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OL Reign Re-Signs Defender Steph Cox

January 25, 2021 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - OL Reign News Release

TACOMA, WA - OL Reign today announced that it has re-signed defender Steph Cox through the 2021 season. As per team and league policy, terms were not disclosed.

Cox, 34, is an OL Reign original, having first signed with the club during its inaugural season in 2013. Cox was a key part of the dominant defense that helped the club win back-to-back NWSL Shields in 2014 and 2015. She elected to end her professional playing career at the end of the 2015 season, but remained with the club while working as an assistant coach for Seattle Reign FC in 2017 under then-head coach Laura Harvey.

After a two-year absence from the club, Cox returned as an assistant coach in 2019 under then-head coach Vlatko Andonovski. Cox made her return to pitch on May 31, 2019 after being added to the club's roster as a national team replacement player. After seeing immediate success, Cox was signed to the full roster on July 16, 2019.

In 2020 Cox made 8 starts during the Challenge Cup and Fall Series. She amassed 688 minutes over the two competitions, the third-highest tally on the team.

"Steph is a special player with a great mind for the game," said OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti. "Her quality is tremendous and the leadership she brings is incredibly important for our club. Having her return was essential to our plans for this season."

Cox also has 89 caps for the U.S. Women's National Team, dating back to her debut in 2006. She helped the U.S. win Olympic Gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She also appeared for the U.S. at the 2007 and 2011 FIFA Women's World Cups.

"I am excited to be continuing my career and am so grateful that OL Reign is a place I call home on and off the field," said Cox. "I look forward to the pursuit of a championship this season alongside the rest of my talented teammates and our amazing staff."

OL Reign also announced that that Jimena Lopez, who was selected by OL Reign with the 28th overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, has elected to begin her professional playing career in Europe. OL Reign will retain Lopez's NWSL rights through the start of the 2022 NWSL preseason.

"When selecting Jimena in the NWSL Draft we were aware that it was likely she would first play in Europe before playing in the NWSL," said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore. "While we believe she is capable of making an impact in the NWSL today, we are nonetheless supportive of her decision and think the move to Europe will accelerate her growth given the playing time she is expected to receive.

"Our view with Jimena has always been focused on the future- we will closely monitor her progress, and when the time is right for all involved, we will work to facilitate a move to our club."

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