Basque side SD Eibar announced this morning that they had signed México National Team left back Jiména López through the end of June 2022. López had been drafted out of Texas A&M University earlier in the month by OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League of the United States but instead spent the week in Eibar with the club.
López has represented México at the U15, U17, U20, and Senior Team levels, most recently at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifiers. She was not part of the squad Mónica Vergara called to the January 28 camp at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento (CAR) in México City, although since that selection is made up of players based in Division I universities in the United States and Liga MX Femenil teams it (now) makes sense why.
In a press release from Eibar, López said she was “very excited and want to contribute how I can to the team.” Eibar is scheduled to travel to Madrid to take on Atlético Madrid on January 31, however it’s unknown if López will be registered in time to play. Madrid will be without Charlyn Corral, who suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on October 5 and is still rehabbing.
Also unknown is López’ future with OL Reign, as the team retains her rights in NWSL despite her signing with Eibar. A spokesperson with Eibar confirmed to FMF State of Mind it was not a loan and that López was under contract this season and next. In a press release yesterday, OL Reign said they would retain her rights through the start of the 2022 NWSL preseason. From the release:
“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.”
The issue is that this might not mean much for OL Reign, since NWSL preseason will most likely occur before López’ contract expires at the end of June. The good news is that López will most likely get more minutes with Eibar than she would have with OL Reign, and possibly at a higher level when factoring in continental competitions.