Reign FC has signed defender Taylor Smith. Smith, who has 10 appearances for the U.S. Women’s National Team, most recently played for the Newcastle Jets in the Australian W-League.
Smith played for the Washington Spirit during the 2018 NWSL season, after being traded by North Carolina after one season with the Courage and one season with the Western New York Flash.
“I was super excited to get the phone call from Bill [Reign FC owner Bill Predmore],” Smith said. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about the organization and Vlatko, which is very important me. I’ve had the privilege of playing with Darian [Jenkins] and Megan [Oyster] at UCLA and am stoked to be reunited with such great people and great players.”
Smith tore her ACL in a match with the Newcastle Jets on Dec. 15. As a result, Smith is not expected to play for Reign FC during the 2019 NWSL season.
“I am very excited to have Taylor on the squad,” Andonovski said. “I think she’s very dynamic, a very intense player. She’ll fit perfectly in our type of team that we’re trying to build. Obviously, we’re not going to have her for this season, but I’m sure that she’ll do whatever it takes to get back on the pitch as quickly as possible. On our side we’ll do whatever it takes for her to get ready for next season.”
Reign FC was able to acquire Smith via the Discovery Process, after the Washington Spirit elected not to retain Smith’s rights.
The NWSL made Smith’s rights available to teams via the league’s Player Distribution Draft. The Player Distribution Draft is a mechanism the NWSL utilizes to distribute the NWSL rights of former allocated players. Smith was not selected by any team in the Player Distribution Draft, which made her discovery eligible. Reign FC made a discovery request for Smith, and due to the club’s priority in the discovery ranking order, was subsequently awarded her rights.
While she may not be able to play with Reign FC this season, Smith will still be able to get familiar with her new teammates. Her former college teammate and roommate at North Carolina Courage, Darian Jenkins, was eager to reunite with Smith.
“I’m really excited,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been good friends with Taylor for a really long time. I think she’ll bring a lot of speed and a really athletic presence to the team. She’s hilarious, so I think she’ll mesh well with the team and it will be great to have her.”
“I believe this club will help me grow into the player I want to be,” said Smith. “I can’t wait to get out there and support my new teammates and the club. I’m looking forward to continuing my rehab with the Reign and getting back on the field as soon as possible.”
Reign FC continues its preseason with the Thorns Spring Invitational next week in Portland. The Reign will play the U.S. WNT U23s on Sunday, March 24, the Chicago Red Stars Wednesday, March 27, and the Portland Thorns Saturday, March 30.
The Reign’s final preseason match will be against the University of Washington at Husky Soccer Stadium in Seattle Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. PT.