OL Reign re-signed a familiar face this morning, announcing the return of defender Alana Cook on a three-year deal this morning. Cook had previously appeared in three matches while on loan for OL Reign during the 2020 Challenge Cup, and now joins the Tacoma club permanently from French club Paris Saint-Germain.
“We are very excited to have Alana joining our team again after her time at PSG,” said OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti. “She will be a great addition to the team and will help us towards the goal of winning our first NWSL Championship. She is a player that will increase our quality of play on the field and add depth to our roster.”
The 24-year-old US international helped write history for PSG as the club won their first ever Division 1 Féminie title this season, unseating OL Reign’s parent club Olympique Lyonnais after 14 consecutive titles. Cook has made 21 league appearances and 17 starts since her arrival to PSG in 2019, and also featured in the club’s UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign, scoring a vital equalizer in this year’s semifinal against eventual champions Barcelona.
“I’m extremely excited to be coming back to the Reign, ” said Cook. “My first time playing for the Reign over the summer for the Challenge Cup, I really enjoyed myself. The group was amazing, staff and players alike, so I’m just very excited to be getting back in with the group and hopefully get going pretty quickly and get aligned with the goals of the club and the goals of the team.”
Cook’s signing comes as OL Reign prioritizes bringing in elite talent from overseas. Benstiti and the Reign have already signed midfielder Dzsenifer Maroszán, goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi and forward Eugénie Le Sommer from Lyon on one-year loans. They’ve also signed Cook’s US national team teammate Rose Lavelle after a stint with Manchester City in England.
The Stanford product will first report to US national team camp with OL Reign teammates Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe as Vlatko Andonovski’s side prepares for this summer’s Olympics with a slate of friendlies. She will not miss anything in Tacoma however, as the NWSL chose to observe the June FIFA international window and paused league play to accommodate its national team members. The US is set to take on Jamaica, Portugal and Nigeria for their pre-Olympic tune-ups.
The Reign, meanwhile, are coming off a 1-0 defeat to NJ/NY Gotham FC this past weekend. The Reign outshot Gotham and once again enjoyed positive contributions from Lavelle, Rapinoe and others but could not overcome a 13th minute goal by Ifeona Onumonu for the hosts. Though they were blanked on the scoresheet, the Reign had plenty of chances to equalize or take the lead that they ultimately did not finish.
“It’s a good problem to have that we’re creating these chances but not finishing them,” said Reign captain Lauren Barnes. “It’d be a bigger problem if we’re not creating chances.”
Though the loss dropped OL Reign to eighth in the 10-team table after week five, no one at the club believes there’s much cause for concern. Bethenny Balcer took to Twitter to allay any worries about the club’s standing and remind everyone that the season has barely started.
“[sic] lol at people doubting us in game 4 of a 24 game season. talk to me on november 20,” Balcer tweeted, referring to the date when the NWSL will award this season’s champion.
Jess Fishlock, who left the game in the 48th minute with a hamstring injury, which Benstiti said doesn’t appear too serious and that he hopes will heal during the international break, shared a similar message. “Last two games we’ve taken losses when they could’ve/should’ve been wins,” Fishlock wrote. “[sic] We learn .. we get back to work .. we make them become wins. Long ass season everyone. Don’t you worry about us.”
Cook will join OL Reign for their next match on June 19th, as the team will return from the international break and travel to Cary, North Carolina for a date with the North Carolina Courage.
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Image Courtesy of OLReign.com