[AMERICANS ABROAD] U.S. national team starMegan Rapinoe has left French giant Lyon to return home and concentrate on playing for the NWSL's Seattle Reign FC. The announcement came amid reports of problems with Lyon coach Patrice Lair and two days after she was an unused sub in Lyon's 1-0 loss to Paris St. Germain that snapped its 47-game winning streak and 87-game unbeaten streak in France's Feminine Division I.
Rapinoe's move comes as no surprise as U.S. Soccer brings back the foreign-based women's national team stars to play in the NWSL.
Rapinoe had played in only eight of Lyon's 15 games this season as she struggled to break into its star-studded lineup. Lyon, the 2011 and 2012 European champion and 2013 European runners-up, has already been eliminated from the Champions League.
In a statement released by Lyon, Rapinoe said, "It's too hard for me. It's sad, but I think it's best for my life. I would like to thank the club, fans and girls. I am very happy to have come here for a year."
The French daily L'Equipe reported the breakup in its web version, quoting a source who said that Lair had no respect for Rapinoe, but the coach, rumored to be on his way out, said he had no problem with the U.S. star.
Rapinoe had started for Lyon in its 1-0 loss to Wolfsburg in the 2013 Champions League final in London, but Lair took her off early in the second half. She finishes her Lyon career with five goals in 14 league games.
She had played the second half of the 2013 NWSL season, helping turn around the Reign, which struggled without her and its other U.S. allocations, Hope Solo (injured wrist) and Amy Rodriguez (pregnant) out of the gate.
“I am excited to return to Seattle and play for an entire NWSL season," Rapinoe said in a statement released by the Reign. "The league is the strongest in the world and Laura Harvey has assembled a world-class squad and created an environment in which I feel I can thrive.”
-- Lindsey Horan, who had left Concacaf Under-20 Women's Championship before the knockout phase, started for PSG in the win over Lyon that moved it to within three points of OL with eight games to play. The game drew 7,512 fans at the Stade de Gerland.