The Orlando Pride announced that they’ve signed two new players; Jocelyn “Jo” Blankenship and Jordan O’Brien ahead of the NWSL roster freeze. The two midfielders are joining the Pride after becoming training players with the team midway through the 2016 NWSL season and will occupy the roster spots vacated by Laura Alleway and Maddy Evans.
A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Blankenship helped lead her school to its first-ever NCAA Tournament win in 2014. Over her four years, she accumulated 14 goals and 22 assists. She then joined SoCal FC, a semi-professional team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). The 23-year-old spent the 2016 NWSL preseason with the Boston Breakers before moving to Orlando to train with the Pride during the 2016 season.
O’Brien graduated from Tulsa University, finishing her college career with eight goals and 19 assists. After playing with KR Reykjavik in Iceland and QBIK in Sweden, the 24-year-old joins the Pride following a training stint with the club during the 2016 NWSL season.
“We’re really happy to reward Jo and Jordan after they’ve both been training in our environment for the past two seasons,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said in a club press release. “They both have great attitudes and have been great additions to the team at training, They are both very technical, talented players and I’m really delighted to be able to put them on contract and join us in our playoff push.”
The pair of signings — both California natives — comes on the heels of the retirement of Pride midfielder Maddy Evans earlier this month, citing her low salary as a determining factor. The two new midfielders will join the Pride for Saturday’s home game against the Boston Breakers.