Josée Bélanger and Kaylyn Kyle have played their last games for the Pride. The Canadian defender and midfielder were both subsidized by Canada for the 2016 NWSL season, but today it was announced that neither would be subsidized for the upcoming season. Due to that, the Pride decided to pass on retaining both players’ rights and made them available for selection in the upcoming NWSL Distribution Draft.
Kyle posted on her Twitter earlier saying, “Shocked & devastated is an understatement, I wore my heart on my sleeve for this club, team & community!”
Kyle appeared in 18 games for the Pride in the 2016, starting 16 of them. With 1436 minutes played, only Kristen Edmonds and Jasmyne Spencer played more last year. Kyle, a defensive midfielder, did not score a goal or an assist on the season. She was forced to play half the season as a central defender during the Rio Olympics, in which she turned down a Canada National Team call-up as an alternate, in order to stay behind to help the Pride through their season.
Bélanger was called up by Canadian National Team for the Olympics and ended up with a Bronze medal for her efforts. She appeared and started in 14 games in 2016, logging just over 1000 minutes with the Pride. She suffered an ankle injury towards the end of the season, keeping her out of the last few matches.
With the acquisition of Ali Kreiger for the upcoming season, Bélanger seemed to be the odd one out for the team in defense. According to the press release from the club, Bélanger has elected to forgo the upcoming NWSL season altogether and instead will remain in Montreal, where she will continue to train for upcoming matches with the Canadian National Team.
Kyle, who was one of the first players signed by the Pride in their first season, was apparently having green card issues, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Alicia DelGallo, which most likely played a huge role in her not being able to re-sign with the Pride. Since the team currently is full on international players, Kyle would have needed her green card in order to stay with the Pride and not take up an international roster spot.
The Pride continue to build their roster, as preseason is expected to begin sometime within the next month.