The goalkeeper pool has expanded for Farid Benstiti and OL Reign. Cosette Morché is no longer the only Reign goalkeeper under contract after the club announced the acquisition of England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley on loan from Manchester City. Her loan will last until June 30, 2021.
Despite featuring internationally for England, Bardsley does not require an international slot. She is a U.S. citizen, having been born in Santa Monica, California. She attended college at Cal State Fullerton from 2002-06.
“Karen is a player with very big experience. She has played in many important games and knows what it takes to win big matches,” OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti said in a team release. “Our goalkeeping situation is complicated this year. We have started with Cosette, a young goalkeeper with so much great potential. And now we add Karen, who will be ready to play immediately.”
According to Benstiti, once Bardsley’s loan ends, another top goalkeeper will be joining the club. Rumors have linked current Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi to Tacoma. The team is also expected to sign a third goalkeeper.
“We have another keeper already signed that will join mid-season, and when Karen departs in June, we will have another top player to replace her,” Benstiti said. “It is complicated, but very good. It makes me happy to have so many very good goalkeepers with us this season — some younger, some more experienced — all will make big contributions to our project.”
Bardsley has been with Manchester City since 2013, and has accumulated over 100 appearances across all competitions. During her time there, she won the league once in 2016 and the FA Cup three times.
“I am really excited to be joining OL Reign over this period and very grateful to Man City for allowing me the opportunity to experience a new environment to get more game time and progress my learning and development,” Bardsley said. “I’ve been very impressed with the whole approach and attitude of everyone at OL Reign and I can’t wait to meet up with the squad and coaches.
“[The] NWSL is such a competitive league, and I’m determined to do all I can to help the club get the season off to a winning start.”
Bardsley is a member of the English women’s national team, with 81 appearances to date for the Lionesses. She has been part of three FIFA Women’s World Cup rosters and two UEFA Euro rosters. Bardsley also featured for Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics. After winning their group, Great Britain crashed out in the quarterfinals to Canada.
Bardsley has recently taken a backseat to Ellie Roebuck at Manchester City. Roebuck was recently called into the England camp, with Bardsley being left off the roster.
Current OL Reign 2021 Roster
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley, Cosette Morché
Defenders: Lauren Barnes, Amber Brooks, Celia, Steph Cox, Machaela George, Madison Hammond, Sam Hiatt
Midfielders: Angelina, Shirley Cruz, Jess Fishlock, Kelcie Hedge, Allie Long, Kristen McNabb, Quinn, Dani Weatherholt, Rosie White
Forwards: Bethany Balcer, Sofia Huerta, Tziarra King, Nicole Momiki, Leah Pruitt, Megan Rapinoe, Jasmyne Spencer, Ally Watt