Report: Rapinoe to Lyon for short stint

Jeff Kassouf December 27, 2012 38
Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe is reportedly headed to France to play for Lyon. (Photo Copyright: Patti Giobetti |

A report out of Redding, Calif. on Thursday states that star U.S. women’s national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe will play for two-time defending UEFA Champions League winner Lyon of France at the start of 2013, before returning stateside to play in the NWSL.

The report comes from Rapinoe’s hometown and sources her parents, which makes this a pretty legitimate claim.

“The French team has shown great interest in her and offered her a nice contract,” her dad, Jim, told “She always wanted to play abroad.”

Rapinoe seemed a lock to play for Portland Thorns FC, having gone to the University of Portland and as someone who has publicly praised the city. She still could play in the NWSL and for Portland in 2013. The European season ends on May 23, 2013, when the Champions League final will be played in London at Stamford Bridge. The NWSL is expected to begin in early April.

Reports out of Japan also link Japanese national team striker Shinobu Ohno to Lyon.

In Other News:

Christine Sinclair continued to pull in honors from her incredible 2012 Olympics campaign. On Thursday, she won the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as the Canada Press female athlete of the year.

  • Kernel Thai

    So does she get allocated to Portland or do they take three other players and add her as a free agent?

    • I would think she’d get allocated. The Freedom did the same thing in 2009 with Ali Krieger, acquiring her in the USWNT allocation but only getting her for part of the season due to her German commitments.

      • But Krieger was already under contract with her German club, right? So they were letting her play here. In Rapinoe’s situation it would be the reverse in theory. Only I’d be surprised if she could have been allocated, under contract here, and then loaned out since she just submitted her preferences last Friday. The timeline is too compressed. Eh. I guess it will be made clear later. Meanwhile I have to brush up on my French.

        • randomhookup

          She’s under contract to the fed, but not to the league or a team yet. The USSF contract allows her to go overseas and play, probably without getting her salary from the fed.

          • True. I’m just not sure how she’s going to enter the league in July or whenever. As a free agent then? Or are they allocating her to Portland and they are just out a player until her time in France is up. And if so, how can that work because that would imply a team contract here in which case my original question comes up again.

          • randomhookup

            We don’t know how they will handle it, but it’s not a major issue.

            I still say … allocate her now and compensate her team with her salary until she returns. The team contract is immaterial. All the NWSL is doing is assigning her league rights to a team. If she doesn’t play in the league, the USSF replaces her and the league figures out what to do with her later.

          • Steglitz49

            Michelle has convinced me and I think Ms Rapinoe will play in Australia after France. I am not even persuaded that she will bother with the NWSL, but time will tell.

          • Michelle

            So then when she comes back, does USSF pay her salary in NWSL or is it picked up by the club?

            I have to say that the timing doesn’t work for me – why go over in January only to return for a camp (end of January, or beginning of February), go back, and then leave again for the Algarve Cup in early March? Then you go back until June (six months, per her father) and come back for the end of the NWSL season – not mentioning how many friendlies the USWNT might have up their sleeve over the summer.

            I’m actually surprised that she didn’t go to play in Australia over this break – that would be almost perfect. Play there in our winter, play here in our summer. (Of course, the commute back for any camps would be horrible, though.)

          • Steglitz49

            You have lost me, Michelle. If Ms Rapinoe helps Lyon lift the CL cup a third time, what is left for Megan to win?

            Any contract with Lyon is likely to follow FIFA rules. The CL final is in May. One the CL cup is in the bag (or not), Ms Rapinoe has done her duty and is free to go on to greener pastures.

            What profits it a lady footballer to win the CL — but Australia?

          • Michelle

            I’m suggesting Australia purely because her girlfriend lives and plays there, so why not join up with Sarah Walsh’s club and play there half the year, and in the NWSL the rest of the year, with USWNT duties included, of course.

            Someone on another blog suggested that perhaps they’ve begun informing the players where they’ve been allocated and given them the option to opt out privately before it all goes public. She may have gotten allocated somewhere she’s not interested in and that’s why she’s going to France.

          • Steglitz49

            Good point, Michelle. Thanks for keeping me right.

            Australia play a winter season and at least two players from the Swedish Damallsvenskan play there this winter, though one of them, Lolo Fors, is not returning to Sweden but going to Liverpool ladies.

            The teams in the Australian W-League have a squad salary limit of 150 000 Australian dollars (A$) to be compared with the men’s league’s of A$2.35 million, that is Australian men are worth >15 times their women. Maybe Megan will supplement her income by coaching?

          • randomhookup

            A World Cup?

          • Steglitz49

            Fair enough. Apart from Christie Rampone, they are all in want of a World Cup.

          • randomhookup

            I’m doing a little guesswork here, but I am assuming the players will be offered contracts by their NWSL teams, but those contracts will be funded by USSF. That way a player can still be under a NT contract and play elsewhere if she chooses.

            Australian League is only in season for a couple more weeks.

            It’s also possible Rapinoe won’t be released for those camps/tourney unless they are FIFA dates.

        • Steglitz49

          “since she [Rapinoe} just submitted her preferences last Friday” — do we actually know for certain that she submitted any preferences? Just curious. After all, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were not any old weekdays — at least not in old Europe. “A week is a long time in politics” and all that.

      • Steglitz49

        Were I Portland, I would take Ms Rapinoe as a free agent and cut my own deal with Lyon. Were I Ms Rapinoe, I might try out Japan next.

  • Steglitz49

    Verily, the Rapinoe-rumor is fascinating because so far at least one American lady playing in Europe chose not to carry on with her European club allegedly because the club wanted FIFA’s rules for release for international duty to apply. Also probably because that young lady felt that unless she played in the NWSL her chances of selection for the USWNT were poor. Such issues would no doubt be unlikely to worry a player of Rapinoe’s calibre and campaign medals.

    It is alleged that Ohno will be paid $115 000 a year. Eat your hearts out NWSL ladies.

    • necron99

      There is a large difference between Rapinoe and Christen Press. Press has clearly performed in college, WPS, and now Damallsvenkan. But she has not had any caps and only a couple of camps with the senior WNT. She feels she needs to be free to come to any camp, and get alot of playing time in front of the new coach. Rapinoe feels she has some leeway because she has a body of work that the new coach can see. She will make it back to as many camps as she can get leave from Lyon for, but she is not trying to just get a look.

      • Steglitz49

        “Life is a tree of peaches, and I am the one who reaches, for the ones with cream”, sang Louis Armstrong. The position Ms Press plays in is oversubscribed. Indeed, because Pia Sundhage brought young players on, there may at best be 6 slots up for grabs for the 2015 World Cup.

        At the same time, one should not underestimate the pull of playing and living in one’s own country, which may have played a part in Ms Press choice though the reason given was that her European club insisted that FIFA rules for release for international duties apply.

        • necron99

          I am just going to take Christen Press at her word. She chooses to publish her thoughts and I will accept them. She does want to make that USWNT. Maybe she thinks she can push out A-Rod or even Leroux. All the balls are up in the air because a new coach is in place. That gives any people on the edges a new reason to double down and try to get in. Playing at home in a league run by the Fed gives her the best chance to be in camps.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken. Pushing out A-rod might be easier than she might think and should Leroux have a yen for the Yen, it becomes a veritable Parkway, if not an Interstate, to glory. After all Hope Solo once played for the club that Ms Press just left; that might be an omen. On the other hand, there are all those other characters waiting in the wings …

  • I’m excited for her. She seems perfect for the French game. I’m not really sure how it would work out contractually between Lyon and whatever team she’s with in our league. If she signs with Portland she’d have to be on loan to Lyon, correct? If she doesn’t sign with Portland she’d have to come into the league as a FA? They can’t allocate her when she won’t be back until July (or can they?) and I’m not sure how they could have worked out a loan situation when the league doesn’t seem to be at that point in paper work priority. It’s so confusing.

    Anyway, I prefer PSG, but with Pinoe on Lyon taking down that giant will be all that more interesting. 🙂

    • randomhookup

      I have no official answer, but they might allocate her and then simply give Portland (or whomever) an equivalent payment to cover another US non-NT player during her time away.

      One of the many complexities that comes with putting together a new league.

      • Steglitz49

        It seems to me that the NWSL is getting itself into uncharted territory if not a fine mess (as laurel and Hardy might have put it).

    • Steglitz49

      PSG is not an issue. Because the French ladies’ league awards 4 points for a win, Lyon has already won D1 FĂ©minine.

      PSG might still grab the second spot and play in the CL next year.

      This is simply Lyon trying to buy a 3rd in a row CL title, thus becoming historic.

      As for contracts, if USAWNT want to manage without Ms Rapinoe … . The USAWNT manager might have tied a rod to his back because how is he going to assess the likes of Horan and Hagen — and might Press feel that she backed the wrong donkey after all?

      • I was thinking of CL. That’s why teams are bringing on more players. I wasn’t talking about her NT contract. She’s an established player unlike those on the bubble you mentioned who have different choices to make. I was questioning her contract with Portland or whatever team she is planning on going back to/joining after her stint in France is over. Does that contract exist, if it does how does that work with Lyon (loan?), or is she coming back as a free agent somehow. That would normally be self evident, but allocation process/NT money involved confuses things.

        • Steglitz49

          It is said that Alexander the Great wept because there were no more worlds left to conquer. Then he drank himself to death aged about 33.

          What is left for Ms Rapinoe to win? A CL cup. Then, maybe sign on for an English club and lift the ladies’ FA cup? Or have a stint in Japan?

          Saki Kumagai won her first big trophy when she was 20. Her penalty has become iconic. Vikky Rebensburg’s first senior victory was the Olympic gold at 20. She since has won 2 Giant Slalom cups. One gets the impression that she finds it hard to motivate herself. They asked Gold-Lena what it would take for her to reverse her decision and compete again? “275 million €uro”, she answered.

          Were I Ms Rapinoe, I would enjoy myself for the next couple of years.

  • Kendra

    This will be great for her development especially with the talented players already there. It looks like a close to done deal. The Lyon website says that they are negotiating with players fron Asia and North America.

    • Steglitz49

      It is alleged that Lyon will pay Ohno $115 000 a year for her services.

  • Elizabeth

    I think this is great for Rapinoe’s development as a player and I think it will really help the USWNT in the long run. She will be back in the NWSL as an even better player.

    I bet Sermanni advised her to go.

    • Steglitz49

      I do not quite follow you. Megan Rapinoe has taken a silver in the World Cup and an Olympic gold. What more development as a player do you want for her?

      At her age, Anne-Marie Moser Pröll and Helena Ekholm retired, and Gold-Lena and Rosie Mittermaier had already retired — not to mention Stenmark.

      Were Rapinoe to help Lyon win the CL on the turf of Stamford Bridge, why carry on playing? The world is her oyster.

      • Elizabeth

        You don’t think she can get any better? I think she is an outstanding player now but if her improvement from the last year is any indication, she is still getting better and better. Playing in a different country for arguing the best, most technical club in the world will only help.

        • Steglitz49

          Your point is well taken: these top athletes are never satisfied. Earlier this year Stenmark on a chat-show said that he never ran a perfect race. There was always something he thought he could improve on. This from the greatest technical Alpine skier of all time, for whom they changed the rules to stop him winning and yet Stenmark continued winning.

          A chill wind swept through the biathlon world at the beginning of this year when Magdalena Neuner at 24 announced that she was retiring because she could not motivate herself to continue. (It is an odd coincidence that the other great woman biathelete also was a Magdalena – Forsberg.) When asked where she saw herself in 5 years time, Neuner answered that she hoped to have started a family and bought a house!

          It takes all sorts to make the world, but Megan Rapinoe has nothing to prove and if she wants to have a go at lifting the CL trophy, why not? It will be interesting to learn how much Lyon will pay her for 6 months — $100 000?

  • luke

    NWSL may and, lets hope, will become great force in women football soon, but you can’t blame 28 year old Rapinoe for joining the strongest club in the world at this moment, defending Champions League winner for (I assume) muuuuuch better money than she could make in US.

    Good luck Pinoe!

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