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Jodie Taylor transfers to Olympique Lyonnais

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OL Reign retain her NWSL rights.

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2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Day 8

OL Reign announced today the transfer of England international forward Jodie Taylor to French powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais. The move marks the first player transaction between the two clubs under the family umbrella, as was long believed would eventually happen when OL Groupe became the majority owners of the NWSL club back in January.

With the NWSL Challenge Cup completed, there’s uncertainty if the league will hold any other official competitions for the rest of the calendar year. There have been reports of the league hoping to hold some form of regional competition this autumn, but like so many aspects of life, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic determines what sports leagues can and should do.

While OL Reign’s announcement does not go into full specifics about the transfer, their press release does note that the club will retain her NWSL rights. The announcement from Olympique Lyonnais states that Taylor will be with the club through the end of the calendar year. This will make her eligible to play with OL in UEFA Women’s Champions League tournament later this month.

With the NWSL in an all-but-confirmed offseason, players are looking to make moves to get some playing time abroad. A global pandemic and massive international travel restrictions, particularly for anyone from the US, is understandably making it difficult to finalize arrangements. The Athletic recently reported that U.S. internationals Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle are both looking at a possible move to England’s Manchester City. Several other loans and transfers overseas are reported to be short-term deals with the option to extend them should the 2021 NWSL season not be able to start as scheduled.

OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore said in the club’s press release, “When the opportunity arose for Jodie to move to OL to support their run in the Coupe de France and Champions League—as well as for the first part of OL’s upcoming season—we felt it important to support Jodie given all she has contributed to the club. We are happy that Jodie will be able to pursue this opportunity and would gladly welcome her back to our club in the future.”

Taylor joined OL Reign (then known as Seattle Reign FC) ahead of the 2018 NWSL season. If this move to Lyon does indeed close the Reign chapter of her career, then it’s a three-year run that saw her make 47 appearances in all competitions, claim 14 goals, and earn NWSL Player of the Week honors in week 24 of the 2019 season.

“I am extremely excited to be joining OL for the remainder of 2020. It is a great opportunity to join one of the best women’s teams in the world,” said Taylor in the club’s press release.

Taylor is the second OL Reign player to have found a new place in the NWSL offseason. While OL Reign have not yet confirmed the move, defender Adrienne Jordan looks to be joining Spanish side UDG Tenerife for their upcoming season.

How likely it will be to see other OL Reign players go out on loan for the rest of the year — before reuniting to prepare for a hopeful 2021 NWSL season — will be at the mercy of the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to alter life and the economy in unprecedented ways.