Olympique Lyonnais announced today that they have signed Morgan Brian to a 2.5 year contract. Brian will join Amandine Henry, formerly of 2017 national champions the Portland Thorns. As per the club, Brian is expected to be with Lyon until June 30, 2020.
Brian most recently played for the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League, but spent the bulk of her 2017 season subbing on and off for the Houston Dash until she was traded in August of last year. Brian was managing an injury for much of the 2017 NWSL season, but with this new signing, it seems OL are confident that they can keep Brian healthy, which would make for a very sharp midfield pairing of Brian and Henry.
Brian joins fellow USWNT player Crystal Dunn as another American leaving NWSL for a long-term contract overseas, as opposed to players like Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd, who split their seasons between their European clubs and their NWSL clubs.
This might be a great move for Brian; spending time in Europe has reinvigorated top players like Alex Morgan, and Lyon certainly has the resources to take care of its players. Perhaps this also signals that US Soccer is willing to relax its preference that WNT players stay domestic, especially leading up to a big tournament year. Or it may just be that in Brian’s individual case, she found the benefits of leaving outweighed the risks. She’s certainly demonstrated that she can be a crucial midfield component for the WNT when healthy so this may not be that much of a risk at all.
Lyon’s next game will be January 7 in the French Cup against Racing Besançon.