Bev Yanez Announces Her Retirement from Professional Soccer
TACOMA, WASH. - After a decade of professional soccer, Reign FC midfielder Bev Yanez has announced her decision to retire ahead of the 2020 NWSL season. Yanez played six seasons for Reign FC after joining from INAC Kobe Leonessa on loan prior to the 2014 NWSL season.
Yanez began her professional career with the Washington Freedom in the WPS, who selected her in the third round of the 2010 WPS college draft. In 2011 Yanez played for the Western NY Flash in the WPS after being drafted by the club in the 2010 WPS Expansion Draft. Yanez then went on to play with Pallokerho-35 in Finland, after which she signed with Sky Blue FC of the WPS just prior to the collapse of the league. She then made a move to Japan after signing with INAC Kobe, where she played two seasons, during which time she won the Nadeshiko League's golden boot and was named to the league's Best XI in 2013.
Now 31, and with ten seasons of professional soccer behind her, Yanez reflected on her six years with Reign FC.
"It's meant the world to me," Yanez said of her time with the club. "A 26-year-old comes in and is trying to make an impact. To have a club be interested in me, invest in me and believe in me? To have them care for me and support me? It means the world."
Yanez continued, "I'm very grateful. I don't think I could tell you how grateful I was. You'd just hear it a million times because that's truly how I feel to have had the opportunity to play for a club for six seasons and growing with the club. The club is always trying to make sure it can provide everything for its players that it has the opportunity to provide. I've always respected that about this club and I've always seen it as a club where people want to be. For me, it says a lot about the club and what they value. I'm very grateful that I got to spend six seasons here and to grow as a player and person and fall in love with the city. I've made so many friends that I'll keep for a lifetime. This is a very exciting new chapter for me, but it's also an emotional one to close because I cared and loved what I did so much. I'm so grateful to be able to choose when I step away. A lot of players don't get to do that. My family and I will always be Reign fans for the rest of our lives."
Yanez was beloved by fans, who found that her intensity on the pitch was matched by her friendliness off it. Former Reign FC head coach and current U.S. Women's National Team U20 head coach Laura Harvey praised both aspects of the midfielder.
"Bev is one of most genuine, caring, happiest people I've ever had the pleasure to work with," Harvey said. "She would come to training everyday wanting to be the best she could be. Her evolution as a player over time has been very impressive. From a goalscoring number nine who came back from Japan full of new ideas, she evolved her game to fit into the NWSL and had immediate impact on her return. Her willingness to defend as a forward allowed her to become a player that could play in multiple roles. She has had a great career and will be someone that every teammate or opponent will remember as a true professional, but most importantly as an amazing human being who makes every environment a better place when she is around. I wish Bev every success and happiness in her next chapter."
Former Reign FC and current U.S. Women's National Team coach Vlatko Andonovski commended Yanez' abilities as a leader and trendsetter for her teammates.
"I know Bev was an important part of any team she played on, not only through her talent on the field, but in her ability to bring people together off the field," Andonovski said. "I always found Bev to be a true pro. She was a tremendous leader and student of the game who was always trying to get better. She was also a great role model and friend to her teammates and she was truly a pleasure to coach. She is player that every coach would love to have on their team and she made an important contribution to the NWSL during her career. I consider Bev and her husband good friends and I wish them all the best in the next steps of their lives. I know they will continue to give back to the game, because that's the kind of people they are."
In total, Yanez made 129 appearances over six seasons for Reign FC, including playoff matches. She scored 25 goals in those contests, good for fourth best in club history behind Megan Rapinoe, Jess Fishlock, and Kim Little. Yanez was instrumental in Reign FC's 2014 and 2015 NWSL Shield-winning campaigns, scoring 15 goals across the two seasons.
"Bev made a massive impact on our club both on and off the pitch. She helped shape the values of our organization and lived them every day. She was a special player and an even better person," said Reign FC CEO Bill Predmore. "Bev embodied our aspirations for the club: she worked every day to be the best player and person she could be, she lifted up her teammates and helped them be better players, she selflessly adapted to always give the team what it needed, she made personal sacrifices for the good of the group, and she was relentless in her pursuit of success for the team. Teresa and I will always be inspired by all she gave to the team and we are deeply appreciative of the opportunity to have worked with her over the last six years."
With her playing days coming to a close, Yanez will turn her attention to coaching. She will join the staff at the Copa Soccer Training Center in Walnut Creek, California, an elite training space for developing soccer players. She says she and her husband, OT, plan to start a family.
"One chapter ends and the next begins," Yanez said. "I'm extremely passionate about sharing the game with the youth. What I've learned through my pro career in the WPS, in Japan and in the NWSL, collecting everything I learned in that period and giving it to youth players- things that I wished I had learned at their age. I'm excited to see how I can make an impact in the growth of soccer in the US. It's a huge passion of mine. I'm especially passionate about giving back to the women's game and empowering other women to chase their dreams. Watching this league grow every day brings so much joy to my heart because I do see myself as being on board, maybe after (2013), but being on board from the get-go. I've been able to see this league grow and I do consider myself a pioneer of the women's game. The sacrifices that we've had to make in order to make this league grow as much as possible. To see it growing and being a part of that growth has touched my heart forever. It's showed me that I want to continue to give back to the women's game in any capacity. In my new environment here at Copa, it helps me combine my passion for the game and giving back."
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National Women's Soccer League Stories from February 10, 2020
- Chicago Announces Technical & Medical Staff - Chicago Red Stars
- Reign FC Re-Signs Jess Fishlock in Two-Year Deal - OL Reign
- Spirit Sign All Five 2020 Draftees, Add Katie Lund to Keeper Corps - Washington Spirit
- Bev Yanez Announces Her Retirement from Professional Soccer - OL Reign
- Orlando Pride Signs New Zealand Women's National Team Defender Ali Riley - Orlando Pride
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