Melbourne Victory have secured American defender Lauren Barnes on loan from Seattle Reign FC for the 2014 W-League season.
The 25-year-old returns to the reigning Westfield W-League champion after a successful guest stint last season and becomes the club’s second international signing, following Reign FC teammate Elli Reed.
“This is a big coup for the club,” Melbourne Victory coach Joe Montemurro said.
“Lauren was an asset to the team in its championship success last season, not only as a highly accomplished player but also as a great leader. We’re thrilled to have her back.”
Barnes was one of the stars of Victory’s finals campaign, netting the winning penalty in the semi-final against Sydney FC and scoring a stunning volley against Brisbane Roar in the final.
She played in every minute of her five matches as a guest player and was used to great effect in defence, midfield and attack.
Though she is yet to represent the US national team at senior level, Barnes was an integral part of the US U-23 team which won the 2010 Four Nationals Tournament title.
Like Reed, she is currently preparing for Reign FC’s NWSL final against Kansas City on Sunday and won’t be available for selection until Victory’s Round 3 fixture away to Sydney FC.
Both players are eligible to play every match of the regular season and finals series from Round 3 onwards, as well as the International Women’s Club Championship in Tokyo in December, which Victory qualified for as the Australian champion.
Melbourne Victory begins its title defence away to Newcastle Jets on September 13.
Melbourne Victory 2014/2015 squad to date:
Lauren Barnes (international, loaned from Seattle Reign FC)
Elli Reed (international, loaned from Seattle Reign FC)
Gema Simon (signed from Newcastle Jets)
Hannah Brewer (signed from Newcastle Jets)
Racheal Quigley (signed from Adelaide United)
Amy Jackson (free agent)
Emma Checker (returning)
Bri Davey (returning)
Cassie Dimovski (returning)
Tiffany Eliadis (returning)
Beattie Goad (returning)
Gulcan Koca (returning)
Ella Mastrantonio (returning)
Alex Natoli (returning)
Maika Ruyter-Hooley (returning)