Three Reign FC players have been named to the National Women’s Soccer League Second XI, the league announced today. Centerback Lauren Barnes, forward Bethany Balcer and forward Megan Rapinoe earned the all-league honor.
“I’m very proud of all three of them,” Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “I’m very happy to see them being recognized as some of the best players in the league. They all did a terrific job and they all contributed to the success that Reign FC has had this season. I want to personally congratulate them and I’m excited for the future.”
Barnes, who has also been nominated for the league’s Defender of the Year award, started all 23 of her appearances for Reign FC this season, playing 2,070 minutes. The defender committed eight fouls during the regular season, helping anchor a back line that conceded the third-fewest goals in the league.
This is Barnes’ second selection to the NWSL Second XI. The defender previously made the squad in 2014 and was named to the 2015 and 2016 Best XI.
“It’s always a great honor to be recognized in one of the top leagues in the world,” Barnes said. “I’m happy to contribute as much as I can to Reign FC and this league but I wouldn’t be able to be where I am without my teammates and coaches.”
Balcer, who has also been nominated for the league’s Rookie of the Year award, was the only Reign FC player to appear in all 24 regular season contests, playing 1,700 minutes. The forward led all rookies in scoring, with six goals and two assists. Balcer also finished fifth in the league with 69 shots taken.
“This whole season has been quite the whirlwind, but I wouldn’t change anything about it,” Balcer said. “To be named to the Second XI far exceeds any expectations I had on myself this season. I’m glad I was able to help to contribute to the success of the team in the way I did and it’s an honor to be recognized in this way. I’m grateful to my teammates and coaches for helping me grow so much my first year in the league and I hope to build off this momentum going forward.”
Rapinoe made her season debut on September 7 and quickly helped establish herself as a critical part of Reign FC’s attack, helping the club to a 3-1 win over the Orlando Pride. Rapinoe finished with five appearances for Reign FC and was named the FIFA Best Women’s Player of the Year on September 23.
The award is Rapinoe’s fourth time being named to the NWSL Second XI, having achieved the honor in 2013, 2015 and 2017. The forward was also named to the 2018 NWSL Best XI.
Reign FC finished the 2019 season with a 10-6-8 record, reaching the NWSL semifinal for the second year in a row and the fourth time in six years.