OL Reign Profile
|Major Honours||NWSL Shield (2)|
The club has played host to some of the biggest names in US women's soccer history. Here is their story.
OL Reign play in the United States' National Women's Soccer League. They were known as Seattle Reign FC from December 2012 until March 2020.
A majority stake was purchased by the OL Groupe in January 2020 and the new owners changed the name, badge and colours to match those of Olympique Lyonnais in France.
The OL Groupe owns and runs both the men's and women's Olympique Lyonnais teams.
The new colour scheme is blue, white and gold, while the badge includes a lion. The word Seattle was removed in January 2019 when the team moved to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington.
The team is building a soccer-specific stadium to share with the Tacoma Defiance, the Seattle Sounders FC reserve team who play in the USL Championship.
The Reign were originally owned by Bill and Teresa Predmore, who still have a small minority stake.
Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer was a minority owner from 2019-20. With the sale to the OL Groupe, French native and former NBA superstar Tony Parker became a minority owner.
The Seattle Reign era with Laura Harvey
The Reign hired Laura Harvey from Arsenal LFC to be their first manager.
They started the 2013 season with US national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe and goalkeeper Hope Solo as the most prominent names.
They added defender Lauren Barnes in the Supplemental Draft and signed Jess Fishlock.
However, Solo was recovering from wrist surgery and Rapinoe missed nine games while playing for Olympique Lyonnais in France.
College draftee Christine Nairn scored the Reign's first-ever goal in a draw against Chicago, but Seattle lost their next eight games.
Rapinoe returned to score five goals, but the Reign finished the season with just five wins, missing out on the playoffs after finishing in seventh place.
The 2014 season
Before the 2014 season, the team added US forward Sydney Leroux, Scotland midfielder Kim Little and Japan midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi.
They moved to Memorial Stadium and turned in an NWSL record 16-game unbeaten streak. They picked up 13 wins in that run before losing 1-0 to Chicago on July 12.
The Reign claimed the NWSL Shield with the best record in the regular season with 54 points from 24 games. Little and Rapinoe scored in a 2-1 semi-final win over Washington Spirit on August 25.
The NWSL final was moved to their former home, Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, and the Reign lost to FC Kansas City 2-1 despite Rapinoe scoring in the 86th minute.
Little led the team with 17 goals, with her 16 goals in the regular season winning her the Golden Boot.
Little was the 2014 NWSL Most Valuable Player, while Harvey was the NWSL Coach of the Year. Little was joined by Fishlock, Kawasumi and Kendall Fletcher in the NWSL Best XI.
Stars leave for World Cup
In 2015, Seattle traded for midfielder Merritt Mathias from Kansas City. They traded Leroux to Western New York for midfielder Amber Brooks and added Danish midfielder Katrine Veje.
The Reign lost most of their stars to the 2015 Women's World Cup but still won three games in June.
They won six straight from July 22 to August 26 and took the NWSL Shield with 43 points, 10 more than Chicago. Bev Yanez, Rapinoe and Mariah Bullock scored in a 3-0 semi-final win over Washington Spirit.
In the NWSL final, Reign again met FC Kansas City, this time in Portland. Amy Rodriguez, who had scored both of KC's goals in 2014, scored the only goal of the game in the 78th minute as Seattle lost 1-0.
Little and Yanez both led the Reign with 10 goals, while Fishlock scored eight times that campaign. Rapinoe scored five regular season goals in just 10 games while adding one in the play-offs.
Harvey repeated as Coach of the Year, while Fishlock won the NWSL MVP. She was joined by Barnes, Little and Yanez in the NWSL Best XI.
The 2016 campaign
Before the 2016 season, the Reign added Manon Melis from Goteborg in Sweden while trading away Brooks and waiving Veje.
The Reign got off to a slow start with just two wins from their first seven games. After beating Houston 1-0 on June 12, they won only once in the next five outings.
On August 30, Solo left the team for personal reasons with four games remaining. Seattle won the final two games of the season but finished in fifth place, missing out on the play-offs by two points.
Melis led the team with seven goals, while Little added six. Rapinoe, preparing for the Olympics, played in just two games.
Solo started eight while Haley Kopmeyer was in goal for 11 games. Also in 2016, Barnes was named NWSL Defender of the Year and represented the Reign in the NWSL Best XI.
Lack of firepower
The Reign lost their top two goalscorers heading into the 2017 season. Little transferred to Arsenal and Melis retired.
One positive, though, was the return of midfielder Christine Naim. That was done through a trade with Washington that sent out goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
Seattle were in play0off contention until August, when they lost four out of five games. They still had a chance to make the play-offs before losing 1-0 at home against Kansas City in their penultimate game of the season.
The result left the Reign in fifth with 34 points, five points outside the play-offs.
Rapinoe led the team in scoring with 12 goals in 18 games, while Fishlock scored seven times. Rapinoe, the July Player of the Month, was an MVP finalist, while Fishlock made the NWSL Best XI.
The post-Harvey era
After the 2017 season, Harvey stepped down as manager and Vlatko Andonovski was hired on November 7 as her replacement. The Macedonian had managed FC Kansas City to two NWSL titles in 2014 and 2015.
The Reign added English forward Jodie Taylor from Arsenal, midfielder Allie Long from Portland and defender Megan Oyster from Boston.
The Reign started the 2018 season with two straight wins and won two more on May 5 and 12. They had a three-game winning streak from June 30 to July 11 and wrapped up a return to the play-offs with a 2-0 win over Houston on August 21.
The play-offs saw Seattle face rivals Portland away from home on September 15. Jasmyne Spencer scored the first goal in the 29th minute, but Portland rallied to win 2-1.
Taylor led the team with nine goals that season, while Rapinoe scored seven times in 17 games.
Rapinoe won the ESPY Award for best NWSL player and was a finalist for league MVP. She made the NWSL Best XI and was also March Player of the Month.
New era in new stadium
The Reign moved to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington, for the 2019 season and dropped the moniker of Seattle from their name.
The Reign traded Kawasumi to Sky Blue for forward Shea Groom, added midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight from Melbourne City and introduced Bethany Balcer.
They didn't get a win in their first four games but then won two in a row. During the 2019 Women's World Cup, they lost a handful of players but managed to draw once and win three times before losing on July 13.
The Reign clinched a play-off spot in late September with consecutive wins over Utah and Portland.
Kellond-Knight had been traded to Washington on July 15 for Sammy Jo Prudhomme, while midfielder Rose White was added as a free agent.
In the play-offs, they lost to North Carolina 4-1 in extra time with Ifeoma Onumonu scoring in the 93rd minute.
Balcer, the NWSL Rookie of the Year, led the team with six goals that season, while Taylor netted five goals and Fishlock scored three times in five games.
Rapinoe was named the best FIFA Women's Player in the World and the Ballon d'Or Feminin.
She was also the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2019 after leading the US to the Women's World Cup and using her position as a spokesperson for equal rights.
The OL Reign era
After winning the 2019 NWSL Coach of the Year award, Andonovski left the Reign to become the new US women's national team coach.
Frenchman Farid Benstiti was named as his replacement in January after the OL Groupe had purchased a majority stake in the team.
The 2020 NWSL season was cancelled due to COVID-19. The NWSL Challenge Cup in Sandy, Utah, featured eight of the league's nine teams.
Rapinoe opted out of the tournament. The Reign traded Onumonu to Sky Blue for Julia Ashley. Groom and Oyster were traded to Houston for Amber Brooks and Sofia Huerta, while Yanez retired.
In the Challenge Cup, the Reign lost to Houston 2-0, beat Utah 1-0 and drew their games against Sky Blue and Portland 0-0.
They finished as the No. 3 seed but lost in the knockout round to Chicago in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw. Balcer scored their only goal in the five games in Utah.
Taylor was transferred to Lyon on August 12 before the Reign played in the NWSL Fall Series.They drew 2-2 against Utah before losing two games to Portland.
The Reign finished the 2020 season with a 2-0 win over Utah as Huerta and Leah Pruitt scored.
Rivalry with Portland
The main rivalry for the OL Reign is the Portland Thorns. The teams set an NWSL attendance record in May 2015 with 21,444 fans at Portland's Providence Park.
Portland knocked the Reign out of the 2018 play-offs, the only postseason match-up between the rivals. The Thorns have won two NWSL titles and hold the upper hand in the rivalry.
Reign's top players
The biggest name to play for the Reign is Megan Rapinoe, one of three original players still with the squad.
In 75 NWSL games, she has scored a team-record 37 goals, four more than Kim Little.
Defender Lauren Barnes and midfielder Jess Fishlock have also been with the Reign since day one, and Barnes holds the franchise record for games played (159). Fishlock is third in terms of goals scored with 29.
Other big-name players associated with the Reign are Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, Jodie Taylor, Nahomi Kawasumi and Rosie White.