Chicago Red Stars and USWNT star Morgan Brian has signed with European powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais, per an announcement from French club yesterday.
The deal spans two and a half years and expires in June, 2020, taking her well through the current World Cup cycle.
The Red Stars have yet to comment publicly on the deal.
Brian had a long and weird 2017 season. The midfielder was hampered by injuries, limiting her appearances for club and country. Despite those setbacks, Brian was able to generate buzz and excitement every time she stepped on the pitch.
The excitement continued for Brian as she was involved in one of the more unique trade scenarios in National Women’s Soccer League history. Prior to the 24-year-old’s arrival in Chicago, the Red Stars acquired midfielder Kristie Mewis from the Washington Spirit. Head Coach Rory Dames acquired Mewis in hopes of giving the Red Stars an attacking option on set-piece opportunities.
Mewis scored in her debut for the Red Stars and then was dealt ten days later in exchange for Brian and “future considerations.” Brian played just under 90 minutes over two matches for the Red Stars.
Despite being plagued by injury, USWNT Jill Ellis was pleased at Brian’s rehab. She had some positive things to say following a 5-0 victory for the United States against New Zealand in September.
Brian worked hard to rehab this off season and on Monday secured a 2 1/2-year deal to play with Lyon. The 24-year-old joins a French side that has won 11 consecutive French league titles and the last two UEFA Champions League trophies. This could be a smart business decision for Brian as the 2019 Women’s World Cup will take place in France.
Similar to what Ali Krieger did for the USWNT in 2011, Brian could be used as an ambassador for the team once the women qualify for the World Cup in 2019.
The Red Stars retain Brian’s rights if she returns to the National Women’s Soccer League.