Breaking: Alex Morgan heads to France for Champions League

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Alex Morgan, of the Orlando Pride, is heading to France for the end of the Olympic Lyons 2016-2017 season.

Morgan has played in the NWSL for each of the first four seasons. First with the Portland Thorns, and then in the 2016 season for the Orlando Pride.

Morgan explains her reasons for leaving in this piece in The Players’ Tribune.

Below is a portion of the press release from the Orlando Pride.

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 20, 2016) – U.S. Women’s National Team (U. S. WNT) forward Alex Morgan has communicated her desire to play the first half of 2017 in Europe, and will join French side Olympique Lyonnais. Morgan will return to the Pride following the conclusion of Lyon’s 2016-17 season in May.

“We are obviously disappointed that Alex will miss the beginning of the Pride season but understand her wishes to play in Europe and we look forward to her rejoining her teammates after Lyon’s season,” Orlando City SC Founder and President Phil Rawlins said. “This in no way affects our plans or commitment to growing Orlando Pride and we will continue providing the team the best available players, training resources and staff to become a championship contender in the NWSL and a leader in women’s professional soccer.”

“My decision to play for Lyon was not an easy one, but it is an important step in my evolution as a player,” Morgan said. “I want to thank the Pride and our incredible fans and community for their continued support. I look forward to returning home this summer as a better player and leader to join my teammates at our new stadium as we compete for a NWSL Championship.”

Morgan and fellow U.S. WNT players are annually allocated to NWSL by the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF). Currently, the USSF and the U.S. WNT Players Association are negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the current agreement set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016.