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Orlando Pride Re-Sign Emily van Egmond, Carson Pickett, and Kristen Edmonds

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The Orlando Pride have re-signed all of their remaining unsigned players with today’s announcement that midfielder Emily van Egmond and defenders Carson Pickett and Kristen Edmonds have inked new one-year deals ahead of the 2020 NWSL season. This news, coupled with Ali Krieger returning to USSF allocated player status, means that the team has dealt with all unfinished contract business heading into the club’s fifth season.

“We’re very excited that Emily, Carson and Kristen have signed for the new season,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said in a club press release. “Coming off a strong season in Australia, we are really pleased to have Emily back in Orlando and look forward to continuing her great form and showing all of her qualities in a Pride jersey. It’s important that we continue to have players with technical qualities to compete at a really high level, and Carson fits that mold. Kristen has the ability to excel in 1v1 areas and this allows her to be a real threat. We’re looking forward to Kristen producing her best performances in the coming season.”

Van Egmond, 26, was limited to just eight matches (seven starts) for the Pride in 2019 due mainly to international duty at the World Cup. She did not score a goal and produced one assist. In her two seasons with Orlando, van Egmond has played in 25 games and registered two assists. She is currently in outstanding form for Australia and on loan with her W-League side, Melbourne City FC, where she has scored a team-high six goals and helped lead the club to the 2019-20 Premiership as the best team in the regular season. She has five goals and five assists in four matches with her national team in 2020.

Pickett, 26, made 20 appearances (19 starts) in 2019 with the Pride, recording one assist. She joined the Pride ahead of the 2018 season after being acquired in a trade from the Seattle Reign. Edmonds, 32, made 13 appearances for the Pride last season and made her 100th NWSL appearance on Sept. 29 at Sky Blue FC. An original member of the Pride’s inaugural team, Edmonds will enter her fifth season with the club in 2020. She has scored nine goals with the Pride, adding two assists, in 70 appearances.

What It Means for Orlando

The form van Egmond has been in for both her W-League club and her country is encouraging. If she can maintain this newfound confidence and carry it into the NWSL season, it would provide a huge boost to the Pride. Pickett and Edmonds both seem to be versatile depth players at this point. With Ali Riley and Emily Sonnett coming to Orlando, it seems likely that the club doesn’t plan to start Pickett or Erin Greening much at fullback in 2020, and Edmonds was herself a backup last year. So the re-signing of Pickett and Edmonds seems like an effort to provide depth as well as international break coverage.

The departures this off-season of Danica Evans, Rachel Hill, Dani Weatherholt, Haley Kopmeyer, and Joanna Boyles, coupled with the signings of Emily Sonnett, Riley, Erin McLeod, and three of the team’s seven draft selections in the past couple of weeks, the Pride have 27 players under contract. The maximum roster size ahead of the 2019 season was 22 players and each team can have up to four supplemental players. So, if my math is correct (and I’ll admit it isn’t my strongest subject), the club can become roster compliant but one more player will need to move on and that’s if the club doesn’t sign another draft choice.

That said, this team is international heavy, which will be a problem in an Olympic year. If no further personnel movement is made, the Pride will be without nine players at minimum and perhaps as many as 11. Yes, Orlando can field an entire starting XI out of just internationals and the Pride have two former internationals on the roster as well in McLeod and Sydney Leroux.

Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger, Emily Sonnett, and Alex Morgan — provided she recovers in time from giving birth — will all be with the U.S. Women’s National Team at the Olympics. Shelina Zadorsky will be with Canada. Van Egmond and Alanna Kennedy will be with Australia. Ali Riley will be with New Zealand. And, of course, Marta will be with Brazil. Additionally, Camila could be selected by Brazil if she recovers from her knee injury in time, but if she doesn’t, she still won’t be available for Pride duty either. And Claire Emslie could potentially be selected for a Great Britain side for the Olympics as well.

Here’s the roster that would be left behind during the Olympics if all 11 internationals go to Japan for a month:

Goalkeepers

  • Lainey Burdett
  • Erin McLeod

Defenders

  • Kristen Edmonds
  • Erin Greening
  • Julie King
  • Courtney Petersen
  • Carson Pickett
  • Konya Plummer
  • Toni Pressley
  • Morgan Reid

Midfielders

  • Bridget Callahan
  • Abby Elinsky
  • Marisa Viggiano
  • Taylor Kornieck

Forwards

  • Caitlin Farrell
  • Sydney Leroux

Of course, some of those players are adept at playing multiple positions, but that’s still a very thin NWSL roster, even if a few National Team Replacement Players are brought in. Having Emslie available would help, as would Camila if she can recover from her injury and if Brazil opts not to select her for Olympic duty.

At any rate, this looks like another messy summer for the Pride. The Olympic soccer tournament is currently scheduled to take place from July 22 to Aug. 7, but the internationals will need to report to their national team camps at least two or three weeks ahead of that and we’ve seen the U.S. Soccer Federation call in its players up to a month in advance of large tournaments before. That’s four to six weeks of a makeshift Pride roster — not including any recovery time off for players whose teams made deep runs in the tournament, which could tack on even more time.

Skinner has his work cut out for him in 2020 with the schedule the NWSL handed him and the departure of his best players for several weeks — at a period of time when the team has a lot of home matches and may need to make up ground for points dropped on the road-heavy early part of the schedule.

It will be interesting to see how the Pride handle this and whether Amanda Duffy will be patient through a period of adversity.

 

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Midfielder Kerry Abello to New Contract

The Pride have signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that the club has signed midfielder Kerry Abello to a new three-year contract. The deal keeps Abello in purple through the 2026 NWSL season.

“We are thrilled to keep Kerry in Orlando through 2026. Since joining the club, she has proven to be a reliable and versatile player for our team,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “In a few short years, she has grown into a leader in our locker room and sets the standard for professionalism and accountability, two values we center our culture around. Ensuring she remains a part of what we are building here, both on and off the field, was a priority for us in the off-season. We are happy to bring that to fruition and look forward to her continued growth and performance.” 

Abello was initially drafted by the Pride with the 24th pick of the 2021 NWSL Draft, but decided to return to school for a fifth season. The club finally signed the Penn State product to a two-year contract on Jan. 28, 2022. The midfielder signed another two-year deal on Feb. 23, 2023, with a club option for 2025. Just over a year later, she’s now inked a third contract, ensuring her stay in Orlando will run through 2026.

Initially coming off the bench, Abello became a regular starter late in her rookie season. Over the past three years, she’s seen time at attacking and defensive midfield, showing her versatility. In total, Abello has made 49 appearances (31 starts) in all competitions and recorded 2,835 minutes. She’s scored one goal and contributed one assist.

Last year, the 24-year-old midfielder made 25 appearances (18 starts), recording 1,642 minutes, and adding a goal and an assist. She participated in all but two league games and five of the team’s six Challenge Cup contests.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is truly no place I’d rather be. Thank you, Orlando, for having me for the next three years,” Abello said in a club press release. “I’m feeling full of joy, gratitude, and inspiration. There’s work to be done, and I can’t wait to put my whole heart into this season and all the rest. Vamos!”

The Batavia, IL, native was a part of the United States youth set up at the U-14, U-15, U-17, U-18, and U-19 levels. She received a call up to the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2022 Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament, scoring in a 3-0 win over Sweden.

Prior to being drafted by the Pride, Abello was a three-time All-Big Ten selection, helping Penn State win three Big Ten championships. She was also named to the All-North Team twice in her five collegiate seasons.

What It Means for Orlando

Similar to her last contract, this deal ensures that Abello will continue her stay in Orlando beyond the upcoming season. She originally started on the bench under former Pride head coach Amanda Cromwell, but won over Seb Hines with her versatility in the midfield. During her first two professional season, she’s played extensively at attacking and defensive midfield. However, she can also play on the back line, having been a center back in college.

Following the 2023 NWSL season, Carter told The Mane Land’s Skopurp Soccer podcast that the club focused on the back line last off-season and was focusing on the midfield this off-season. Signing Abello, who has been a crucial part of the club’s rebuild, was always going to be part of that plan.

Between the re-signing of Abello and the new additions to the team, the midfield has more depth than before. Abello’s presence could be crucial, because the midfield’s Brazilian internationals will likely miss time due to international call-ups. Abello can fill in multiple positions, ensuring there won’t be a significant drop-off when the internationals depart.

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Unveil New Kits Ahead of 2024 NWSL Season

The Pride take part in the NWSL kit reset with new primary and secondary jerseys for the 2024 season.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride unveiled their two new kits today ahead of the 2024 NWSL season. The jerseys are part of the league-wide kit reset, launched by the NWSL and Nike. The club’s new Phoenix Kit features the Pride’s two recognizable colors, purple and blue, and the secondary Citrus Kit has an all-new color scheme, paying tribute to Florida’s citrus industry. Both jerseys will be formally unveiled on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at “The Kit Party presented by Orlando Health,” taking place at the Orlando Regional History Center.

Replicas of the two new jerseys are available for purchase at ShopOrlandoPride.com, in The Den at Inter&Co Stadium during regular business hours, and on NWSLshop.com. Replica goalkeeper jerseys will also be made available during a late spring release.

“We are proud to share two new, powerful kits with our fans and honored that we are again able to share the story of one of the pillars of our community and the state of Florida,” Pride Chief Marketing Officer Pedro Araujo said in a club press release. “Each year, it is important for us to use our platform to celebrate those that laid the foundation for our city, and this year is no different. We hope our fans are as excited to wear the Citrus Kit and the Phoenix Kit as we are, and to proudly represent Orlando both at home and outside of Central Florida. This new partnership with Nike is a very exciting moment for the league. We’re grateful for their continued support of the Orlando Pride and the NWSL as a whole and are excited for the future opportunities this new, refreshed commitment will bring to our kits and team performance gear.”

The Citrus Kit features a new orange and iced-out green scheme, a first for the Pride, with inspiration taken from Central Florida’s citrus industry. The jersey features oranges and leaves, with letters and numbers featuring the same iced-out green coloring. The design of the kit takes direct inspiration from the historic packaging of citrus crates and labels, unique to each grove. The back of the socks features a hand-drawn “Pride,” which is also inspired by the labels. Meanwhile, the “Outer Pride” on the lower corner of the jersey is a stylized “OP” with an orange cross-section and orange blossom leaves and flowers.

The primary home jersey this season will be the new Phoenix Kit, which is more recognizable to fans. The jersey features the club’s traditional colors of purple with blue letters and numbers. The jersey features a unique two-toned purple gradient that runs diagonally from the top right to the bottom left of the jersey. The club’s shirt sponsor, Orlando Health, remains in white, but the letters, numbers, and Nike logo on the darker purple are the team’s second color, “Eola Blue.”

The new kits are part of the NWSL’s league-wide kit reset, the first time a women’s professional soccer league has presented refreshed primary and secondary uniforms for all of its teams. Each club is receiving jerseys that reflect the club’s identity and joyful expression and celebrate the team’s community.

The Pride’s unveiling has been in cooperation with Hollieanna Groves, a local and family-owned grower, harvester, packer, and shipper of Florida citrus. The Maitland-based company is a fourth-generation packing house and sales room, providing the backdrop for one of the club’s kit photo shoots.

Here are some photos of the Pride’s newest kits courtesy of the Pride:

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Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Place Megan Montefusco on Season-Ending Injury List

The Orlando Pride have placed center back Megan Montefusco on the season-ending injury list following surgery on her right foot.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that center back Megan Montefusco has been placed on the season-ending injury list. The defender had off-season right foot surgery, performed by the club’s official medical team, to repair a long-term problem.

“This is an unfortunate situation for Megan, though we’re happy she was able to address an issue that has plagued her for some time, and we are confident she will come out of this a stronger athlete,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “Our club is fully behind her and will support her throughout her rehab process, as will our amazing partners at Orlando Health. Our goal is to help Megan get back on the field as safely and smartly as possible, and we are behind her every step of the way. We look forward to seeing her back out on the pitch as soon as she is ready.”

The Pride originally acquired the defender in a trade with the Houston Dash on Jan. 28, 2022 that saw Marisa Viggiano go the other way. She was a regular starter at center back that year and through most of 2023, but lost the starting position when the club signed Brazilian international Rafaelle. Montefusco has made 45 appearances (42 starts) for 3,773 minutes in all competitions over her two seasons in Orlando, scoring one goal.

The 31 year-old signed a new contract with the Pride on June 15, 2023 through the 2024 season with an option for 2025. As one of the team’s main representatives alongside fellow center back Carrie Lawrence, Montefusco appeared at Orlando City’s preseason game against the New England Revolution, signing autographs and taking part in a question-and-answer session while wearing a walking boot.

What It Means for Orlando

This news is a bit of a blow to Orlando’s depth on the back line. Montefusco was the first center back off the bench late last year and was expected to have the same role this year. However, her absence will make room for Lawrence, who missed the 2023 season after suffering a torn ACL during preseason, and Tori Hansen, who is currently on loan with Melbourne Victory FC in Australia. The duo will now compete for the third center back spot unless the club replaces Montefusco with another veteran, as the NWSL transfer window remains open.

This injury could also open up a spot for the Pride to sign 2024 second-round NWSL Draft pick Cori Dyke, who the club took at No. 22 overall out of Penn State. Dyke has experience at center back in college. She played as a central midfielder for the first four years in college, but moved to center back for her final season. Despite moving to the back line, the 2023 season was her most productive offensively, as she recorded five goals and six assists.

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