NWSL Roundup: Seattle Reign re-sign Beverly Yanez, Duffy named president of league

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PHOTO: Beverly Yanez celebrates her goal against the Washington Spirit on May 13, 2017, at Memorial Stadium in Seattle, Wa. Photo courtesy of Jane Gershovich/Seattle Reign FC.

Seattle, Washington — This summer, the Seattle Reign FC are going to need some extra hands on board.

With losing Megan Rapinoe and possibly Allie Long to U.S. Women’s National Team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, some reinforcements will be needed. Also, Seattle will lose Jodie Taylor (England), Steph Catley (Australia), Celia Jiménez Delgado (Spain) and possibly Rumi Utsugi (Japan).

With that in mind, Vlatko Andonovski, head coach, elected to re-sign forward Beverly Yanez. The 30-year-old — whose maiden name is Beverly Goebel — has competed with the Reign since 2014.

Reign FC owner and president, Bill Predmore, applauded the move.

“Bev is a truly special player, both on and off the pitch,” Predmore said. “Her incredible work ethic, understanding of the game, and relentless positivity have made her a huge contributor to our success over the past five seasons.”

In 2018, Yanez started 14 out of her 20 appearances. She scored twice and became the third-ever player in club history to record 100 regular-season appearances on July 14. She joins Lauren Barnes and Jess Fishlock for the achievement.

Meanwhile, Yanez had her season cut short due to injury. In the later half of the year, Yanez suffered a foot fracture. However, this season, she’s on track to compete in the preseason, which starts in March.

“I’m extremely excited and thankful to re-sign with the Reign,” Yanez said. “I’m looking so forward to the 2019 season!”

Yanez also spent some of her career, from 2012-14, with Japanese club INAC Kobe Leonessa. She also spent the 2011 season in Finland, featuring for PK-35. Yanez began her career with the Washington Freedom in 2010.

Seattle also signs defender Megan Oyster

Yanez isn’t the only player hanging around in Seattle for another season.

Megan Oyster has resigned on a one-year contract with the team. Last season, Oyster started all 21 of her appearances, recording one goal and two assists. Her goal, which is only her second of her NWSL career, came against the North Carolina Courage on June 23.

Oyster’s defensive numbers helped earn Seattle a trip to the playoffs. The 26-year-old recorded 82 clearances, 16 blocks and 60 interceptions. Normally a center back, Oyster had a pass succession rate of 75.3 percent. She completed 771 successful passes to teammates.

Last year was her first season with the Reign.

“Megan was an important addition to our defense last season,” Andonovski said. “She’s a strong, steady defender and I’m looking forward to seeing her build on her success in 2019.”

Oyster began her NWSL career with the Washington Spirit. She was drafted with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft. With Washington, Oyster made 38 appearances, scoring one goal, in two seasons. However, in 2017, she made 23 appearances with the Boston Breakers.

When the club folded after the 2017 season, Oyster was picked up by the Seattle Reign in the Dispersal Draft, along with Morgan Andrews, Christen Westphal, Lindsay Elston and Elizabeth Addo.

“I’m thrilled to be returning to Seattle next year,” Oyster said. “We have unfinished business to take care of and I can’t wait to get back with my teammates and get started!”

During the 2015-17 off-seasons, Oyster joined the Newcastle Jets in Australia, featuring in the W-League. She made 24 appearances, scoring two goals.

Internationally, Oyster made two appearances for the U.S. Women’s National Team, senior group, against Russia in March 2017.

NWSL increases roster sizes for 2019, pay is higher

Strides continue to help grow the NWSL in its sixth season.

Last season, only 20 players were permitted on an NWSL roster. This season, that number has jumped to 22 players. To give some insight, an average World Cup roster includes 23 players.

In addition to the roster increase, the minimum and maximum based salaries have been raised. Last season, the minimum for NWSL players was $15,750. However, this season, the league has raised the number to $16,538.

Meanwhile, the maximum number has been raised from $44,000 to $46,200. The salary cap for NWSL teams stands at $421,500.

“This is an important step in the growth of the league,” Amanda Duffy, NWSL president and managing director, said. “In addition to these roster changes allowing the league and its teams to provide additional employment opportunities for more players plus additional benefits in connection with housing and auto, this marks the sixth consecutive season the Board of Directors has supported increased compensation.”

Abby Erceg will be available for World Cup selection

One of the biggest questions for the North Carolina Courage and New Zealand Women’s National Team has been answered.

Abby Erceg, defender and captain for both teams, will be available for selection.

Erceg previously fought tooth-and-nail with her federation for equality and equal pay. The New Zealand federation has made strides, which has changed Erceg’s mind about not featuring for them anymore. According to head coach Tom Sermanni, who formerly coached the Orlando Pride, Erceg will be available.

“Abby is a world-class and highly experienced international player,” Sermanni said. “To have someone of her ability make herself available for the program as we build to the World Cup is a huge boost for everyone.”

Erceg has recorded 132 international appearances for the Ferns. She has scored five goals in her international career. Erceg first retired from the national team in 2017, but returned in February 2018 to face Scotland in two friendlies. She retired again, but suited up against Japan in May 2018.

During Erceg’s original retirement announcement, she put out a statement about the federations rough circumstances.

“Due to the unfortunate and unfavourable circumstances within the organisation that is NZF, it is with regret and great sadness that today is the day that I announce my retirement from the international game. Without being able to justify my involvement any longer I will be stepping back in the hopes to create change for the current and future generations of NZ footballers, Erceg wrote on her personal Instagram account.

New Zealand will begin 2019 preparations for the World Cup with the Cup of Nations. New Zealand will face off against Australia, Argentina and South Korea. In May, the Ferns will travel to St. Louis to take on the United States.

Amanda Duffy named NWSL president

Amanda Duffy has received a promotion.

The former managing director of the NWSL was promoted to league president on Tuesday. Duffy joined the league in 2017 as the managing director of operations. Since the retirement of Jeff Plush as NWSL commissioner, Duffy seemingly stepped into the role.

According to the league, Duffy will continue to oversee the league’s day-to-day operations. She will also to work with NWSL owners on “the strategic direction and objectives for the NWSL.” Under Duffy, the league earned a television deal with A+E Networks, which airs a game of the week on Lifetime TV.

She is also on the NWSL Media Board of Directors.

“I would like to thank the NWSL Board for its support and confidence in me,” Duffy said. “The NWSL has made significant strides over the past six seasons thanks to the world class talent of our players, the vision of our owners and the commitment by everyone associated with the league to make NWSL the global destination for the very best in women’s professional soccer. Add to that the remarkable support from our fans, sponsors and media partners, and we’ve built an outstanding foundation that all of us can work from to realize the extraordinary promise of NWSL and each of our teams.”

Duffy’s credible experience in the men’s and women’s game

Duffy’s experience doesn’t just include women’s soccer. The president of the league formerly worked for Louisville City FC in the United Soccer League (USL), starting in October 2014.

She has president experience as well. Duffy was named Louisville City’s FC president in November 2015, after serving in roles like vice president of operations and general manager. Duffy also spent time in USL headquarters for about seven years.

North Carolina Courage owner and executive committee chair, Steve Malik, called Duffy “instrumental in operating the league as managing director.”

“She’s an extremely talented professional and we feel that she will continue to foster the league’s growth as president,” Malik said. “As we look to the future, her experience and talents are a great fit for taking the league to the next level.”

PHOTO: Beverly Yanez celebrates her goal against the Washington Spirit on May 13, 2017, at Memorial Stadium in Seattle, Wa. Photo courtesy of Jane Gershovich/Seattle Reign FC.

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