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Orlando Pride Acquire Defender Haley Hanson from Houston Dash



Orlando Pride General Manager Ian Fleming parted with more of his Smaug-like dragon’s hoard of Allocation Money today by sending $75,000 of it, along with a second-round draft pick, to the Houston Dash in exchange for defender Haley Hanson. The Pride get a much-needed boost to the back line by adding a key member of Houston’s 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup championship-winning side. The 26-year-old has been with the Dash for four and a half seasons and made 15 appearances (11 starts) with second-place Houston this season.

She will wear No. 2 for the Pride.

“Haley is a player that I’ve wanted to bring into our club for quite some time and I’m thrilled to be able to add her to our group for the stretch run of the season,” Fleming said in a club press release. “For the last few years, Haley has been a mainstay on the back line of an improving Houston side and her combination of athleticism, technical ability, and understanding of the game will be a great asset as we continue to build our squad both for the short- and long-term future in Orlando. The development of our new-look Orlando Pride continues and we are excited to have Haley be a part of it.”

Hanson, a native of Overland Park, KS, and a product of the University of Nebraska, was a teammate of Pride defender Megan Montefusco in Houston. She was the No. 7 overall selection in the 2018 NWSL Draft by Houston and has made 100 appearances in all competitions for the Dash. Hanson has one career goal, which she scored on Aug. 25, 2018 against Sky Blue FC. She also has three career assists.

She went on loan to Australia for the 2019-2020 season, appearing in 13 matches with Melbourne Victory and scoring one goal.

On the international stage, Hanson was called up to the United States Women’s National Team in April of 2018 and made her USWNT debut against Mexico on April 8 of that year. It is her lone senior cap to date. Hanson also played with the U-23 USWNT, with six career appearances from 2017 to 2019, helping the side win the 2018 Nordic Tournament.

During her collegiate career from 2014-2017, Hanson was a key member of the Cornhuskers, making 75 career appearances at Nebraska and scoring 19 goals to go along with seven assists. She was named to the All-Big Ten Team twice.

What It Means for Orlando

Back in early July, when The Mane Land had an exclusive interview with Fleming, he outlined his strategy for rebuilding the Pride and specifically discussed how he viewed the club’s acquisition of a large sum of Allocation Money in various trades, especially the one that sent Alex Morgan to San Diego.

“It’s (Allocation Money) not being tucked away. It’s not being withdrawn by ownership in order to make some profits and move the club away and this club is not being used,” Fleming says. “There’s never been any indication whatsoever that that’s the case.”

Instead, Fleming says that the Allocation Money acquired is there to be used to better the team for the future. But he also says that throwing around Allocation Money won’t help the team in the long run.

“I see what’s out there. And the thing is that I collected a certain amount of Allocation Money that wouldn’t be useful to spend immediately,” he said. “And I could. I can toss it around and we can make a one-off run and try to have a really great season right now, and then bankrupt ourselves for future seasons or mortgage our future in order to make one run at it. And that’s not what I want this to be right now.

“What I want is something that’s going to be successful over a number of years. We’re laying the foundation for something that is going to be good — not just this year, not just next year. For this to be something that we can carry on and have it be meaningful and find the right balance over the right amount of time to find success for a number of years.”

The draft pick sent to Houston was one the Pride previously acquired from OL Reign.

Hanson’s addition helps a back line that has been thin for some time. Hanson has played primarily right back and right wingback with the Dash in 2022. The Pride have mainly used Celia in that position this season with Carrie Lawrence transitioning to the team’s most reliable center back.

She has eight key passes this NWSL season and has been generally secure with the ball in her own half, passing at an 80% clip in her own half. She’s contributed 17 clearances, three blocks, and 23 interceptions this season. Her tackles rate is slightly ahead of Celia’s and she’s a tad behind Celia’s aerial duel percentage, with both players at 50% in overall duels won. Hanson will provide the team another option.

With the move for Ally Watt earlier this week, the Pride have parted with $200,000 in Allocation Money. While that seems a little on the high side to me, it would be worth the price if both Hanson and Watt become regular starters who can contribute.

At the very least, the Pride have added a veteran who knows the league and understands what it takes to be successful in the NWSL, which can only strengthen the overall squad.

Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride Sign Midfielder Kerry Abello to New Contract

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



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.



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, in The Den at Inter&Co Stadium during regular business hours, and on 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.



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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