Australian international defender Steph Catley has announced that she is leaving parent club OL Reign.
Catley released a statement on her social media channels saying “It is with a heavy heart that today I announce my departure from OL Reign. In saying that, my heart is full from the memories I have made over the past 2-3 years in Seattle and Tacoma. I am beyond thankful for the entire organization, but in particular Bill and Teresa Predmore who have cared for and molded the club into the family that it is today,” said Catley.
“Every day I spent as an OL Reign player, I felt supported and cared for as a footballer but more importantly as a person. Most significantly, I will never forget the support that the club showed me when I went through the toughest period of my life in 2018 with the passing of my father.”
“They stood by me through every step with patience and understanding, and made returning to America feel like I was coming home to a second family. I’ve been challenged and grown as a player and a person, I’ve had fun, and made memories and lifelong friendships that I will always cherish”.
Catley started and played 33 matches for OL Reign, including both the 2018 and 2019 NWSL semi-final finals. She also recorded five assists in 2,949 minutes of play across all competitions.
The full-back is a reported target for Arsenal Women who with Joe Montemurro at the helm and January signing Caitlin Foord have an Australian connection at the club.
Catley continued, “As an athlete you’re always trying to push yourself to be better. I’ve been in the NWSL for the past seven years and the league has made me the player I am today. However, I believe now is the right time to move onto the next chapter and challenge myself in a different environment. No matter where I am or who I’m playing for, I will always be OL Reign’s biggest supporter.”
“It is difficult to see Steph depart, given all she has meant to this club over the past two seasons. She is a fantastic talent and individual,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore. “While we are all disappointed to see her go, we understand and are supportive of her move. Should the opportunity ever arise, we would gladly welcome her back to the club in the future.”
Catley, spoke to the Herald Sun back in January acknowledged that she was looking for a move to European football, saying, “I’ll more than likely be in Europe the next transfer window. I haven’t signed anything, just been talking. England’s where I’m looking.”