OL Groupe’s takeover of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Reign FC is expected to be complete, with the Washington state based club scheduled to make an announcement Thursday.
Reign FC announced last month it entered exclusive negotiations with the French company, parent of Olympique Lyonnais. Lyon’s women’s team is regarded as the most successful women’s club in the world. It is the 13-time reigning champion of the French league and has won the last four UEFA Champions League titles.
In addition to completing a stadium project, an immediate task for the Reign under new ownership will be hiring a head coach. The team will look for a successor to Vlatko Andonovski, who left for the United States women’s national team job in October.
Thursday’s announcement at the Reign’s home in Tacoma, Wash., will feature ownership and other representatives from both Lyon and the Reign. USWNT star Megan Rapinoe, who previously played for Lyon and currently plays for the Reign, will be present, as will NWSL president Amanda Duffy.
OL Groupe will not change a lot of the Reign’s structure. Reign owner Bill Predmore is expected to remain with the club as its chief executive officer, while Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders and Minor League Baseball’s Tacoma Rainiers will maintain a relationship with the Reign. However, Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer will no longer have an ownership stake in the Reign.
The move is a landmark one in women’s soccer, as Lyon has gained a reputation as not just a successful club, but as the biggest spender in women’s soccer. It is expected that OL Groupe will pump money into the Reign, which may shift the landscape of the NWSL entirely. Throughout its seven-season existence, the NWSL has been frugal in its priority of viability, but OL Groupe’s entrance will likely mark a new era for the league.