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Olympique Lyonnais parent in talks to buy NWSL's Reign FC

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By Reuters

By Amy Tennery

(Reuters) – The owners of Olympique Lyonnais are in talks to buy National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) franchise Reign FC, according to the Washington State-based club, bringing added clout to the team amid an explosive year for U.S. women’s soccer.

OL Groupe is expected to close the deal before the end of January next year, with current Reign FC owners Teresa Predmore and Bill Predmore retaining a minority stake in the club.

“Our ambition has always been to operate the best women’s football club in the world,” said Bill Predmore said in a written statement. “This is a distinction long held by OL, making them the perfect organization to help us achieve our long-term objectives for the club.”

It was not immediately clear how much the deal was valued at.

Olympique Lyonnais’ women’s team is among the most dominant in the sport, with 13 domestic league titles and some of soccer’s biggest names on its roster, including England’s Lucy Bronze and France’s Wendie Renard.

Reign FC is a reliable high performer in the NWSL, with then-coach Vlatko Andonovski leading the team to back-to-back playoff appearances before being appointed the head coach of the World Cup champion U.S. Women’s National Team.

Reign FC fans cheered the deal on social media, with women’s soccer seeing increased interest in the U.S.

The NWSL announced an expansion team in Louisville, Kentucky last month, after seeing record average attendance at games of 7,3000, up from roughly 4,000 in 2014.

(Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Kim Coghill)