'Next chapter' beckons for Catley after Reign departure

Westfield Matildas defender Steph Catley has revealed her departure from NWSL club OL Reign, hinting at a move to a new league abroad. 

Catley, 26, has spent the past seven seasons in the NWSL, representing Portland Thorns, Orlando Pride, and most recently Seattle Reign (now OL Reign). 

However, a new challenge is now on the horizon, with the Westfield Matildas vice-captain looking to secure a new club. 

"It is with a heavy heart that today I announce my departure from OL Reign," Catley said in a statement via Twitter. 

"In saying that, my heart is full from the memories I have made over the past 2-3 years in Seattle and Tacoma. 

"Every day I spent as a OL Reign player, I felt supported and cared for as a footballer but more importantly as a person. 

"Most significantly, I will never forget the support that the club showed me when I went through the toughest period of my life in 2018 with the passing of my father. 

"They stood by me through every step with patience and understanding, and made returning to America feel like I was coming home to a second family."

Steph Catley making Kyah Simon feel welcome on her long-awaited return to Westfield Matildas action

Catley added: "As an athlete you're always trying to push yourself to be better. I've been in the NWSL for the past 7 years and the league had made me the player I am today. 

"However, I believe now is the right time to move onto the next chapter and challenge myself in a different environment. 

"No matter where I am or who I'm playing for, I will always be OL Reign's biggest supporter."