Bethany Balcer’s path to becoming a professional soccer player has become a part of Washington state soccer lore. Undrafted despite posting a prolific career at Spring Arbor University, Balcer became the first player from an NAIA school to sign a NWSL contract in 2019. She went on to score six goals and two assists and won that season’s NWSL Rookie of the Year honors. The following season, she signed a three-year contract with the club. Today, the club announced that Balcer has signed a new three-year deal.
Her initial three-year contract went through the upcoming 2022 season, with an option year for 2023. This new contract covers this season, the next two seasons, and has an option year that, if activated, could see Balcer’s time with the club go all the way through 2025.
“Bethany’s talent and tenacity has allowed her to exceed all expectations since her first day with the club. While she has consistently been one of the most impactful players in our squad and in the NWSL, we believe she has the opportunity and ability to achieve even more in her career. In extending her contract we are also making a commitment to support her development in any way she needs, and can be sure our collective efforts will see Bethany achieve her fullest potential with our club. Although Bethany had two years remaining on her prior deal, we wanted to make our belief in her potential clear and provide Bethany the certainty and security that comes with a long-term deal,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore in the club’s announcement.
Prior to the announcement of Balcer’s new contract, there was already a display of the club’s investment into Balcer’s on-field potential, as in late 2020, with the NWSL’s regular season wiped away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Balcer along with Sofia Huerta and Celia Jiménez Delgado, were able to spend some time in France and train with parent club Olympique Lyonnais and their star-studded roster.
In 2021, Balcer made 24 appearances, finished second in the league’s golden boot race with nine goals, and picked up two NWSL Player of the Week awards, was NWSL Player of the Month in September, and was named to the NWSL Second XI. After the season, Balcer was called up for the United States in their slate of friendlies against Australia to close out their 2021 calendar, earning her first cap on November 27.
Balcer said of her new contract with the club, “Excited and humbled to extend my time with the Reign. I’ve enjoyed every moment being part of this club with incredible people and am looking forward to contributing to the success of this team.”