Orlando Pride's long-awaited big day came today at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland, where only 24-hours earlier the MLS SuperDraft had been. Although a lot of the wheeling and dealing to iron out the order of draft picks came in advance of today's events, it's still fair to say you'd need a diagram to figure it all out.
The Pride's right to a No. 1 overall pick was traded to Portland as part of the deal to acquire Alex Morgan. As part of the trade, Orlando settled into last place with the 10th overall pick in the first round. However, the Pride were lucky enough to get a great selection with California defender Sam Witteman, who has just been called to camp as a USWNT U-23. Read The Mane Land's summary of the acquisition here.
— Samantha Witteman (@swittyyy) January 15, 2016
The second pick of the day came in the second round, 15th overall, with Christina Burkenroad, the senior midfielder/forward from Cal State Fullerton. Christina was named Big West Midfielder of the Year 2015 and is an inspirational player to anyone who hears her story. Check out The Mane Land‘s summary of the acquisition here.
The final pick of the day was in the first position of the fourth round, with the 31st overall pick and Santa Clara midfielder Dani Weatherholt was the choice. Dani has a considerable collegiate trophy case in her own right with nominations to Third Team All-West and First Team All-WCC, among other accolades. Click here to read The Mane Land's summary of the acquisition.
After the draft was completed, Pride coach Tom Sermanni spoke about the day's events. "We didn't think that we'd get three players of that quality when we had the 10th, 15th and 31st picks, so I think we got the types of players that we want and the quality of players that we want," he said.
"I feel really confident. We've put together a really terrific squad, a great balance within the squad, across all positions, great balance of experience, some youth players, impact players, and real world class international players."
The team's work today didn't go unnoticed by players already on the roster.
Orlando City/Pride Founder and President Phil Rawlins, who is also currently serving as the team’s acting general manager, and his technical staff can leave Baltimore this weekend feeling very confident and pleased with their successes in the past two days.
Stay tuned to The Mane Land for more updates on the Orlando Pride as we get closer to the opening day of the inaugural season.