QueensCast: Episode #90 — It’s All Business — 2018 Season Opener Special

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You’ve hit your wake-up alarm once. You’ve washed up, dressed up, and now you got your ‘big pants’ on. It’s time to kick the door of the soccer world open. No more what if-than-that’s; it’s time to dominate. It’s time to show the NWSL, and the soccer world what we’re made of. The Orlando Pride has compiled an elite group of scoring assassins and the mission is clear — #LETSSCORE

TRADE ALERT: Brazilian National Team Defender Poliana Joins Orlando Pride

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Orlando Pride has acquired the rights to Brazilian international Poliana Barbosa Medeiros from the Houston Dash in exchange for the Pride’s natural second-round pick in the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft. Following the trade, the Pride signed Poliana to a contract for the 2018 season. Per team and league policies, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

“Poliana is a player that we have admired since she joined the league. We believe she has been one of Houston’s best, most consistent players during that time,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “What really appeals to us is that, though she plays mostly in a full back role, we think she’s the kind of player who can play anywhere. She’s intelligent, her ability to read the game is phenomenal. As well as outstanding defensive qualities, she also has the skill to get forward and score goals. She has all the characteristics we look for at our Club. I think she is an ideal fit for the Pride.”

Commonly known as Poliana, the outside back spent the previous two seasons with the Houston Dash, where she totaled five goals and two assists in 37 appearances. The 5-foot-9 defender totaled 2,888 minutes, missing time during the 2016 season due to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Last season, Poliana earned NWSL Week 10 Player of the Week, becoming the first Brazilian player to take the honor.

Though typically an outside back, Poliana has the ability to play multiple positions on the field, playing defense up through forward during her time with the Dash.

Before coming stateside, Poliana played for Icelandic club Starjnan, where she scored three goals in five league appearances. In UEFA Women’s Champions League play, Poliana led Starjnan to the knockout round with five goals in five matches.

From 2010-14, Poliana featured with São José, winning the Copa Libertadores Femenina in 2011, 2013 and 2014. In the 2014 championship match, she scored two goals, including the game-winner, as São José went on to win 5-1. The Brazilian got her professional career started with renowned side Santos in 2009.

Poliana becomes the Pride’s fourth member from the No. 8 ranked Brazil Women’s National Team, joining teammates Marta, Monica and Camila in Orlando.

In the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Poliana made two appearances for the Seleção, as Brazil was knocked out in the Round of 16. The following year, Poliana appeared in all six marches as Brazil finished fourth in the Rio Olympics.

Orlando Pride begins its 2018 preseason in just over two weeks, with matches kicking off at the end of March. 2018 season ticket packages are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Poliana Barbosa Medeiros (Po-lee-ah-nah bar-BOW-suh meh-DEY-rohs)
Position: Defender
Height: 5-9
Born: February 6, 1991 in Ituiutaba, Brazil
Hometown: Ituiutaba, Brazil
College: n/a
Citizenship: Brazil
Acquired: via trade with Houston Dash on February 6, 2018

Pride Bolster Roster in Trades for Christine Nairn, Carson Pickett and Haley Kopmeyer

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Orlando Pride has acquired midfielder Christine Nairn and defender Carson Pickett from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for defender Stephanie Catley. In a separate trade with Seattle, the Pride also acquired goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer and Reign FC’s natural third-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft for forward Jasmyne Spencer.

“We put a significant emphasis last year on international players and the downside of that, particularly when there’s a World Cup year coming up soon, is that you’re going to lose those international players from time to time. So it’s really important to have depth and quality with your domestic players and I think these three players bring us that,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said of the acquisitions.   

Nairn, 27, joins the Pride after making over 100 NWSL appearances between Seattle Reign FC and the Washington Spirit. A product of Penn State, Nairn started her NWSL career in Seattle in 2013 - posting three goals and a team-high five assists - before being traded to Washington. In her three seasons with the Spirit, from 2014-16, Nairn finished among the team’s top three scorers each year with six goals in 2014, five goals in 2015 and three goals in 2016.

Last year, Nairn was re-acquired by Reign FC where she appeared in all but one match, totaling one goal and four assists. Nairn also spent two offseasons with Melbourne Victory of Australia’s Westfield W-League.

Internationally, the Annapolis, Md., native earned her first of two caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team in May 2009 and scored her first international goal on July 22, 2009 - the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Canada.

“Christine is a player that we’ve had eyes on for a while. What we see in her, technically, is a great footballing quality. She has an exceptional left foot, she’s a great passer, she understands the game really well,” Sermanni said. “She’s been in this league from day one, been a regular starter virtually since she came into the league. She brings that experience and that quality with her.”

Pickett, a graduate of Florida State University, totaled 36 appearances with Reign FC after being selected No. 4 overall in the 2016 NWSL College Draft. The 24-year-old defender added one assist in her rookie season. At FSU, Pickett started all four years and helped the Seminoles to the 2014 NCAA Championship, leading a defense that conceded zero goals all tournament.

“Carson gives us good cover at left back and she’s local, which I think always helps. So she’s going to feel comfortable coming in from the start,” Sermanni said.  “Losing Steph, we obviously needed to look at getting cover at left back. She’s a player that has played high-level college-wise and a player that has played consistently in the league for her two seasons. She started a lot of games for a quality [Seattle] team. I think she’ll fit in well with the system we play and how we play.”

Kopmeyer, 27, joined Reign FC in 2013. Over her five years with Seattle, the University of Michigan graduate totaled 46 appearances, including 20 during the 2017 season. Over her career, Kopmeyer totaled 11 clean sheets and 185 saves.

“Haley is an experienced goalkeeper in this league, she’s been a starter in this league and now we’ve added a very strong goalkeeper to be here with Ashlyn [Harris],” Sermanni added.

Both Pickett and Kopmeyer are currently playing in the W-League, with Pickett at top-seeded Brisbane Roar while Kopmeyer is competing at Canberra United with Pride defender Toni Pressley. Kopmeyer previously had loan stints with Brisbane and Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.

Catley, 23, was acquired by the Pride from Portland Thorns FC in 2016. Over two seasons with the Pride, Catley totaled one goal and three assists, with her lone score marking the first goal scored in Pride team history. In 2017, Catley was named to the NWSL Second XI and was also named to the Team of the Month in August.

“Steph has played a huge part in shaping our club but knowing that, due to upcoming national team commitments, her desire was to be on the West Coast, we thought this was a good deal for all parties,” Sermanni said. “We thank Steph for everything over the last two years and wish her the best of luck in Seattle.”

Spencer, 27, departs Orlando with 40 appearances over the past two seasons. Spencer totaled seven goals and three assists during that span and earned Week 10 Goal of the Week in 2016 for her 92+’ game-winner against the Houston Dash.

“Jas has been magnificent for us. She turned up every day with a huge smile on her face, happy and brought a ton of energy to the training environment and we’ll miss that,” Sermanni said. “But for someone of her experience and ambition, we think this is a good deal for her, a good deal for us and a good opportunity for her to probably be guaranteed more starts in the league.”

2018 Pride season tickets are available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

Christine Nairn (Nair-in)
Position: Midfield
Height: 5-5
Born: September 25, 1990 in Annapolis, Md.
Hometown: Annapolis, Md.
College: Penn State University
Citizenship: USA
Acquired: via trade with Seattle Reign FC on January 29, 2018

Carson Pickett (Pick-it)
Position: Defense
Height: 5-8
Born: September 15, 1993 in Spartanburg, S.C.
Hometown: Fleming Island, Fla.
College: Florida State University
Citizenship: USA
Acquired: via trade with Seattle Reign FC on January 29, 2018

Haley Kopmeyer (Cop-MY-er)
Position: Goalkeeper
Height: 5-11
Born: June 28, 1990 in Troy, Mich.
Hometown: Troy, Mich.
College: University of Michigan
Citizenship: USA
Acquired: via trade with Seattle Reign FC on January 29, 2018

 

Draft Day Trades or Three Card Monty? You Decide!

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There were four draft day trades - with the No. 6 overall pick being shipped to two separate teams in quick succession before Sky Blue FC used it to eventually select Pierre-Louis. See below for a full breakdown of all four trades. Try to keep up with this NWSL version of "Follow the Queen"!

First, the Red Stars traded forward Christen Press, the seventh pick in this year’s draft and a 2018 international roster spot to the Houston Dash in exchange for forward Carli Lloyd, forward Janine Beckie and the sixth and 24th picks in this year’s draft.Then, the Red Stars traded Lloyd, Beckie, forward Jen Hoy and the sixth and 13th picks in this year’s draft to Sky Blue FC in exchange for forward Sam Kerr, midfielder Nikki Stanton and the 15th pick in this year’s draft.

Not related to the mega-trade, Seattle Reign traded Diana Matheson to Utah Royals for Yael Averbuch and the #25 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft. Also, Chicago Red Stars traded the #29 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft to Portland Thorns FC for their Natural 3rd Round Pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

Things were getting shook up with trades well before the Draft though. On December 29, Sky Blue dealt Kelley O’Hara, Taylor Lytle and a draft pick to Utah in exchange for Shea Groom, Christina Gibbons and the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday’s draft. 

The Dash and Sky Blue FC had previously been involved in major player trades this offseason. Just last week, Houston sent midfielder Andressinha to Portland in exchange for Savannah Jordan. Two days before the draft, the Dash traded down from the third pick to the sixth acquiring Lindsay Agnew in the process. 

No doubt there are more moves to come. Preseason starts is just over a month, so stay tuned!

TRADE ALERT: Orlando Pride Acquires Defender Shelina Zadorsky from Washington Spirit

Photo: CBC.ca

Photo: CBC.ca

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)
Position: Defender
Height: 5-8
Born: October 24, 1992 in London, Ont.
Hometown: London, Ont.
College: University of Michigan
Citizenship: Canada
Acquired: via trade with Washington Spirit on January 23, 2018

MLS All-Star and U.S. MNT Forward, Dom Dwyer, Rejoins Orlando City SC

Photo: Orlando Sentinel

Photo: Orlando Sentinel

Orlando City SC acquires forward Dom Dwyer from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for $400,000 in General Allocation Money and $500,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, plus up to $700,000 in future Allocation Money based on the player’s performance.

“Our group has worked hard to find potential additions to the Club and we are thrilled to finalize this deal and add an important piece to the roster in Dom,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said. “Dom is a fantastic player who recently gave us a glimpse of what he is capable of with the U.S. Men’s National Team and will keep doing so with the Club and at the MLS All-Star game next week.”

Dwyer is coming off a record-setting performance in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup with the U.S. men's national team. After becoming a United States citizen in March, Dwyer scored 19 minutes into his U.S. debut on July 1 against Ghana. The former University of South Florida Bull then scored on July 8 against Panama, becoming the 10th player in National Team history to score in each of his first two matches.

“Dom adds tremendous strength to our attack. He brings speed, energy and strong technical ability,” General Manager Niki Budalic added. “He has grown as a player over the years into one who is a threat whenever he’s on the field.”  

This is Dwyer’s second stint with Orlando City. In March 2013, then-MLS affiliate Sporting KC loaned Dwyer to Orlando City in the USL Pro. Dwyer scored a record 15 goals in 13 league games before being recalled to SKC. Dwyer was then loaned back to Orlando City for the 2013 USL Pro Championship game, where he scored four goals to lead City to a 7-4 win, capturing Championship Game MVP honors and the Lions their second USL Pro title. The 2012 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick also scored three goals in 21 regular and postseason appearances for Sporting KC en route to the 2013 MLS Cup championship.

Dwyer became a regular for Sporting in 2014, starting 31 of his 33 appearances and scoring 22 goals, the second-most in the league. The Cuckfield, England, native scored 12 goals in 30 MLS appearances in 2015 and 16 goals in 33 appearances in 2016, finishing fifth in the league. Dwyer’s 57 regular season goals are the fourth-most in MLS since 2012.

Orlando Pride Acquires 2018 Third-Round Draft Pick from Houston Dash

Orlando Pride has acquired a third-round pick in the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft from the Houston Dash.  The pick will be Houston’s natural pick, which is determined based on the final 2017 regular-season standings. In exchange, the Dash received defender Cami Levin.

“I would like to thank Cami for her commitment to the Pride and for being an integral part of our squad in our inaugural season,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “I wish her every success with her move to Houston and look forward to her NWSL career continuing to flourish.”

Levin, 26, made 10 appearances for the Pride in 2016, including eight starts. The defender missed some time during the year after an emergency appendectomy, but recorded one assist on the season - a helper to Sarah Hagen on Aug. 26 against Washington.

The acquired pick is the only selection the Pride currently hold in the 2018 College Draft, after trading its picks in deals that brought in forward Chioma Ubogagu, the rights to rookie Rachel Hill and an international roster spot that was eventually used to sign international superstar Marta.

The Pride open their 2017 home season on Saturday afternoon with a 4 p.m. ET match against the Washington Spirit at Orlando City Stadium. The game, which will be Orlando’s second consecutive nationally televised match on Lifetime, is expected to mark the debut of Marta, a five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.

Orlando Pride Sign Five-Time Women’s World Player of the Year Marta

Orlando Pride has acquired five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta Vieira da Silva today, adding one of the world’s best goal scorers to compete for the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) championship with the team. Da Silva, commonly known as Marta, will join the Pride on a two-year contract with an option for a third, pending the receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per team and league policies, additional terms of the contract were not announced.

“We are incredibly proud to bring Marta to Orlando, and I am personally very excited as I have been a fan of her for many years,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said. “Our technical team worked hard to add the best, most accomplished women’s soccer player in the world to the roster.

“We started the Pride to win, and bringing Marta to Orlando is a testament to our belief in this team, our supporters and the passion for soccer in Central Florida,” Leitão added.

Marta has won league championships at the club level 10 of the last 12 years, most recently leading Swedish side FC Rosengård to the 2014 and 2015 Damallsvenskan title. The forward’s decorated career also includes four Damallsvenskan championships with Umeå IK (2005-2008) and one with Tyresö (2012); Copa Libertadores de Fútbol Femenino and Copa do Brasil de Futebol Feminino titles with Santos (2009); and Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) championships with FC Gold Pride (2010) and the Western New York Flash (2011).

“Marta’s resume speaks for itself. She is not only the best player in the world, she is a player that fills one of our biggest needs on the field,” Orlando City SC General Manager Niki Budalic said. “Our goal this offseason was to evaluate our first year’s performance and give the Pride the best tools for success in 2017 and forward. With the addition of Marta, as well as fellow veterans Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris and Alex Morgan, among others, we are building a strong, exciting lineup for years to come.”

Known for her speed and technical ability, Marta is one of the game’s most revered players both in individual honors and in the record books. The 31-year-old has been named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year five times over her playing career, winning the globe’s top soccer honor each year from 2006-2010, and was on the final three shortlist every other year from 2004-2014. This year, Marta finished second for the annual award, now dubbed “The Best FIFA Women’s Player”.

Marta made her debut with the Brazil Women’s National Team in 2002 and was named to her first Women’s World Cup squad a year later. Since then, Marta has surpassed the 100 mark in both international goals and appearances, averaging a goal a game. In 2004, Marta led Brazil to a second-place finish in at the Athens Olympic Games and, later, she and Brazil were runners-up at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She would go on to win both the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe in the latter tournament.

In 2015, Marta scored her 15th career Women’s World Cup goal, becoming the top goal scorer in the tournament’s history. She is just two goals shy of becoming the World Cup’s all-time leading scorer for both men or women, currently tied with fellow countryman Ronaldo and a goal behind top-ranked Miroslav Klose of Germany.

The upcoming Pride season will be Marta’s first club season in the United States since 2011, when she led the Flash to the WPS league title in their expansion year. In the two seasons prior, Marta was named the league’s Most Valuable Player while a member of California’s Los Angeles Sol and FC Gold Pride.

Marta and the Pride will open the 2017 NWSL season on April 15 at Portland Thorns FC. Home town fans will get their first opportunity to see the star player at Orlando City Stadium on April 22 when the Pride host the Washington Spirit in their home opener.

After setting the NWSL single-match attendance record in its 2016 opener with 23,403 fans, the Pride are looking to break their own record in the team’s first match in the Club’s brand-new 25,500 seat stadium located in downtown Orlando.

Season and group tickets for the 2017 Pride season are currently on sale at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY. The Pride Plus One package, which includes a ticket to the home opener and a future match, is available at the link here. Single match ticket information will be available at a later date.

Marta Vieira da Silva
Number: 10
Position: Forward
Height: 5-4
Born: February 19, 1986 in Dois Riachos, Brazil
Hometown: Dois Riachos, Brazil
Citizenship: Brazil
College: n/a
Acquired: via Discovery on March 9, 2017

 

Orlando Pride Acquire International Roster Spot from Chicago

Orlando Pride has acquired an international roster spot for the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season from the Chicago Red Stars. In exchange, the Red Stars receive the Pride’s natural second-round pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft.

Orlando Pride will begin its second NWSL season in April and will play all home matches at the Club’s new downtown stadium. Season tickets for the 2017 campaign are currently available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY. A two-game pack, which includes a ticket to the team’s home opener in its new 25,500 seat stadium, is available at the link here.