The Orlando Pride have announced the signing of Australian national team forward and captain Lisa De Vanna, pending receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). De Vanna is an accomplished attacking player who has previously played under Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni with Australia from 2005-2012.
The Pride have struggled to score goals this season, with just 15 through their first 18 games, but the 31-year-old De Vanna should be able to help in that department. With 40 goals in her 117 international caps with Australia, she ranks second all-time in goals scored for the Matildas and third in caps, and playing alongside Alex Morgan shouldn’t hurt her at all, either.
De Vanna, who will wear the No. 10, is a dangerous forward and among the best in the world. If she is in form, should could be a big asset to the Pride.
"We're delighted to sign a player of Lisa's quality to add to the depth of the team and our attacking presence," Sermanni said in a club press release. "Lisa is a world-class player, a game-changer and I'm looking forward to coaching her again."
"I am incredibly happy to be joining the Orlando Pride and keen to be working with Tommy again," De Vanna said in the Pride's statement. "I'm looking forward to joining the team. It's exciting to be a part of a new team and will do my best to help the squad for the rest of the season."
De Vanna becomes the third Australian player on the Pride roster, joining defenders Laura Alleway and Steph Catley -- who remains out for the rest of the season with injury. The trio actually played club soccer together last year with Melbourne City FC, leading the team to an undefeated record and a W-League championship during the 2015-16 campaign. De Vanna also played in the recent Rio Olympics with Alleway and Catley, reaching the quarterfinals before being knocked out by host Brazil on penalties.
Last summer, De Vanna became the first Australian to score in three straight FIFA Women's World Cup competitions, scoring twice at the 2015 World Cup, where she was named to the tournament's all-star squad. In 2013, she was named Female Footballer of the Year by the Football Federation of Australia.
In February 2013, De Vanna signed with Sky Blue FC for the inaugural National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) season. She joined the Boston Breakers in an off-season trade and made six appearances before moving on to the Washington Spirit. De Vanna has six goals and seven assists in two NWSL seasons. Her bicycle kick goal in June of 2013 earned a nomination for FIFA's best goal of the year, known as the Puskas Award. Here it is:
De Vanna began her professional club career in 2006, signing with Doncaster Rover Belles of the English Premier League. She played a season in Sweden, then joined the Australian W-League, playing for Perth Glory.
She was selected 18th overall in the 2008 WPS International Draft by the Washington Freedom and played with that club until the league suspended operations. Meanwhile, she spent the North American off-seasons in the W-League. After the 2011 season, De Vanna signed with Swedish side Linköpings FC.
Over her 10-year club career, De Vanna also featured for the W-League's Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets, and Melbourne Victory, winning three league championships (2010-11, 2013-14 and 2015-16).
While her move to Orlando might be too late to save the Pride’s playoff chances -- the club currently sits nine points behind the Western New York Flash for the final playoff spot -- De Vanna could be a significant addition for the club moving forward into 2017 if she stays. Details of the transaction, such as the contract length, were not disclosed by the club.