NWSL: Beverly Yanez announces retirement; Reign re-signs Fishlock

Beverly Yanez NWSL

Tacoma, Washington — If there was ever a face of the franchise for Reign FC, it would be Beverly Yanez. Most fans in the NWSL would credit that title to Megan Rapinoe, a flashy U.S. women’s national team star. However, Yanez came to Seattle/Tacoma in 2014 and made it her home.

Yanez announced on Monday that she is retiring from professional soccer. The forward made 129 appearances for Reign FC throughout the regular season and playoffs. In her appearances, she totaled 25 goals, which is fourth-best in club history. She was part of the Reign FC teams that won the NWSL Shield in 2014 and 2015.

According to Reign FC, Yanez is returning home to California to begin her coaching career. She is joining the Copa Soccer Training Center staff in Walnut Creek, California. Also in her future is starting a family with her husband, Othaniel Yanez, who previously featured for the Columbus Crew SC.

“I’m very grateful. I don’t think I could tell you how grateful I was,” Yanez said. “You’d just hear it a million times because that’s truly how I feel to have had the opportunity to play for a club for six seasons and growing with the club. The club is always trying to make sure it can provide everything for its players that it has the opportunity to provide. I’ve always respected that about this club and I’ve always seen it as a club where people want to be.”

Yanez said that she’s ready and excited for the next chapter in her life. But, she called closing her soccer career emotional. Yanez said she’s grateful that she got to pick when she wanted to retire.

“I’m very grateful that I got to spend six seasons here and to grow as a player and person and fall in love with the city,” she said. “I’ve made so many friends that I’ll keep for a lifetime.”

Yanez’ impact in the NWSL

Yanez might not be a national team star, but she’s the reason why the NWSL is in place. Her commitment to the game, and growing it, made her a well-liked player across the league. A veteran, she was a key force to Reign FC making the playoffs in 2019.

Her former head coach, Laura Harvey, called her one of the most genuine, caring and happiest person she’s ever met.

“She has had a great career and will be someone that every teammate or opponent will remember as a true professional, but most importantly as an amazing human being who makes every environment a better place when she is around,” Harvey said.

Her most recent head coach — and now current USWNT coach — Vlatko Andonovski said her ability to bring people together stood out most to him. Andonovski called Yanez a true professional.

“She was a tremendous leader and student of the game who was always trying to get better,” Andonovski said. “[Beverly] was also a great role model and friend to her teammates and she was truly a pleasure to coach. She is player that every coach would love to have on their team and she made an important contribution to the NWSL during her career.”

Yanez said that her focus now is giving back to the game that gave her a professional career.

“I’m excited to see how I can make an impact in the growth of soccer in the US,” Yanez said. “It’s a huge passion of mine. I’m especially passionate about giving back to the women’s game and empowering other women to chase their dreams.”

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I fell in love with the game at 5 years old. I attended the WC in 99 and my sights were set on becoming a women’s pro soccer player. I committed my life to accomplishing that goal. I made life decisions based on how it would effect the player I wanted to become. I was driven. Driven by a love and passion for the game. When I played my whole world stopped and I just smiled. To be a part of the @nwsl and play for the @reignfc for the past 6 seasons has been such a joy. As soon as I arrived to the club I knew that’s where I wanted to be for the rest of my career- to be able to do just that is an absolute honor. The club works so hard to create a positive and competitive environment for players to thrive in. My parents always taught me that although being a great soccer player was cool it was more important to be a good person. I did my best to live by this my entire career. I told myself when the time comes to hang up the boots up, I want those around me to say that I was one of the best teammates they’ve ever had. Most wont remember when you play well but they will remember you being there for them when needed the most. Playing in such a competitive environment naturally brings a lot of emotion. Never underestimate the impact of being a good teammate for the greater good of the team. Seeing the women’s game grow has been nothing short of amazing. So much respect for all women in sport and all those women competing everyday to be the best versions of themselves, while fighting for more visibility, equal pay, and so much more. The world needs to see more females competing at the highest level. They’re out there and they’ve dedicated their entire lives to being great. So thank you-thank you to every coach, every teammate, every fan, every hater, without you I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have learned from those around me, I have cried and I have celebrated with teammates I will call friends for the rest of my life. Soccer gave me the opportunity to travel the world and meet some of the most inspiring people. To my parents I love you. I can only hope one day to be parents like you, ones that listen to their children, loves them unconditionally and….

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Reign FC re-signs Jessica Fishlock

While Yanez retires from her professional career and Reign FC, the club announced the re-signing of midfielder Jessica Fishlock. The Wales international is currently rehabbing from a torn ACL she suffered last year.

Fishlock has been with Reign FC since the NWSL started in 2013. During her time with the club, she has also gone on loan to clubs like Glasgow City, Melbourne Victory, FFC Frankfurt and Melbourne City. However, her most impressive stint on loan came with Olympique Lyonnais in 2018-19.

Now, the OL Groupe, which runs Lyon, is the majority owner of the Reign. Reign FC CEO, and former majority owner, Bill Predmore said that bringing Fishlock back was a key priority in the offseason.

“She has been an incredibly important part of this squad and continues to deliver great performances when we need them,” Predmore said. “Despite only playing a handful of matches for us last season, Jess demonstrated the quality and leadership she brings when she is on the pitch. We are thrilled to have her back.”

Meanwhile, Fishlock, who is close to her 100th appearance for Reign FC, said that coming back was an easy decision.

“I am excited for the future of this club and I wanted to be a part of that,” Fishlock said. “Throughout my whole rehabilitation process, Reign FC has been so supportive and helpful in ensuring that I get the best medical care possible. I will forever be grateful and hope I can repay that when I get back to full fitness.”