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USWNT goalkeeping prospect leaves NWSL for Manchester United

(Mike Watters/USA TODAY Sports)

Phallon Tullis-Joyce is headed to Manchester United.

The deal, first reported by Mail Sport’s Kathryn Batte, sends the OL Reign goalkeeper across the pond from the NWSL to the Women’s Super League. Tullis-Joyce commanded a transfer fee of close to $160,000, a record for a goalkeeper, Sounder at Heart reported.

“Today has been pure excitement for me,” Tullis-Joyce said in a news release. “Manchester United is such an historic club, that has already done so much in the women’s game. I’m so honored to get this opportunity.”

United are expected to retain England national team goalkeeper Mary Earps despite a record offer from Arsenal. Earps, who won the Golden Glove award at the 2023 World Cup, reportedly wanted to leave the club this summer. Her contract runs through the end of the 2023-24 season.

The signing of Tullis-Joyce, who has been the starting goalkeeper for OL Reign for the majority of the last two seasons but has been the backup in the team’s last two league games, gives United a replacement for Earps if she departs in 2024.

The 26-year-old goalkeeper is a big pickup for United, as she has been among the NWSL’s best at her position over the last two seasons and is in the conversation for the USWNT. Last season, she allowing 19 goals in 22 games for an average of 0.86 goals against per 90, which ranked first in the league. Her 81.3% save percentage and nine clean sheets last year also ranked first in the league.

This season, she ranked sixth in goals against average (1.07) and tenth in clean sheets with four before departing for Manchester United. She leaves OL Reign in the midst of the NWSL playoff race, with the Seattle-based club in fourth place with four matches remaining in the regular season.

“Phallon is someone who we value and has achieved quite a lot both on and off field during her time here,” OL Reign general manager Lesle Gallimore said in a news release. “We worked with Phallon and Manchester United to make sure all parties were satisfied with the move and once we got to an agreement, everything moved pretty quickly. We will be forever grateful for Phallon’s achievements with OL Reign and wish her all the best in the WSL.”

Tullis-Joyce has previous experience overseas, having played for Stade de Reims for two seasons in France’s Division 1 Féminine before joining OL Reign in 2021.