OL Reign originals Megan Rapinoe and Lu Barnes are officially free agents. The NWSL required teams to disclose all transactions by Tuesday afternoon, which formally gave notice the two club staples are open to playing elsewhere for the first time since joining the league in 2013.

Teammates Tobin Heath, a summer signing, and Nikki Stanton, who was acquired in 2021, also remain free agents after the Reign’s latest roster decisions.

Free agency is a new addition to the 10-year-old league. Under the collective bargaining agreement signed in April, players with six years of service and an expiring SPA (Standard Player Agreements) are eligible.

“(It’s) really positive for the players and that they finally got a chance to enter into free agency and see what that market is,” Reign general manager Nick Perera said earlier this month. “We really want to tie those players down as quickly as possible, they’re in our plans and discussions started. The first day that season ended was the first day of us preparing (for) 2023, so season discussions are under way and we’re hoping to have news to share on that very soon.”

The Reign also excercised options for the 2023 season on midfielders Olivia Van der Jagt and Olivia Athens; keepers Claudia Dickey and Laurel Ivory and will retain the rights for defenders Ryanne Brown and Alyssa Malonson, who are both on loan with FC Nordsjælland in the Danish Women’s League.

Another 15 Reign players are under contract in midfielder Jess Fishlock, defender Alana Cook, forward Bethany Balcer, midfielder Rose Lavelle, keeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce, defender Sam Hiatt, midfielder Quinn, defender Jimena Lopez, midfielder Angelina, forward Jordyn Huitema, defender Sofia Huerta, forward Veronica Latsko, defender Ryanne Brown, forward Tziarra King and defender Phoebe McClernon.


“It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t give the players a chance to see what (free agency) looked like a little bit for them whilst also respecting that we want to do what’s right for the club and we want those players to be with us,” Reign coach Laura Harvey said earlier this month. “This is all new for them, too.”

Rapinoe’s seven goals in the team’s final eight games helped the Reign win its third overall NWSL Shield. The Bold received a first-round bye in the playoffs but lost 2-0 at Lumen Field to the Kansas City Current.

Harvey told the team immediately after the match that their performance didn’t warrant a win and said she held a game-review meeting, which she hasn’t done with a playoff loss. The Reign set a league record with four straight semifinal losses.

“If we hadn’t done that, it would have just been eating at us for the next three months,” Harvey said. “It was quite cathartic, if that’s the right word, of just being able to put it to bed. (It) wasn’t necessarily the greatest of meetings, emotionally and how we all felt about it, but just to talk it through was really good. Now you look at the season and you look at what we were able to do.”

In their first season with Lumen Field as their home turf, the Reign tied for fewest home losses (6-1-4) in the league this season and broke its standalone attendance record four times. The semifinal was the largest at 21,491 people, including a sizeable Current supporters’ section.

Tullis-Joyce, in her first NWSL season as the starting keeper, tied for most clean sheets at nine while Harvey pushed her winningest coach in league history record to 87 matches all-time.


A bedrock is Barnes. The Reign captain started 19 matches and totaled 1,595 minutes, becoming the NWSL’s all-time leader in minutes played at 16,369.

But Barnes, Rapinoe and Fishlock – who are referred to as The OGs – haven’t reached their goal in winning a NWSL championship.

“It’s important to note that this was a benchmark year for the club,” Perera said. “This is a year that’s really set us up to be successful for the long term and we’re scratching the surface in terms of where we are as a club and what we are.”

Perera said the club is working with Lumen in hanging a NWSL Shield banner in the stadium. The facility was built for the NFL’s Seahawks and MLS’s Sounders, both displaying title banners in the rafters.

The Reign will open the 2023 campaign this spring with a return to Starfire Sports in Tukwila as its training home. The club played and trained there in 2013 then moved to Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Center and most recently trained at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma.

“We’ve evolved so much,” Harvey said of the inaugural season at Starfire. “To even think that we’re going to be having our own dedicated space. We’re going to have our own dedicated field. That’s just a completely different conversation than what it was when Year One was around of, we were in a classroom, we didn’t have any lockers, we couldn’t leave anything there, we had to pack up and get out every day like it was a brand-new day, so I just feel like we’re in a very, very different space, now.”

The 2023 NWSL season will have its challenges in managing play around the FIFA women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The 32-team tournament will run July 19 through Aug. 19. One highlight will be a Reign doubleheader with the Sounders, although dates won’t be known until the NWSL and MLS finalize their schedules.

“What is most important for us is having a clear vision of what we want our team to look like for the long term,” Perera said. “When I came on (in February 2022) there was an amazing cast and crew of players that were starting their professional journey and we’re now in the benefit of seeing, obviously, Olo (Van der Jagt ) being the most prominent of that group in terms of playing time, but I think we know that we’ve got some special players in our clubhouse right now. So, we’re in a good position.”