Update: Angel City FC have confirmed the loan deal and announce they have picked up Gilles’ 2023 contract option, which will run through December 2023.
“We’ve been fortunate in our first year to attract world class talent and players like Vanessa,” said ACFC General Manager Angela Hucles Mangano in a team statement. “While her presence will be greatly missed, we feel that by extending her contract through December 2023 and retaining her rights, we are supporting her as a player in what we know is a dream opportunity for her. Angel City is a player-focused club with a holistic professional development approach. We are happy that this arrangement achieves all of this for the clubs and Vanessa.”
“Being a part of Angel City this year has been an incredible experience, both on-and-off the pitch. The fans, my teammates, and the entire Angel City family have made representing this crest mean so much,” said Gilles. “Leaving before the end of the season was a very difficult decision to make both because we are in a run for playoffs, and because I have been injured and unable to contribute as much as I would have liked. It is very bittersweet. However, having the opportunity to go on loan to Lyon and compete in the Champions League among some of the best in the world has always been a dream of mine, and is one that I couldn’t pass up.”
Women’s football powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais announced on Monday they have acquired defender Vanessa Gilles on loan from Angel City FC through Lyon’s 2022-23 season, which concludes in June. Of note, the loan comes without a clause to purchase the player at the end of the current deal.
Gilles, 26, has been a fixture for Angel City’s defense when healthy and available, making 13 appearances between the NWSL Challenge Cup and regular season in ACFC’s debut year, scoring a goal and an assist. However, the Canadian international missed time while on international duty this summer and has not played for the club since June 7, as she returned from international duty with a hip injury that Lyon says will take a few more weeks yet to heal.
A native French speaker whose father was born in France, Gilles previously played in Division 1 Feminine, at Bordeaux, and it’s clear to see that even in limited minutes in the NWSL, she was an outstanding center back and should be able to hang at a perpetual title-winner like Lyon pretty easily. With Lyon needing a central defender after the long-term injury of Griedge Mbock, when the defending UEFA Champions League title holders and global titan in women’s football calls your name, you probably don’t think twice about going.
Vanessa Gilles, championne olympique Canadienne, rejoint l'OL sous la forme d'un prêt sans option d'achat ✍️— OL Féminin (@OLfeminin) September 19, 2022
On the Angel City side, while they are losing a building block of their squad, not only for the next nine months but possibly for good, Gilles has been hurt or unavailable for most of the season at this point and would probably not feature for the rest of this regular season. Getting some loan money, burnishing a reputation as a team active on the international market, sending quality players to top teams in the world, maybe they are making lemonade of the situation.
While Angel City have not confirmed this deal is official yet, we certainly hope it’s done if Lyon are parading Gilles holding up one of their jerseys and announcing it officially on their side. I would consider this one done, hopefully Gilles heals up, tears up D1F, and maybe we’ll see her in an Angel City kit again in the future. Good luck, Vanessa!
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