Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Reign FC, a National Women's Soccer League team featuring Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long, is negotiating a sale of the franchise to the parent company of French football club Olympique Lyonnais.
Reign FC and the OL Groupe announced the pact Monday. The clubs expect the transaction to close by Jan. 31. Reign FC will continue to play in Tacoma, Wash.
"Our ambition has always been to operate the best women's football club in the world," Reign FC majority owner Bill Predmore said in a news release. "This is a distinction long held by OL, making them the perfect organization to help us achieve our long-term objectives for the club."
Current Reign FC majority owners Teresa Predmore and Bill Predmore will keep a minority stake in the team after the sale is complete. Bill Predmore will serve as the CEO. Teresa Predmore will continue to serve as president of Reign Academy after the sale.
Reign FC has won two NWSL shields and made the playoffs four times. The club had a record-setting 2019 season in financial terms, with the most revenue from ticket sales, merchandise and sponsorship in franchise history. The club also set several attendance records in 2019.
"Teresa and I are proud of what the organization has accomplished over the past seven years and believe these efforts have created a strong foundation for the club's future success," Bill Predmore said. "That said, we know that there remains much work to do to realize our dreams and aspirations for the club."
Reign FC moved from Seattle to Tacoma in January. The franchise was founded in 2012 and originally played in Tukwila Wash., during their inaugural 2013 campaign. Reign FC dropped Seattle from their name before the 2019 season.
New United States Women's National Team coach Vlatko Andonovski coached Reign FC in 2018 and 2019 before assuming his new international role. Reign FC has not announced a replacement for Andonovski.
The NWSL is expected to introduce a new commissioner within the first six months of 2020. The league is also planning to expand to 12 teams in 2021.
"This investment is expected to consolidate OL's position as a major player in women's football worldwide and further develop the OL brand in the United States," the OL Groupe said in a news release.
Lyon has won the UEFA Women's Champions League six times, including the last four consecutive titles.
Reign FC's roster includes: Bev Yanez, Rosie White, Lydia Williams, Christen Westphal, Rumi Utsugi, Jodie Taylor, Addison Steiner, Jasmyne Spencer, Taylor Smith, Rebeccas Quinn, Sammy Jo Prudhomme, Morgan Proffitt, Ifeoma Onumonu, Megan Oyster, Casey Murphy, Kristen McNabb, Darian Jenkins, Celia Jimenez Delgado, Shea Groom, Schuyler DeBree, Steph Cox, Steph Catley, Michelle Betos, Lauren Barnes, Bethan Balcer, Morgan Andrews and Jessica Fishlock, in addition to Rapinoe and Long.
Rapinoe has been with Reign FC since the club's first season, but played for Lyon on loan in 2013.
"When Bill [Predmore] shared the news I was stunned, but my mind was immediately racing and dreaming about all the possibilities of what the two clubs could accomplish together," Fishlock said. "Lyon and Reign are both amazing organizations and I am so proud to have played for both clubs.
"Bringing the clubs together is for me the perfect combination -- I literally can't think of a better outcome for two clubs who are so dedicated to the growth of the women's game. I am incredibly excited about what the future holds for both clubs."
Reign FC finished fourth in the NWSL this season with a 10-6-8 record. The North Carolina Courage -- led by a cluster of U.S. women's team stars -- won the league with a 15-5-4 mark, edging Julie Ertz's Chicago Red Stars.