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Reign make series of moves to bolster roster

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Three players depart, three join the club, and one goes on the disabled list.

Holland v Canada -World Cup Women Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

It’s just another Manic Monday for Reign FC, as the club announced another long-term injury, a trade, and two new signings. In total, Reign FC is saying goodbye to three players, hello to another set of three, and is placing Lydia Williams on the long-term injury list.

These moves come after the team has been dealt six season-ending injuries and numerous other multi-week injuries, on top of missing key players during the World Cup — who are luckily starting to integrate back into the team. It’s amazing the club has been able to field a team in the last month.

Reign FC first announced that Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams would be placed on the 45-day disabled list. She’s been dealing with a nagging ankle injury, and after the club talked through the issue with Williams and the Australian federation, everyone decided that Williams should get surgery now to correct the issue. She’s expected to return to the club before the season concludes.

That left the team with just one healthy goalkeeper, Casey Murphy, who was signed just over a month ago but looks well-settled into her starting role. Her backup for the last month, Scout Watson, was just placed on the season-ending injury list due to a concussion suffered during training, while Michelle Betos — Reign FC’s starting goalkeeper at the beginning of the season — is also out for the season. You see the problem, right?

The team announced on Monday that goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme would be joining the club. The 25-year-old USC graduate has had a difficult time settling into a club, despite arriving from college as a promising prospect. Prudhomme was drafted by the Boston Breakers in 2017 and made five appearances for them that season, and was then was selected by the Houston Dash in the 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft. She was waived by the Dash prior to the start of the 2019 season and was subsequently signed by the Washington Spirit before heading to the Reign.

To acquire Prudhomme, the Reign sent Elise Kellond-Knight across the country in a trade with the Spirit. That freed up an international spot for the club, which they promptly used to acquire Canadian international Rebecca Quinn, who departed the Washington Spirit at the start of this season to join Paris FC. She was the third overall pick in the 2017 NWSL Draft and suited up for Washington 18 times.

Reign FC confirmed to Ride of the Valkyries that the Spirit lost the rights to Quinn when they transferred her outside the league and that, as long as the contract for a transferred player expires within six months, teams are allowed to add the player to their discovery list, which Reign FC did for Quinn.

Quinn played in three matches for Canada this World Cup, coming on as a substitute each time. She made her debut with the Canadian senior national team in 2014 and was a key member of the team that led Canada to a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics.

Quinn has been used as both a defensive midfielder and centerback for both club and country. She is good in the air and can spark the attack with diagonal long balls. Quinn counts as an international player — rather than a Canadian allocated player — because she wasn’t playing in the NWSL at the start of the season.

“Rebecca is a player who we think will fit our system well,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “She has a knowledge of our league from last year and her versatility means she can help us in a lot of ways.”

Reign FC wasn’t done with the moves just yet, however. The club also announced that defender Schuyler DeBree would join the team through the 2020 season. DeBree joins from AC Sparta Praha in the Czech Republic, which won the Czech First Division in 2018-19. She played right centerback in a three-back system when Sparta Praha took on Ajax in Champions League play.

DeBree, 22, was drafted by the Washington Spirit in 2018 with the 11th overall pick, but did not make an appearance for the club — and the Reign were able to pick her up when her rights with the Spirit expired. She played her college soccer for Duke and was named 2017 ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.

DeBree has also been involved with the U.S. Youth National Team and even played against Reign FC with the U.S. U-23 squad during the 2019 Thorns Spring Invitational in Portland. From what Ride of the Valkyries has been told, DeBree has been on the club’s radar for awhile and the deal wasn’t necessarily tied to a need to replace the slew of injured players. That’s why her deal was for the remainder of 2019 as well as 2020.

With national team players returning, the club also announced the departure of two players who were brought in to replace World Cup-bound players, Maegan Kelly and Erin Yenney. Kelly, 27, made five appearances with Reign FC, including two starts. Yenney, 26, did not make an appearance for the club.

Confused by all the deals today? Here’s a summary for you:

  • IN: Sammy Jo Prudhomme, Rebecca Quinn (INT), Schuyler DeBree
  • OUT: Elise Kellond-Knight (INT), Maegan Kelly, Erin Yenney
  • INJURED: Lydia Williams (45-day disabled list)