Toni Pressley, the Orlando Pride's eighth selection in the National Women's Soccer League Expansion Draft from the Houston Dash, is a Florida native. The 5-foot-11 defender out of Florida State originates from nearby Melbourne.
Being from this area has already shined a spotlight on Pressley, with stories in Florida Today and our sister site, Dynamo Theory, when she was first selected; as well as, a player spotlight from the Pride. Pressley was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Here's the video which speaks to her early part of her soccer life.
We caught up with Pressley after Pride practice to learn more about her.
Q: You spent some time overseas, what drove your decision to go overseas and what made you want to come back?
A: So, when I got drafted originally, that's when the (WPS) league had folded, so there weren't really many options and one of my best friends from college, she's Russian American, so I went with her (to Russia). I'm glad I did. I had a very good experience there and while I was over there...another league (NWSL) had came about in the U.S. and I just, it was the next, you know, option for me and it just worked out, having come over to D.C.
Q: You were a forward who converted to defender. What was the process behind that and how did it happen?
A: I was a forward all my life until my sophomore year of college, and I switched to left back. I think maybe...my coach at the time maybe his preference and based on personnel that he had, (made the decision) things like that. Or maybe he just saw that as a better fit for me and you know I'm happy with the switch. I like being a defender. I like stopping (the) attack. I like being able to play out of the back and play make. It's fun.
Q: Can you talk about keys or strength to your style of play?
A: I think just being physical is one of my strong suits. Being able to hit a ball pretty far and pretty accurate and just my passing I think is really good. You know there are things that I need to work on as well, but I think for the most part those are the things I take pride in.
Q: What are the toppings on your perfect pizza?
A: Oh! Okay! Well, first you can't have too much sauce. You have to have a thin crust, okay, and then you have to have some chopped garlic on there (then) some marinara sauce as well. (Add) some mozzarella and I like the bocconcini, as well. So shredded mozzarella and small bocconcini and I like basil, some onion. I'm not really too big on the meat, but maybe some green pepper.
Q: Kinda more like a gourmet type of pizza, then?
A: Pizza is my favorite food if you didn't know that.