her back to the team whenever she is ready to play again,” said Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski in the club’s press release.
Averbuch has been admiringly open about the condition, disclosing it on her blog in a February 2018 post:
I’ve admittedly gone through phases of wondering if this period of my life is signaling the end of my playing career. I’ve struggled to get myself out of bed most mornings, had to implore myself to get into a vehicle through rigorous self-talk (anyone who’s ever had anything similar to UC will understand this), and have had to shake off occurrences that in past times of my life may have caused humiliation beyond repair.
When Averbuch joined us for an episode of “Coffee & Valkyries” last season, she gave an update on her health, though by that point in the season she had logged one start, going the full 90 minutes against North Carolina Courage on April 18. To summarize her update in the June 29 episode of the podcast, she said she was in a holding pattern, hopeful that the (new at the time) medication she was taking would be the one that works. While she wasn’t able to make another appearance last season, Averbuch remained with the team, training when she could, as just being among teammates and their unwavering support kept her in good spirits.
Averbuch was offered a new contract in the offseason, but with training camp starting on Monday and no updates prior to Friday’s announcement, it comes as no surprise that something was up. While she won’t be contributing on the field for Reign FC anytime soon, Averbuch still holds a strong presence in the league as President of the NWSL Players Association.
Don’t get it twisted though — Averbuch is just hitting the pause button. She is not hitting the stop button on her days as a professional soccer player. “I’m not done,” Averbuch bluntly titled an entry posted on her blog this morning.
I might not be about to start preseason but I’m certainly not done with this game ❤️ Took my ball out for some therapy today. Give this pattern a try... pic.twitter.com/dVHJ8hQBPf— Yael Averbuch (@Yael_Averbuch) March 2, 2019
We at Sounder At Heart and beyond, and all followers of the NWSL and women’s soccer as a whole, wish nothing but the best in a speedy and proper recovery for you, Yael.