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Orlando Pride Re-Sign Midfielder Emily van Egmond

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The Orlando Pride announced today that the team has signed midfielder Emily van Egmond and goalkeeper Kaylie Collins through the end of the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season. Per the team, both signings were made prior to the NWSL roster freeze date of Sept. 30. Van Egmond will begin her second stint with the Pride as soon as her P-1 visa is received.

“We are all very pleased to have Emily returning to our club and greatly look forward to her arrival,” Orlando Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in a club press release. “Emily is a proven talent in this league, already familiar with our environment, and has all the necessary abilities to slot into, reinforce, and make a strong positive impact upon our squad. As we work through the visa process, which has unfortunately been delayed due to COVID, we’re hopeful Emily is able to get to Orlando in the coming weeks to provide our team additional talent to close out the season and this important playoff push.”

Van Egmond, 28, last played in the FA Women’s Super League with West Ham United during the 2020-2021 season, where she was originally acquired via a loan from the Pride. With the Hammers, van Egmond made 21 total appearances, scoring four goals. Prior to joining West Ham, van Egmond signed with the Pride on Feb. 14, 2018 via the league’s Discovery mechanism. In more than two seasons in Orlando, van Egmond surprisingly failed to find the net and only registered two assists. The Pride re-signed van Egmond prior to the 2020 season and she then went on loan to West Ham when the NWSL season was lost to the pandemic. The Hammers announced on Jan. 8 that they had signed her to a “permanent transfer” through the end of the season. The Pride retained her NWSL rights and now have indeed brought her back.

Before joining Orlando the first time, van Egmond spent a season with Newcastle Jets in Australia’s Westfield W-League, playing all but two minutes, scoring four goals and adding five assists. Van Egmond spent the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons in Germany, playing for Frankfurt and later WfL Wolfsburg. During her time with the two German sides, she participated in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Van Egmond scored six goals in 12 appearances with Wolfsburg, leading the club to the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal titles, Germany’s top two championship competitions. In her season with Frankfurt, van Egmond scored once in 17 appearances.

Before playing in Germany, van Egmond spent several season in the W-League, starting her professional career with Newcastle in 2008 before moving to Canberra United, Western Sydney Wanderers FC, and eventually back to Newcastle over eight seasons. She played her first professional season in Europe in 2011, with Danish side Fortuna Hjørring.

On the international stage, van Egmond has been part of Australia’s national team setup since she was 15. The Matildas’ co-captain has 106 caps with Australia, 23 international goals since her 2010 debut. She was a part of Australia’s Olympic squad earlier this year, playing every minute in her team’s Olympic matches as the Aussies reached the bronze medal match, before losing to Alex Morgan and the USWNT.

Collins, 23, was selected with the Pride’s final selection in the 2021 NWSL Draft (No. 34 overall) out of USC and was signed on June 4 of this season as a National Team Replacement Player for the Pride when Erin McLeod left for the Olympics with Team Canada. 

“Kaylie has been with the club since the conclusion of her final college season this past spring, and we’re thrilled to have her under contract moving forward,” Fleming added. “Kaylie’s talent, professionalism, and natural leadership ability have more than earned her this opportunity, and I am greatly looking forward to watching her continued development as a member of the Pride.”

Collins helped USC in the team’s successful spring season. Collins’ play helped lead the Trojans to the NCAA tournament with a first-round bye as the No. 8 seed. USC fought Ole Miss to a 2-2 draw before falling 3-2 in penalty kicks.

As a junior, Collins finished ranked third in the Pac-12 with 13 goals against, was eighth in the conference with a 1.13 goals-against average, and was ninth with a .755 save percentage. She only started 11 games, as she missed the first half of the season due to injury.

As a sophomore, Collins was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year. She led the conference in shutouts through the regular season and had the ninth-best goals-against average (0.51) in the country. This impressive year earned her United Soccer Coaches All-American second-team and Top Drawer Soccer Best XI second-team honors. Collins was also named to the All-Pac-12 first team and All-Region first team.

Collins also did well as a freshman. She was on the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team following the 2017 season, after appearing in 19 games and making 53 saves. Her seven shutouts ranked seventh among Pac-12 goalkeepers.

Before attending USC, Collins was a four-year starter at Carondelet High School, where she was named a second-team Top Drawer Soccer High School All-American in 2015.

What It Means for Orlando

The return of van Egmond can only help with the midfield depth, although Fleming’s remarks about being “hopeful Emily is able to get to Orlando in the coming weeks” doesn’t exactly fill one with optimism about her having time to make much of an impact. The team has been improved in the midfield this season but the loss of Jade Moore early in the year hasn’t helped. If van Egmond can provide an extra quality midfield down the stretch and perhaps in the playoffs, it can only help Orlando.

Collins’ addition means depth at the goalkeeper position. McLeod has been nursing an injury in recent weeks, but the Pride still have Ashlyn Harris and Brittany Wilson. Fleming, interim coach Becky Burleigh, and goalkeeping coach Lloyd Yaxley will be able to continue to assess Collins’ progress and development as a possible goalkeeper of the future for the Pride.

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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