Manchester City Ladies FC appear to be taking after their men’s side in willing to spend big.
Sources reveal that Manchester City Ladies FC have interest in United States No. 1 and Seattle Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo. Reign FC coach Laura Harvey is aware of potential interest in Solo from Manchester City, but she doesn’t expect Solo to leave Seattle.
“I don’t doubt for one minute that there has been interest, but I’m very confident that she’ll be back and have been told by Hope myself that she will be back,” Harvey said Wednesday from England.
Harvey said she recently spoke with Solo and received assurances that Solo would return Seattle next season.
Sources say City offered a six-figure contract to Solo. City will join England’s top flight, the FA Women’s Super League (FAWSL), in 2014. Liverpool just claimed their first title on Saturday.
When contacted recently via email, Solo’s agent, Richard Motzkin, said “Hope is contracted with the Seattle Reign for next season.”
Solo played in 14 games for Seattle in 2013 after returning from wrist surgery in late May, and Harvey expects Solo back for a full season next year.
“I would have been shocked if she did go – not anything to do with Man City, just that for her and her career, the States is where she needs to be at the minute to make that extra push for 2015 and 2016,” Harvey said. “I think she was relatively happy towards the back end of last season, in terms of she could see where we were trying to get to.”
Reign FC owner Bill Predmore said recently that the club is not in any talks with Manchester City and he is “not aware of any discussions with the league.” The National Women’s Soccer League, run by U.S. Soccer, handles the contracts of all national team players, including Solo. A U.S. Soccer spokesperson said there was an August 31 deadline for national team players to declare their intent to play abroad.
Predmore did acknowledge that if Solo were to choose to play for a club outside the NWSL, she would have the opportunity to do that, much like Megan Rapinoe playing with Lyon in France until June, then joining Seattle mid-season.
The FAWSL season, however, nearly directly mirrors the NWSL season, beginning in April and ending in late September.
Harvey, who coached Arsenal Ladies from 2008-12, said she expects Manchester City Ladies to sign a big name as 2014 rolls around, but is “pretty confident” that Solo will not be that player.
“I think there is a relationship with Hope and Man City, but I don’t think it’s a playing one.”
Reached Tuesday, Manchester City said they won’t be conducting media interviews until the new year, when team operations are more in place.
This story by Jeff Kassouf originally ran on NBC Sports’ ProSoccerTalk.
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