The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon that they have placed three players on the league’s Re-Entry Wire, exercised options on 10 players, and extended new contract offers to four players. With these moves, the club is looking to bring back 18 of the 21 players that helped the team finish third in the NWSL this season.
Monday was the league’s deadline to place players on the Re-Entry Wire. Players must be placed on the Re-Entry Wire if the club has decided not to exercise their option or not extend a new contract offer when their contract has expired. Clubs can then pick from available players in reverse order of the standings for the 2017 NWSL season. The Pride will have the seventh pick this year.
The club only placed three players from the 2017 team on the Re-Entry Wire. McKenzie Berryhill was claimed off waivers by the Pride on Aug. 30, 2016. Berryhill never got onto the field for the Pride since joining the team, but was an unused substitute twice in 2016. She spent the entire 2017 season on the injured list. Jo Blankenship and Jordan O’Brien were signed by the Pride on Aug. 29 of this year. Like Berryhill, neither Blankenship nor O’Brien saw the field for the Pride. Blankenship was an unused substitute twice late this season and O’Brien was never on the team sheet.
The club has exercised its options on 10 players: Aubrey Bledsoe, Camila, Nickolette Driesse, Kristen Edmonds, Danica Evans, Jamia Fields, Rachel Hill, Monica, Toni Pressley, and Jasmyne Spencer. Camila, Edmonds, and Monica have been regular starters for the team, with 22, 20, and 16 starts, respectively. Monica and Edmonds played over 1,200 minutes this season while Camila played 1,900 before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the regular season finale at North Carolina. Bledsoe has backed up Ashlyn Harris in goal since the start of the 2016 season. She was called into action when Harris suffered a quad injury in Seattle on May 23. Starting 11 games, she conceded 15 goals, recorded two clean sheets, and made 36 saves.
The Pride extended new contracts offers to Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Chioma Ubogagu, and Dani Weatherholt, whose contracts had expired. Catley and Kennedy, both Australian internationals, were key players for the Pride this season, starting 23 of the team’s 24 games and the playoff game. Kennedy became the club’s version of Julie Ertz, scoring four goals and adding an assist and moving from center back to midfield. She scored the game-winning goal at North Carolina on a free kick to push the Pride into third place on the final regular season match day. Ubogagu started 16 games this season scoring four goals, and Weatherholt started 17 games, adding one goal and an assist.
Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, and Ali Krieger all remain on the roster as federation players, with the league announcing federation status for the 2018 season at a later date. Marta, who was signed on April 7, remains under contract.