On Tuesday, the Orlando Pride brought in its first internationally allocated player by signing Brazilian National Team defender Monica. Monica will occupy one of the four international spots the Pride have in their first season. Monica filled a rather large need in the middle of the back line, and one would assume the Pride are hoping to fill international spots with major impact players.
Here's a look at some of the players the Pride could, and maybe should, target to fill the three remaining international slots. Keep in mind, this is all speculation, and no inside knowledge is involved.
Amandine Henry - Olympique Lyon - Defensive midfielder
Henry is one of the top players in the world, winning the Silver Ball Award at the 2015 Women's World Cup. Adding Henry to the league would add legitimacy to the league. The French defensive midfielder might not be affordable for anyone in the NWSL.
Henry did say that this could be her last season at Olympique Lyon, which obviously led to speculation she could come to America. And if she did, she would be a reasonable fit in Orlando. Certainly the Pride are interested in making a splash in their first season, but even moreso, Henry fits into the team as a defensive midfielder. The addition of Henry would allow Maddy Evans to move to the back line and likely be the starting left back. Meanwhile, Henry and Kaylyn Kyle could rotate in the defensive midfield, and perhaps Kyle could move outside.
If the financials are doable, it might just be a new adventure Henry is willing to take.
Jeon Ga-Eul - Incheon Red Angels - Forward
Earlier this month, it was announced that Jeon Ga-Eul will be the first South Korean National Team player to join the NWSL. However, details regarding which team she will be playing for have not come to light just yet. But nonetheless, the Pride could use some help up top when star striker Alex Morgan is out, and Ge-Eul certainly provides that.
Ga-Eul fits in with the Pride's strategy, since she is a breakout star on a not-so-great South Korea team. The 27-year-old striker could be an instant impact player that pushes Sarah Hagen for a spot in the starting XI with Morgan on the field.
Emily van Egmond - FFC Frankfurt - Midfielder
With the Pride making Tom Sermanni their first head coach, speculation immediately started that the Pride would try to bring in some players from the Australian National Team that Sermanni once coached.
Quite a few of the Aussies are already in the NWSL, but the club may reach out to a former NWSL player in van Egmond as one of their international players. The 23-year-old midfielder has already appeared in games for eight teams in her career, and she may be looking to settle down with FFC Frankfurt, but she may be willing to come back after she was most recently waived by Chicago.
Michelle Heyman/Caitlin Foord/Samantha Kerr/Kyah Simon - All in NWSL
There is also the possibility if the Pride want to bring in an Australian international that they reach out to one of the many already in the league. Obviously a trade to one of the teams of Heyman, Foord, Kerr, or Simon would have to be worked out, but the Pride have quite a few assets after what many saw as a successful expansion draft.
Kerr had a strong season for Sky Blue FC with six goals in nine appearances, so she would likely be tough to acquire. Foord, Heyman and Simon seem to be more realistic options, though Heyman and Simon likely wouldn't get into the lineup very often.
Kosovore Asllani - PSG - Forward
Orlando could welcome a Swedish striker to the City Beautiful in 2016, but it may not be the one everyone is hoping for. Swedish striker Kosovore Asllani may be done at PSG after this season, and could make the jump to the NWSL, according to a Swedish report.
Asllani is a strong player and would be a welcomed addition to the Pride based on skill alone. However, Sermanni and company have expressed interest in bringing in players on international teams that aren't necessarily very good, so the club won't have to deal with losing players to much international play. Given that Sweden is pretty good, and Asllani is a fairly big part of that squad, scoring 21 goals in 80 international caps, it's probably not very likely the club goes after her.
Yoreli Rincon - Avaldsnes - Midfielder
If the Pride aren't already going after Yoreli Rincon, someone needs to run into team headquarters with a petition to get this player on the club. Once dubbed 'the next Marta,' the Colombian Rincon hasn't lived up to those standards, but she's still pretty darn good.
Rincon has nine goals in 49 appearances with the Colombian National Team, and fits the mold of a good player on a bad team that the Pride are reportedly looking for. The 22-year-old midfielder also fits a need for the team as a midfielder who can be a staple on the outside.
Even better, Rincon, who is currently playing in Norway, wants to play in the NWSL. She played in the W-League and trained with Universal Soccer Academy in 2014, hoping to adapt to the American style to move on to the NWSL.
Also, there's this.
I wouldn't mind having that rocket leg on my team.
As I said, all of this is speculation. It's hard to tell who Orlando will get to fill the other three international spots, if they get anyone at all. It's very possibly they trade the spots, or just leave them open. With so few international players making their intentions clear at this point, it's almost a crap shoot as to who will be in Orlando next season.