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So y’all remember when we disclosed we stanned OL Reign in the NWSL Challenge Cup, right?

Welp, the Reign just added themselves another queen to the roster. After much speculation that she’d leave the NWSL, Rose Lavelle has been traded by the Washington Spirit to Reign.

To be clear, the links to an international transfer for Rose aren’t affected at all by the trade. The move effectively gives Reign the rights to her once she returns from her (presumably) single season abroad.

According to the club’s official statement, Lavelle’s price tag was understandably high: the Spirit now own Reign’s first round college draft pick in 2022, a whopping $100k in allocation money, and an undisclosed additional amount of allocation money that’s conditional on “her playing status in the NWSL.”

$100,000 isn’t just thrown around in the NWSL. According to The Equalizer‘s transfer tracker, dominant USWNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn is the last player to have demanded six-figures in allocation money, going for a combined $150k in general and conditional cash.

Considering that Sauerbrunn is a seasoned veteran defender who played immediately for the Thorns, her $100k was a bit more of a safe bet. Rose Lavelle is undeniably one of the most talented players in women’s soccer, but she’s not guaranteed to play in Seattle even when her contract abroad is up, so she’s a long-term addition at best.

If recent Challenge Cup results are any indication, that’s likely to be a valuable first-round pick that Reign just gave away as well. Reign’s FO clearly understands this and sees the move as a long-term benefit that was worth the high risk.

We all know that Rose is a special player, so for me this is a chance we had to take. I very much hope that we will have the chance to work with Rose in the future, and I am excited about supporting her as she works to achieve her destiny as one of the best players in the world.

Farid Benstiti, head coach of OL Reign
(via announcement on OL Reign website)

Clearly, this is a future move, and one that bleeds upside and promise. It’s not a cheap one, and it was never going to be, but young starpower down the road should definitely be a priority for Reign. Given that the team’s unquestioned star in Megan Rapinoe is 35 years of age, it wouldn’t hurt to have a star to fill that void almost instantly.

Though smallworld women supports OL Reign more than any other NWSL side, we should also take a look at what this means for the Washington Spirit.

It can’t be sugarcoated that Washington is giving up quite possibly the single most valuable piece of any roster in the NWSL. She’s one of the most seasoned professionals at the age of 25 in women’s soccer history, and one of the most skilled on the ball as well.

Her upside is ridiculous, and she can single-handedly change an entire team’s prospects. So yes, the Spirit have to feel a bit of bitterness about that loss.

But there’s certainly a sweet aspect to the deal as well, especially considering Washington’s alternative option. Since Rose is rumored to be moving across the pond to Manchester City on a free transfer, it was looking unlikely that the Spirit would get any compensation for Lavelle.

For a player of her quality, that’s obviously less than ideal. So even though it’s a steep price cut from her overall value, the uncertainty of the situation and the timing make this trade look much stronger.

Given how much of this trade depends on unknown variables, it’s somewhat difficult to give these teams a grade for the deal. That said, we’ll give it a go based on what we can predict.

For Reign, it feels like it’s a reach, but a justified one. Rose Lavelle is the type of talent worth risking a lot for, and if she is secured long-term in Seattle, it could be the move that sets this franchise up for the next decade. That’s how good she is and how much potential she carries. That said, it could very esaily be effectively flushing $100,000 down the drain and letting go of a quality young player from the college draft.

Weighing all that together, Reign will receive a B+, mostly because of the ambition and the sky-high potential of the move.

For the Spirit, it’s a great move no matter how you slice it. Rose was leaving for Europe either way, and according to what we’ve gathered, it doesn’t feel like the Spirit were confident she’d come back. Thus, they avoid letting their star leave on a free and get some kind of compensation from her depature.

Money is definitely better than no money. Especially when that money is at least $100,000. This one gets an A-, just because no deal in which you give up Rose Lavelle can be considered perfect.

It’s all left to be seen whether or not this move works out for Reign, but it’s an exciting move and a cool publicity boost for the club if nothing else. It’s got smallworld women excited, and by the looks of Reign’s Twitter mentions, it’s got a lot of others excited as well.

Stay weird and support women’s soccer!




By danny kotula

danny kotula is an aspiring sports writer and play-by-play commentator. unfortunately, he is not good at either one. his interests include watching soccer and listening to obscure music genres, and those aren’t even his most boring ones. he was born in Tacoma, Washington but has called South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, California, Georgia, and Costa Rica home over the course of his life. he generally knows where to put a comma, which is by far his most redeeming quality. he is writing this in third person as if he were famous enough for someone to write him a biography, but don’t be fooled. he’s not famous.

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