NEWS & VIEWS
Sydney Leroux, or as some still say Syd the Kid, has been making waves in women’s soccer since 2012. After a standout career at UCLA that helped her break into the national team, she joined the NWSL as a member of the Boston Breakers. Since Boston she’s had stops in Seattle, Western New York, and most recently Kansas City prior to landing here in Orlando alongside husband Dom Dwyer. However, even though Leroux has bounced around the league, she’s always had a nose for goal which she has shown throughout preseason with the Pride by scoring a total of four goals in just three games.
Now, if you have followed Leroux’s career from day one then you know her unreal pace this preseason is a sign of very good things to come. In 77 appearances for the national team, Syd has accumulated 35 goals while adding another 23 goals in 67 NWSL appearances. The Kid has averaged about 6 goals a season for each of the four NWSL seasons that she’s suited up for. After sitting out the 2016 NWSL season to give birth to future United States Men’s National Team star, Cassius Cruz Dwyer Leroux had her work cut out for her in order to get back to the force to be reckoned with that she once was.
Sydney Leroux’s 2017 NWSL season saw her score 6 goals in 23 appearances for FC Kansas City and if her preseason with the Pride has anything to say about that, it’s that those 6 goals last year were just scratching the surface of what Leroux’s potential still is. Look for Syd the Kid to be getting on the end of many balls this year for the Orlando Pride, especially if her girl Alex Morgan is dishing them out because they have scorching chemistry on the field.
Stat Girl Sammy’s prediction for Sydney Leroux’s 2018 NWSL Season with the Orlando Pride is that she will at least match if not beat her 6 goal total from last year since I see her as a starter week in and week out but only time will tell if Leroux is able to get back to the player that she once was.
Fun Fact: Nairn appeared twice for the USWNT during her senior year of high school and she scored one goal that assisted by USWNT and NWSL legend, Lauren Cheney.
Have you ever sat close enough to hear what players say on the field or on the court at a sporting event? Well if you’ve done so at a recent Washington Spirit or Seattle Reign FC NWSL match then chances are that you’ve heard Christine Nairn's voice echoing from the pitch. Known to many as a fiery player that is not afraid to speak her mind she’s garnered the reputation of a classic strong woman, which has not only given her the opportunity to captain W – League, Melbourne Victory while overseas but also has helped cement her status as a role model for the younger generation.
After a standout career at Penn State University, a school that also produced former Orlando Pride player Maddy Evans and current Orlando Pride Player Ali Krieger, Nairn took her talents to the NWSL and began her first stint with Seattle Reign FC under newly appointed Utah Royals FC coach, Laura Harvey. In her first NWSL season Nairn appeared in 22 matches, led the Reign in assists and tallied 3 goals. However, after her standout rookie season Nairn saw herself traded to her hometown team, the Washington Spirit. Nairn spent three seasons in the DMV, where she continued to collect accolades.
In 2014 Nairn found the back of the net 6 times and took an overwhelming 68% of the Spirit’s corner kicks that season. She followed that up with 5 goals in 2015 and 3 goals in 2016, which helped her earn the Washington Spirit’s MVP award as she played a huge role both on and off the field in a year that saw the Washington Spirit make their first trip to the NWSL Final. Sadly, Nairn’s time with her hometown team was short lived as she was sent back to Seattle prior to the 2017 season as part the Spirit’s complete overhaul. The trade saw her once again reunite with Laura Harvey, but the results were not what they once were.
In fact, 2017 was Nairn’s least productive season in the NWSL. She only scored 1 goal in 23 appearances and while she had 5 assists her Reign FC team failed to qualify for the playoffs. Questions surrounded the team, and many wondered how a team that seemed like a contender right out of the gate every year could fall so far. No direct answer was given, but when Laura Harvey stepped down as head coach everyone knew that the Reign were going in a new direction.
The Reign’s new direction landed Nairn and her teammates Haley Kompmeyer and Carson Pickett in Orlando eager to start a new journey. The trio are already close and have been welcomed with open arms by returning Orlando Pride players who feel that they are part of the missing pieces that were required in order to push past the NWSL semifinals. In Nairn’s case look for her 2018 season to be all about proving that her 2017 season was just a fluke.
Stat Girl Sammy’s prediction for Christine Nairn’s 2018 NWSL season has her scoring 3 goals and racking up 4 assists while pulling the strings in a much improved midfield alongside returning Orlando Pride Players Dani Weatherholt and Alanna Kennedy as well as new Aussie import Emily VanEgmond.
Fun Fact: Florida native, Pickett has represented the United States at the U-17 and U-23 levels.
January 29th 2018, the day that deep down many Orlando Pride fans knew would come but hoped never did. Rumors had been circulating throughout the 2017 season that star left back Steph Catley would not be returning to the team in 2018. Many thought that she would head to Europe, which is something that she has hinted at in the past, however in an unexpected move Catley was sent west to Seattle in exchange for midfielder Christine Nairn and young and up and coming left back, Carson Pickett.
The trade that saw the Pride and the Reign swap starting left backs was largely overshadowed by many other multiple NWSL blockbusters that turned up the heat on the NWSL offseason. In Catley the Pride lost a player who was brought in prior to the inaugural season to be part of a core of players that would lead the team into the future. Catley had an established relationship with Pride head coach Tom Sermanni from his time coaching her in Australia and quickly became a fan favorite with the Pride faithful. She participated in multiple player appearances, signed hundreds of autographs and took an insane number of selfies after every match.
It’s safe to say that not only did Steph Catley leave the Orlando Pride with big shoes to fill on their backline, but she also left the fans with a hole in their hearts that needed to be filled. Enter Carson Pickett. The Pride wasted no time in going after the only left back in the NWSL that could not just replace Catley but potentially one up her. Carson Pickett was named the Florida Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the year in 2012 and helped lead her high school soccer team to 3 state championships before heading off to Florida State University, where she was a four - year starter and totaled 103 appearances for the Seminoles. Pickett’s stellar collegiate career reached an all – time high when she helped lead FSU to a NCAA title in 2014. In fact, during the tournament Pickett helped anchor a defense that did not concede a single goal throughout the duration of the tournament.
Carson Pickett was the fourth name called at the 2016 NWSL Draft and her destination was Seattle, under the tutelage of Laura Harvey who had watched Pickett’s dominance at FSU and simply could not pass her up. Pickett and Harvey spent two years together in Seattle, where Pickett made 36 appearances for the Reign. In her rookie season, Carson was slowly integrated in the Reign’s dominate lineup as she appeared in 15 games and started 8 of those, but it was her sophomore year that saw her transform into the starter that those who watched her Florida State knew she could be. In 2017 Pickett played in and started 21 of Seattle’s 24 games firmly cementing herself as the team’s starting left back. When Seattle failed to make the playoffs Pickett joined W – League side, Brisbane Roar where appeared in 13 matches and even scored a goal, her first as a professional.
Coming off of a solid sophomore season, and a remarkable run in Australia Pickett found herself back in her home state Florida, only this time as a member of the Orlando Pride and she’s already made Pride faithful smile. Pickett played alongside fellow Pride players in the annual Kids vs. Pros match with a huge smile on her face, she’s taken pictures with fans on her own time and helped fans get pumped at the Pride in the House event. In no time at all, the void that Catley left will be filled by a what many should consider, a hometown hero. Now, even though Pickett will have to up her game, in regards to crosses and helping build up the attack she seems more than up to the challenge because she’s ready to show the NWSL what she’s really made of and if I’m Jill Ellis I’m keeping my eye on Carson Pickett.
Preseason is Over! Kickoff Week is HERE! Luis on the League! And Orlando Pride Media Day — are you kidding me??? This show's packed full of so much goodness, just reading this has exceeded your recommended daily allowance of AWESOMENESS! This show is like cooking on LAVA — best watch what we're doing or you're gunna' bet burned! Something-something: #LETSSCORE
Orlando Pride wrapped up its preseason play on Thursday night, downing the University of South Florida 5-1 at Corbett Stadium. Three Bulls have joined the Orlando squad preseason roster. The Pride’s next match will kickoff the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League season, when the Pride host Utah Royals FC at 7:30 p.m. on March 24.
The Pride had five different scorers in the match.
“I’m really, really delighted with the result. I thought we showed a lot of cohesion, a lot of good movement, a lot of good passing, created a lot of chances and we looked really comfortable today,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “So, I think it was a good step forward from the last game.”
Sydney Leroux made it four goals in three matches just four minutes into the match, sending in a tight angle shot from the left side. Christine Nairn got the play started, chipping a ball up to Carson Pickett on her way to the left byline, setting up a cross to Leroux.
Orlando doubled its lead in the 19th minute after Kristen Edmonds, playing in her first match this preseason, fed Danica Evans on the doorstep. Dani Weatherholt made it a three-goal lead just before the halftime whistle, cleaning up the rebound on a late corner.
Nairn picked up an assist in the 58th minute, dropping a ball in for Chioma Ubogagu for her first goal of the preseason.
The Bulls got on the board in the 72nd minute, but the celebration didn’t last long as Nairn responded from the ensuing kickoff, scoring on a long distance blast directly off of the restart.
Individual and season tickets are currently on sale at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
Match: University of South Florida vs. Orlando Pride
Date: March 8, 2018
Venue: Corbett Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Low 50s, Breezy
Team 1 2 F
USF 0 1 1
Orlando 3 2 5
ORL – Sydney Leroux (Carson Pickett) 4’
ORL - Danica Evans (Kristen Edmonds) 19’
ORL - Dani Weatherholt 45+1’
ORL - Chioma Ubogagu (Christine Nairn) 58’
USF - Kelli Burney 72’
ORL - Christine Nairn 73’
Orlando Lineup: GK Haley Kopmeyer; D Kristen Edmonds (Trudi Carter* 32’), Ali Krieger, Toni Pressley, Carson Pickett; M Dani Weatherholt (Ansley Frazier* 82’), Christine Nairn (Julia Moore* 82’), Bridget Callahan (Ellie Moreno* 82’); F Chioma Ubogagu (Christine Creighton*), Danica Evans (Kayla Adamek*), Sydney Leroux (Morgan Ferrera*)
Substitutes Not Used: None
New audio, late night QueensCast giggles and a lot of inspiring soccer has crafted this episode. What’s more fun than cutting a show in the middle of the night? Getting the fancy-pants new blinky-machine to work! We need a Priest, and rocket scientist and Rick Rubin! All that said, we’re going into the future … kicking and screaming.
With all that we got an amazing opportunity to embrace the world’s premiere soccer professionals at the beautiful game. It was a day that will long live in Queenscast history bringing not only its fare share of cheers (well not in the press box), but it’s share of tears. Now, let’s put our arms around each other and embrace the new future that is in front of us and shout #LETSSCORE
Orlando Pride signs Australian international Alanna Kennedy to a new contract. Per team and league policies, terms of the contract were not announced.
“After playing such an important role in our success last year, we’re absolutely delighted to bring Alanna back for the upcoming season,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “Alanna is the type of player who can change a game and whose versatility will, again, be extremely valuable for our squad. We wish her the best of luck in her upcoming matches with Australia and can’t wait to have her back with us in Orlando.”
Kennedy, 23, appeared in all 25 matches in her first season with the Pride, becoming a staple in the midfield and leading the team to the NWSL Playoffs in 2017. Selected to the NWSL Team of the Month in September and an NWSL Goal of the Week winner, Kennedy contributed to the offense significantly, scoring five goals, including Orlando’s lone goal in the NWSL semifinal.
Prior to becoming a member of the Pride, Kennedy spent her first NWSL season with the former Western New York Flash, appearing in 15 matches and leading the team to the 2016 NWSL Championship title.
In addition to her two seasons in the United States, Kennedy has spent a significant amount of time playing in her home country of Australia for several teams in the W-League. Her accomplishments include being named Sydney FC Player of the Year in 2016, appearing in the Premiership and Grand Final as a member of the Perth Glory in 2014 and winning the W-League Championship in 2013 with Sydney FC. Most recently, Kennedy helped lead Melbourne City FC to the 2017-18 W-League Championship, the team’s third straight title win.
As a member of the Australia national team, Kennedy played in both the 2016 Summer Olympics and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, reaching the quarterfinals in both tournaments. Kennedy earned her first national team call-up for the Matildas under Sermanni in 2012. Since then, Kennedy has remained a regular member of the team and is currently competing with the team in the 2018 Algarve Cup in Portugal. In the 2017 Tournament of Nations, which Australia won, Kennedy helped the Matildas beat No. 1 U.S.A. and then-ranked No. 6 Japan and No. 8 Brazil.
Kennedy, as well as teammate Emily van Egmond, will join the Pride following the conclusion of Australia’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying, which runs April 6-20 in Jordan.
Entering the third week of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) preseason, Orlando Pride has announced its current preseason roster. Departed from Week 1 camp are Marta and Monica, who are currently with Brazil for a national team camp. In addition, Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni has brought in seven new trialists, all who have recently participated in the team’s first two preseason matches.
Marta and Monica, as well as Poliana, Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, Shelina Zadorsky and Nádia Gomes will return to the Pride next week following international duty.
The Pride will play their final preseason friendly on Thursday, March 8, traveling to face the University of South Florida at 7 p.m. ET.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (FED-USA; NYR), Kat Elliott (NRI), Haley Kopmeyer
DEFENDERS (7): Monica Hickmann Alves, Poliana Barbosa Medeiros (NYR), Ali Krieger, Camila Martin Pereira, Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Shelina Zadorsky (FED-CAN; NYR)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kayla Adamek (NRI), Bridget Callahan (NRI), Christine Creighton (NRI), Kristen Edmonds, Alanna Kennedy (NYR), Julia Moore (NRI), Christine Nairn, Emily van Egmond (NYR), Dani Weatherholt
FORWARDS (10): Trudi Carter (NRI), Danica Evans, Morgan Ferrara (NRI), Nádia Gomes (CDP), Jessica Hamrick (NRI), Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan (FED-USA, NYR), Chioma Ubogagu, Marta Vieira da Silva
FED - 2018 Federation Player
CDP - 2018 NWSL College Draft pick
NRI - Non-Roster Invitee
NYR - Not Yet Reported to Camp
Orlando Pride picked up its first win of the NWSL preseason on Saturday afternoon, defeating the University of Central Florida 3-0 at UCF Track and Soccer Complex. Sydney Leroux opened the match with two first-half goals before Christine Nairn capped off the scoring in the second half. The match was the second of three preseason games the Pride will play before their March 24 season opener against Utah Royals FC.
“I was pleased. I thought we showed a lot more cohesion today, moved the ball well, kept possession well, created chances and scored goals,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “So, again, still very early in the preseason but I was pleased with what I saw.”
The two Orlando-based sides played a shortened match on Saturday with two, 25-minute halves. Leroux got the Pride on the board first in the 14th minute, capitalizing on a pass from Dani Weatherholt. Weatherholt sacrificed her body between two Knight defenders, finding Leroux on a right-sided run to go in unmarked on the goalkeeper.
Seven minutes later, Leroux put in her third goal of the preseason after Christine Nairn faked a shot, instead sending the forward down the left side of the box for an easy tap-in around the ‘keeper.
Nairn got one for herself shortly into the second half, powering a left-footed set piece in the 33rd minute.
The Pride will finish preseason play on March 8, traveling to face the University of South Florida at 7 p.m. ET
Tickets for the 2018 Pride season are currently on sale at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
Match: University of Central Florida vs. Orlando Pride
Date: March 3, 2018
Venue: UCF Track & Soccer Complex
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Team 1 2 F
UCF 0 0 0
Orlando 2 1 3
ORL – Sydney Leroux (Dani Weatherholt) 14’
ORL – Sydney Leroux (Christine Nairn) 21’
ORL – Christine Nairn 33’
Orlando Lineup: Haley Kopmeyer; Bridget Callahan* (Kayla Adamek* 45’), Ali Krieger, Toni Pressley, Carson Pickett; Dani Weatherholt, Danica Evans (Jessica Hamrick* 45’), Christine Nairn; Trudi Carter* (Julia Moore* 45’), Sydney Leroux, Chioma Ubogagu
Substitutes Not Used: None
Our muscles cramp from lying in wait. The season in view; and so much is to be done. We long to line The Wall with our voice. As for now, we get a taste of the battles to come as the “She Believes Cup” kicks off 2018! — KICK THE BALL AS LOUD AS YOU CAN! #LETSSCORE
Orlando Pride began preseason play on Wednesday night, traveling to face Florida State University at Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee. Forward Sydney Leroux and trialist Trudi Carter scored for the Pride, who fell 3-2 to the Seminoles.
The Pride, who currently have nine players on international duty, started the match with 10 rostered players, with preseason invitee Bridget Callahan the only trialist in the starting XI. Halfway through the match, Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni replaced eight of his starters with trialists. The team played the remainder of the match with the same personnel setup, rotating two rostered players on the field and Haley Kopmeyer consistent between the pipes.
“I was happy with the game, it was always going to be difficult. Having nine players away on international duty has really decimated the squad a little bit,” Sermanni said. “We put a team out tonight with players playing all sorts of positions, players that haven’t played with each other and players that just got to meet each other before the game. So, considering all of those things, I was really happy with the effort and how the team went and pleased that we gave Florida State competition.”
Playing three, 30-minute periods, the Pride got on the board first eight minutes into the first stanza. Forward Sydney Leroux found the back of the net with a right-footed shot, creating a solo opportunity at the top of the 18-yard box.
The Seminoles pulled things even early in the second period after a handball call in the box, leading to a penalty kick goal from Deyna Castellanos. The home team took the lead in the 49th minute, after Kaycie Tillman intercepted a pass from the Orlando backline and finished on a breakaway.
Carter, out of the University of South Florida, brought the game to 2-2 in the 80th minute, adding Orlando’s second goal of the evening with a blast from 25-yards out.
Castellanos made it a brace late in the game, scoring in the 89th minute.
The Pride will play their second preseason game in just three days, facing in-town side University of Central Florida on Saturday in a closed-door match.
Orlando begins the 2018 NWSL regular season on March 24, hosting Utah Royals FC at Orlando City Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are currently available at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
Match: Florida State University vs. Orlando Pride
Date: February 28, 2018
Venue: Seminole Soccer Complex
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
ORL – Sydney Leroux 8’
FSU – Deyna Castellanos (PK) 33’
FSU – Kaycie Tillman 49’
ORL – Trudi Carter 80’
FSU – Deyna Castellanos 89'
Orlando Lineup: Haley Kopmeyer; Bridget Callahan* (Claire Oates* 31’), Ali Krieger (Toni Pressley 61’, Carson Pickett 76’), Toni Pressley (Sarah Inserra*), Carson Pickett (Kayla Adamek*); Dani Weatherholt (Bridget Callahan* 48’, Chioma Ubogagu 76’), Danica Evans (Dani Weatherholt 61’), Christine Nairn (Jessica Hamrick*); Rachel Hill (Hikaru Murakami* 48’), Sydney Leroux (Trudi Carter*), Chioma Ubogagu (Julia Moore*)
Substitutes Not Used: Taylor Fox* (Orlando Pride DA); Ansley Frazier* (Orlando Pride DA), Ellie Moreno* (Orlando Pride DA)