Orlando Pride acquires Canada Women’s National Team defender Shelina Zadorsky from the Washington Spirit in exchange for goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and Orlando’s natural first-round pick in the 2019 NWSL Draft.
“Shelina brings strong defensive qualities [to Orlando]. The way we play, one of our emphases this year is that we need to be less vulnerable defensively,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Bringing in Shelina who is an out-and-out center back who also has extensive international experience with the Canadian National Team will be a big asset for us.”
Zadorsky, 25, joins the Pride after playing for the Washington Spirit in 2016 and 2017, where she served as the team’s captain in the latter year. Zadorsky tallied one assist in 21 appearances, 20 of them starts, for the Spirit and was third on the team with 1,793 minutes in 2017. In 2016, Zadorsky made 12 starts among 13 appearances as Washington made it to the NWSL Championship match.
In the 2016 semifinal match, Zadorsky assisted on Washington’s first goal, a 36th-minute header scored by current Pride defender Ali Krieger.
The former Michigan Wolverine began her professional career in 2014-15 with Perth Glory of the Australia’s Westfield W-League, where she scored one goal and made 14 appearances to help Perth to a second-place finish. She also had a stint with Swedish club Vittsjö GIK in Sweden, appearing in 18 of 22 matches in 2015.
The London, Ont., native has made 32 starts in 34 appearances for the Canada national team, scoring one goal. Zadorsky started all five of Canada’s matches at the 2016 Rio Olympics, earning a bronze medal.
Zadorsky was subsidized by the Canada Soccer Association in both 2016 and 2017. Subsidized players for the 2018 season will be announced at a later date.
Bledsoe, 26, was the 10th pick in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft from Sky Blue FC, where she made one appearance in 2015. Bledsoe made 12 appearances over two seasons with the Pride, including 11 in 2017 following Ashlyn Harris’ injury in May. During that span, the Pride went 5-4-2 - including two clean sheets - with Bledsoe in goal.
“Obviously anytime we trade a player we are sad to lose them, particularly players who have been here since day one, but we chatted with Aubrey in the offseason. We’ve always felt that Aubrey was a starting goalkeeper in this league and we think she could go to D.C. and do that,” Sermanni said. “We’ll miss Aubrey and thank her for everything she helped us achieve in Orlando, but know that this will be a great opportunity for her career.”
Orlando begins the 2018 preseason in less than a month, with matches kicking off at the end of March. Season tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/ticketsor by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
Shelina Zadorsky (Shuh-lean-uh Zuh-door-ski)
Born: October 24, 1992 in London, Ont.
Hometown: London, Ont.
College: University of Michigan
Acquired: via trade with Washington Spirit on January 23, 2018