The Orlando Pride selected University of North Carolina center back Tori Hansen with the first pick in the third round (No. 25 overall) in the 2023 NWSL Draft. The defender wasn’t signed immediately in camp and it wasn’t until after the Pride had kicked off the regular season that the club signed Hansen (along with Brianna Martinez) to a one-year contract with an option year for 2024. With Orlando’s center back depth — despite the loss of Carrie Lawrence to a season-ending knee injury — Hansen wasn’t used often, as the rookie only made a couple of NWSL Challenge Cup appearances during her rookie year.
With five matches left in the season, the Pride signed Hansen to a new contract for the 2024 season and subsequently loaned her to Melbourne Victory FC in the A-League Women in Australia.
Let’s take a look at how the rookie out of Raleigh, NC fared in her first couple of professional matches.
As mentioned above, Hansen did not make any appearances in the NWSL regular season, making her debut on April 19 against North Carolina in the Challenge Cup. She appeared in two matches in the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup (both starts) and went the full 90 minutes in each for a total of 180 minutes played. Hansen contributed one goal on her only shot attempt of the season. That was enough to tie her for second among all Pride players in Challenge Cup goal production, just one behind Ally Watt and level with Messiah Bright and Megan Montefusco. She did not record an assist or a key pass, completing 71.4% of her passes in the defensive half, 72.7% in the attacking half, and 60% of her long passes. Defensively, Hansen was successful on one of her two tackle attempts, won six of seven duels, and won four of five aerial duels, blocking three shots and finishing with two interceptions. Hansen did not commit or draw a foul and was not booked.
Although the Pride got a better result in Hansen’s first start on April 19 (a 1-1 draw), I’ll go with her May 10 performance against the Washinton Spirit, which Orlando lost, 4-2 on the road. All four of the Spirit’s goals came from long distance, which prevented the center back from being able to have much impact on them. More importantly for Hansen, she scored her first professional goal on her first shot, a slick back-heel off a set piece that found the back of the net to give the Pride a 1-0 lead at the time.
Her goal was one of only five Pride shot attempts in the match and one of only three to hit the target. She had 27 touches in the match, won one her only tackle attempt, completed 12 of her 18 pass attempts (66.7%), blocked two shots, and won three aerial duels.
2023 Final Grade
Hansen fell shy of the minimum 360 total minutes across all competitions to get a score for her rookie season, so she receives a grade of incomplete from The Mane Land staff for 2023.
Hansen is under contract for 2024 but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll be in Orlando next season. With each team only permitted to protect nine players in the upcoming NWSL Expansion Draft, it is unlikely the Pride will spend one of those slots on the second-year pro. Hansen will hopefully gain some valuable developmental time in Australia, but through Melbourne’s first two matches she has not yet made her A-League debut. The most likely scenario is that Hansen is a depth center back next season.