The Orlando Pride made a pair of moves in order to bolster their roster ahead of the upcoming season by completing two trades with the Seattle Reign. The Pride dealt Steph Catley to Seattle in exchange for midfielder Christine Nairn and defender Carson Pickett. The other trade sent Jasmyne Spencer to Seattle in exchange for goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer and Seattle’s natural third-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.
The five-player deals send two original Pride members to Seattle.
Nairn, 27, has over 100 NWSL appearances between Seattle Reign FC and the Washington Spirit. The Penn State product started her NWSL career in Seattle in 2013, scoring three goals and leading the Reign with five assists. She was dealt to the Spirit, where she scored 14 goals over three seasons from 2014-2016.
Nairn was re-acquired by Reign FC in 2017, appearing in all but one match, scoring one goal and assisting on four others. Nairn also spent two off-seasons with Melbourne Victory of Australia’s Westfield W-League. She has two caps with the USWNT and scored one goal in a 1-0 victory over Canada.
“Christine is a player that we’ve had eyes on for a while,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said in a club press release. “What we see in her, technically, is a great footballing quality. She has an exceptional left foot, she’s a great passer, she understands the game really well. She’s been in this league from day one, been a regular starter virtually since she came into the league. She brings that experience and that quality with her.”
Pickett, 24, a Florida State product, made 36 appearances with Reign FC after being selected No. 4 overall in the 2016 NWSL College Draft. The defender registered her first pro assist in her rookie season. A four-year starter at FSU, Pickett helped lead the Seminoles to the 2014 NCAA Championship on a defense that did not concede a goal in the NCAA tournament.
“Carson gives us good cover at left back and she’s local, which I think always helps,” Sermanni added in the release. “So, she’s going to feel comfortable coming in from the start. Losing Steph, we obviously needed to look at getting cover at left back. [Pickett is] a player that has played high-level college-wise and a player that has played consistently in the league for her two seasons. She started a lot of games for a quality [Seattle] team. I think she’ll fit in well with the system we play and how we play.”
After trading Aubrey Bledsoe earlier this off-season, the Pride had a need to bring in a second goalkeeper and they got a good one in Kopmeyer. The 27-year-old keeper has been with the Reign since 2013, making 46 appearances, with a high of 20 during the 2017 NWSL campaign. The University of Michigan product has kept 11 clean sheets and made 185 saves in her five-year career. Kopmeyer previously had loan stints with Brisbane and Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.
“Haley is an experienced goalkeeper in this league, she’s been a starter in this league and now we’ve added a very strong goalkeeper to be here with Ashlyn [Harris],” Sermanni added in the club press release.
Both Pickett and Kopmeyer are playing in the W-League. Pickett is with top-seeded Brisbane Roar, while Kopmeyer is a teammate of Pride defender Toni Pressley at Canberra United.
Will all theses additions, the players sent in the other direction will displease some folks. Catley’s move was facilitated over concerns for her international travel schedule.
“Steph has played a huge part in shaping our club but knowing that, due to upcoming national team commitments, her desire was to be on the West Coast, we thought this was a good deal for all parties,” Sermanni said. “We thank Steph for everything over the last two years and wish her the best of luck in Seattle.”
Catley played two seasons with the Pride, bagging one goal and three assists, with her lone score being the first in Pride team history.
Spencer totaled seven goals and three assists during that span and earned Week 10 Goal of the Week in 2016 for her 92nd-minute game-winner against the Houston Dash.
“Jas has been magnificent for us. She turned up every day with a huge smile on her face, happy and brought a ton of energy to the training environment and we’ll miss that,” Sermanni said. “But for someone of her experience and ambition, we think this is a good deal for her, a good deal for us and a good opportunity for her to probably be guaranteed more starts in the league.”
Sermanni noted in the club’s press release that the 2016 Pride’s difficulties with international breaks served as a warning sign that more domestic depth was needed.
“We put a significant emphasis last year on international players and the downside of that, particularly when there’s a World Cup year coming up soon, is that you’re going to lose those international players from time to time,” he said. “So it’s really important to have depth and quality with your domestic players and I think these three players bring us that.”