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OL Reign players begin to explore overseas loan spells

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Rebecca Quinn heads to Sweden, while Jess Fishlock looks likely to end up in England.

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2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Quarterfinal - OL Reign FC v Chicago Red Stars Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

This week appears to mark the beginning of NWSL players heading to Europe and elsewhere for loan spells — as it becomes increasingly obvious there will be no formal NWSL season in 2020 after the Challenge Cup concluded in July.

This big news this week was USWNT midfielder Sam Mewis heading to Manchester City, but two more OL Reign players also appear to be heading to Europe.

According to Norra Skåne, OL Reign midfielder Rebecca Quinn is being loaned to Vittsjö in Sweden, along with Sky Blue FC’s Elizabeth Eddy. Sky Blue confirmed Eddy’s loan yesterday, which runs through Nov. 30, while the Reign have not made anything official. In 2019, Vittsjo earned 41 points in 22 games, resulting in a third-place finish in the Damallsvenskan, Sweden’s top division. This year, however, the team sits at the bottom of the table after 9 matches.

Quinn, 25, played 203 minutes in the NWSL Challenge Cup this year, including two starts. She joined the Reign in the summer of 2019 after the World Cup concluded, where she made three substitute appearances for Canada.

Jess Fishlock also looks poised to play in England’s FA Women’s Super League this year. According to Our Game Magazine, she is set to play in the league for the first time in eight years on a short-term deal with Reading. The club finished 5th on the WSL table in the shortened 2019/20 season and is captained by fellow Wales player Natasha Harding.

“I’m probably at the same point with my [ACL recovery] with regards to returning to play as I was in February,” she told BBC Sport Wales. “There hasn’t been enough consistent training or playing matches for me to be able to say ‘I’m okay’. That’s the reality.”

Fishlock only played 70 minutes in the NWSL Challenge Cup, and as she looks to recover fully from her ACL injury and help Wales prepare to qualify for the UEFA Women’s EURO tournament in 2022, she’s hungry for more meaningful minutes this year.

“I haven’t played in 13 months and we have qualifiers in six weeks. If I don’t play now I can’t play in those qualifiers and then by the time we come back in the US I’d have been out for 18 months and I don’t know who comes back from that,” Fishlock shared with BBC Sport Wales.

Two other OL Reign players have already made their transition to Europe. Jodie Taylor transferred to Lyon and came onto the field in the 90th minute this weekend for OL’s French Cup win over PSG. The game went to penalties, although Taylor didn’t head to the spot. After coming to OL Reign for the Challenge Cup, Adrienne Jordan joined Spanish side UDG Tenerife, which kicks off their season in a few weeks.

While a lot is still uncertain because of the pandemic, one thing is clear: Taylor and Jordan — and apparently now Quinn and Fishlock — are probably not the only OL Reign players who will seek playing time outside the U.S. this year.