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Orlando Pride’s Maddy Evans Announces Retirement from Professional Soccer

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Evans is leaving the club for a job opportunity in Pennsylvania

Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Orlando Pride midfielder Maddy Evans has announced her retirement from professional soccer this morning, with the 26-year-old saying she has taken another job back home in Pennsylvania.

Evans, who is coming off of arguably one of her best games in a Pride uniform in last weekend’s 3-0 win over the Washington Spirit, will play her final match this Saturday, when the Pride host Sky Blue FC at Orlando City Stadium.

“My decision to walk away happened very fast but I’ve accepted a job back home in Pennsylvania,” Evans said in a club release. “It wasn’t an easy decision but, for me professionally and big picture, it’s the perfect fit and best option at this time. I want to thank all of Orlando City, especially my teammates, the fans, and the entire organization for providing me a chance to really feel what it means to be a professional soccer player. These two years have been an experience I’ll always remember.”

The Pride drafted Evans ninth overall in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft after she had spent three seasons with the Boston Breakers. The Penn State grad has played in 11 games (four starts) for the Pride this season without a goal or an assist and just three shot attempts (none on target) in 456 minutes. She appeared in 16 games (12 starts) in 2016, tallying no goals with one assist and nine shots (three on goal) in 1,08 minutes.

“It’s with very mixed feelings that we see Maddy go,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said in the club’s release. “The first is obviously sadness that we are losing a player with such influence on the team, both on and off the field, and with such a great relationship with our supporters. Maddy has been an unbelievable team character, irreplaceable in that sense. So it’s with a lot of sadness we say goodbye. But, at the same time, it’s exciting for her to look at this opportunity that’s cropped up. Having five years as a professional in the league, she feels the time is right to move to the next stage in her life and career and we share her excitement for that. We wish her every success for the future.”

Evans’ departure will leave Orlando with five players remaining from the NWSL Expansion Draft from November of 2015. Goalkeepers Ashlyn Harris and Aubrey Bledsoe, forwards Jasmyne Spencer and Jamia Fields, and defender Toni Pressley all came to the Pride through that draft. Preceding Evans out of the squad from the draft were Meghan Klingenberg — who was sent to Portland as part of the Alex Morgan deal — defender Taryn Hemmings (who retired and never played for Orlando), midfielder Lianne Sanderson (traded to Western New York Flash in 2016), and Cami Levin (traded to Houston Dash in 2017).

With Evans retiring, this could potentially open up more playing time for rookie midfielder Nickolette Driesse down the stretch.

The retirement of Evans continues a troubling trend of female players leaving pro soccer to follow job opportunities that may provide a better livelihood. NWSL players make a minimum salary of just $15,000 — which, as low as that sounds, is double what it was in 2016.

We wish Maddy the best of luck in her future endeavors.