U.S. national team midfielder Morgan Brian is leaving the National Women’s Soccer League after three seasons to play for Olympique Lyonnais, which has won 11 consecutive French league titles and the past two UEFA Champions League trophies.
The Georgia native, who starred at the University of Virginia, signed a 2 1/2-year contract to play in Lyon, the city serving as the hub for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Brian, who turns 25 next month, played more than two seasons for the Houston Dash before being traded to the Chicago Red Stars late last summer. Chicago will retain her league rights.
Injuries limited her to six national team appearances and two starts in 2017. She has 69 caps and six goals.
U.S. teammate Alex Morgan played for Olympique Lyonnais in early 2017 before returning stateside. The most prominent American on a full-time contract overseas is Crystal Dunn (Chelsea); the Washington Spirit owns her NWSL rights. Carli Lloyd was a short-term member of Manchester City last winter and spring before rejoining Houston.
Also moving to OL on Monday: Portland forward Amandine Henry, a French national team star who served with the Lyon club for 10 seasons before moving to the NWSL and winning a title with the Thorns last fall.
At the winter break, OL is 12-0-0 in Feminine Division I with a 59-2 goal differential and sits five points ahead of Paris Saint-Germain. Because OL, PSG and Montpellier dominate the league — their combined goal differential is plus-114 — only four of the 12 clubs have positive GDs.
OL will resume play Sunday at second-tier Racing Besancon in early-round cup competition. The Champions League campaign shifts into the quarterfinals in March with two legs against Barcelona.
>> On the men’s side, Bayern Munich is aiming to enlist Taylor Booth, a U.S. youth international from Real Salt Lake’s academy, the Insider has learned. The central midfielder, who won’t turn 17 until May, appeared in two matches (one start) at the Under-17 World Cup last year in India. He is currently with the U.S. U-18s at a camp in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. RSL has attempted to sign Booth to a homegrown contract. Because he is not under contract, the MLS club is not entitled to compensation from Bayern; RSL would, however, retain his MLS rights.
>> Kekuta Manneh, a Gambian-born forward who gained U.S. citizenship in 2016, has signed with Pachuca in Mexico after five seasons in MLS, mostly with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Traded last March, he scored four goals for the Columbus Crew. His contract expired at the end of the season. He trialed with Union Berlin last fall. Manneh, 23, received his first U.S. national team call-up last winter but has yet to earn a cap.
>> Americans abroad in action in England …
Geoff Cameron played 90 minutes for Stoke City and DeAndre Yedlin went 90 in Newcastle’s 1-0 away victory, which provided some breathing room in the Magpies’ quest to avoid relegation. (They are now four points clear.) Meantime, Stoke is just two points above the line and has played one or two more matches than the clubs chasing it.
Danny Williams played 90 in Huddersfield Town’s 3-0 defeat at Leicester City.
Aaron Schoenfeld came on in the 85th minute as Maccabi Tel Aviv won at Bnei Sakhnin, 1-0.
Tim Ream and Luca De La Torre for Fulham vs. Ipswich Town, 2:45 p.m. ET
>> With the holidays over and everyone back to work, expect MLS clubs to resume announcements about signings and trades. New York City FC did not wait, adding Paraguayan attacking midfielder Jesus Medina, 20, from Libertad in his native country just as 2018 dawned. He becomes NYCFC’s third designated player, joining David Villa and Maxi Moralez. A longtime youth international, Medina made his senior debut last summer against Mexico.