OL Reign had a blockbuster day Wednesday, announcing four headlining players either re-signed or had their contracts extended, including Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle.
Forward Bethany Balcer inked the lengthiest deal. The 2019 NWSL Rookie of the Year signed a three-year contract with a club option for an additional year that will keep her in Seattle through the 2025 season and possibly longer.
“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,” OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore said in a news release.
Balcer, 24, finished second in the NWSL Golden Boot race with a total of nine scores. She appeared in 24 games, logging 1,210 minutes.
“Excited and humbled to extend my time with the Reign,” Balcer said in a news release. “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.”
Balcer is joined by Lavelle signing a two-year deal to secure consistency in the future of the Reign’s attacking front. Lavelle, 26, was a 2020 trade pickup from the Washington Spirit who didn’t arrive until May 2021 due to play for Manchester City.
Lavelle started each of her 12 appearances last season. She totaled a goal and an assist and recorded 23 key passes. Lavelle noted the club’s move to Lumen Field as its home pitch beginning this year among her reasons for re-signing.
“Playing at Lumen Field is a big step for the club, and I know we all are ready to put on a good show for the Seattle fans who have been so supportive for so long,” Lavelle said in a news release. “I have so much confidence in (Reign coach) Laura (Harvey) and my teammates and I can’t wait to get started in 2022.”
Lu Barnes, 32, and Rapinoe, 36, will continue to anchor the Reign. The club originals each signed one-year deals, the Reign announced.
Rapinoe leads the Bold in all-time scoring with 43 goals through all competitions. She and Lavelle helped the U.S. women’s national team win a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Rapinoe also appeared in 12 matches for the Reign last season, scoring six goals and adding three assists.
The Reign’s return to Lumen Field in a Cascadia clash with Portland was highlighted by Rapinoe’s brace in the August win.
“Megan joined our club in 2013 already a world-class talent, and over the last decade has done the work on and off the field to transform herself into a global icon who now transcends the sport,” Predmore said in a news release. “Beyond the direct impact her talent and creativity bring to the team, her confidence and swagger is infectious — it makes every player around her better.”
Barnes, the 2016 NWSL Defender of the Year, is regarded as the club captain. She made 22 appearances last year, logging nearly 1,900 minutes. She finished the season with 64 clearances, 40 interceptions and seven blocks.
“It’s an honor to play with one club for a decade,” Barnes said in a news release. She’s the first in the league to play 150 matches with the same team. “I am excited to continue contributing to the growth and success of the team.”
The Reign advanced to the NWSL semifinals last season.