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Tuesday Roundup: Alex Morgan declines Lyon option to stay with Orlando

Also in today’s roundup, Amandine Henry reportedly to return to Lyon post-Thorns, England defender Alex Scott retires from international competition, Elodie Thomis also hangs up her international boots, Lindsay Elston retires from pro soccer and Mandy van der Berg takes break from Dutch national team. 

Alex Morgan has declined her contract option with Lyon and will stay with the Pride. (photo by Mark Thor, courtesy of Orlando Pride)

Alex Morgan turns down Lyon contract option, will stay with Pride

It was announced shortly before the Orlando Pride kicked off against the Boston Breakers on Saturday, September 2 that USWNT and Pride forward Alex Morgan had turned down the option on her contract with French powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais and will instead remain with the Orlando Pride in the NWSL.

“I agreed with Lyon to terminate our contract and continue with Orlando Pride moving forward,” Morgan said in a video produced by the club. “I feel that the present of this club and the future of this club is just going above and beyond and is going to do incredible things.”

Morgan signed with Lyon in December after owner Jean-Michel Aulas infamously tweeted at the American starlet multiple times trying to lure her to France. Her contract was for the final six months of the club’s 2016-2017 season with a one-year extension option. While in France, Morgan helped Lyon win another treble: the French league title, the French Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

“I wasn’t sure after I finished the season with Lyon,” Morgan said about when her decision was made. “It was an amazing season. I felt like I did what I went there to do. I felt fulfilled.”

The forward faced much criticism when she signed with Lyon, just as she did when she was instrumental in her trade to Orlando, citing a desire to be in the same city with her husband, Orlando City midfielder Servando Carrasco. Although Morgan did not specifically mention her family as a reason to stay stateside this offseason, it likely played a part in her decision.

“I’m really happy here. This is my home. So, as happy as I was this year playing with two clubs, I will be with Orlando Pride moving forward.”

Amandine Henry returning to Lyon in October

Amandine Henry is reportedly returning to Lyon at the end of the current NWSL season. (photo copyright Lewis Gettier)

Although Alex Morgan may not be returning to Olympique Lyonnais this fall, French-international midfielder Amandine Henry is reportedly will be, returning to France’s Division 1 Féminine and her former club at the conclusion of the NWSL season. Henry is said to join the team once her contract with the Portland Thorns expires in October.

Henry joined the Thorns in 2016 after expressing interest in playing in the NWSL. In January of that year, the Thorns put a discovery claim on her before announcing her signing the following March. She joined the team once her contract with Lyon was up, making her long-awaited NWSL debut in the Thorns’ 2-0 road win against the Western New York Flash on June 17. In her season and a half with Portland, she has amassed 26 starts in 28 appearances and scored three goals.

Prior to her arrival in the NWSL, Henry played for nine season with Lyon, during which she won nine French titles, four French Cups, and three UEFA Champions League titles. She has made 186 total appearances and scored 42 goals for the club.

Alex Scott retires from international competition

Defender Alex Scott announced on Saturday that she was retiring from the England national team after more than a decade playing with the team. The announcement was made via a video that the 32-year old posted to her social media accounts.

“Today is the end of a chapter as I turn the lights out on my England career. This decision has not come lightly, but sometimes the right choice is the one that involves some sacrifice,” she said in the video.

In her 14 years as a Lioness, Scott has earned 140 caps and scored 12 goals for her country. She’s been a part of four European Championship rosters, three World Cup squads (including the third-place winners in 2015), and the 2012 Olympic Team Great Britain.

Although Scott’s retirement comes on the heels of a scandal revolving around players of color’s allegations against England head coach Mark Sampson, the veteran defender’s decision is unrelated, and she makes no mention of the ordeal. Instead, she says she is leaving international competition to focus more on her burgeoning career in broadcast media.

“My dream as a little girl playing in that football cage in the east end of London was to one day pull on the Three Lions shirt and represent my country. I am so proud and humbled that I managed to do just that. What a journey it has been, and I will always be so grateful for what the game has given me in my life.”

In other European soccer news, French winger Élodie Thomis also announced her retirement from international competition on Tuesday via her private Instagram account. The decision was confirmed by the French national team, although no further details have been made available at the time of publication.

Lindsay Elston formally announces her retirement

On Thursday, August 31, Seattle Reign FC and the Boston Breakers made a trade in which the Reign got a second-round 2018 NWSL College Draft pick from the Breakers (which they used to acquire Lydia Williams from Houston) in exchange for a conditional 2018 pick and the rights to Lindsay Elston. At the time of the trade, it was said that Elston had opted to sit out the rest of the 2017 NWSL season. Today, she announced her retirement from professional soccer altogether, a decision spurred on by her recent trade.

“There comes a point in every athlete’s life when it’s time to move on,” Elston wrote in a statement posted on social media. “For those of you who don’t know, I was recently traded to Boston. While I’m honored that Boston wanted me to come join their team, the trade made me face an inevitable decision that has weighed heavy on my shoulders for a while now.”

According to her statement, the midfielder’s decision was based on her desire to stay in Seattle, where she has lived since signing with the Reign in 2016. For the club Elston has made 11 starts in 27 appearances, tallying one goal and one assist. Both of those came this season, when Elston helped the Reign defeat the Washington Spirit, 6-2, on May 13.

Before joining Seattle, Elston played with French Division 1 club FC Mentz for the 2014/2015 season, helping them to win the Lorraine Cup. She played with the Houston Dash in 2014 but only made five appearances for the club due to an ankle injury before being waived.

Elston’s full statement is below.

Mandy van den Berg takes a break from Dutch national team

The Netherlands’ Mandy van den Berg announced that she will be taking a break from the team. (photo by Allison Lee)

Netherlands defender Mandy van den Berg announced today that she would be taking a break from the national team. The news comes less than a month after the Dutch won the 2017 European Championship on home soil.

“What a fantastic summer it has been for our team, dreams have become a reality,” she wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “For me, however, it was a time with mixed feelings. I had a very difficult time with the personal unexpected disappointment during the tournament. I think you always have to make choices in life that makes you happy and so I decided to take a break from the national team for now. The disappointment and the pain I hope to be able to process in the upcoming period.”

Although Van den Berg did not go into any detail about her disappointment or what caused it, it may be the result of her changing role on the team. Van den Berg previously captained the team and was a staple on the Dutch backline, but only took the field four times during the 2017 EUROs for a total of 180 minutes.

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