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Orlando Pride Sign Australian International Midfielder Emily van Egmond

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Tom Sermanni adds an Aussie star to the attacking midfield.

Australia v China PR Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The Orlando Pride continue their outstanding off-season of improving an already solid squad with the signing of Australian international midfielder Emily van Egmond via the league’s Discovery mechanism. The Matildas’ No. 10 returns to the NWSL pending receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per team and league policies, terms of the contract were not announced.

“Emily is high-quality, creative midfield player with a determined and winning attitude, and the ability to get forward and score goals,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said in a club press release. “She also brings vast international experience to our squad, even though she’s only 24 years old. With World Cup, Olympic and Champions League experience, she is another strong addition to the Pride. We are thrilled to welcome her.”

Van Egmond previously played three seasons in the United States. She made six appearances with Seattle Reign FC midway through the league’s inaugural season before moving on to the Chicago Red Stars for the 2014 season, where she scored two goals and assisted on two others over 10 appearances. She has previous experience playing pro soccer in the U.S., appearing in 2012 in the Women’s Premier Soccer League with the Western New York Flash, where she was a teammate of Pride defender Toni Pressley. Western New York won the WPSL-Elite title, with van Egmond scoring a championship-winning penalty in a shootout.

She played in 12 games this winter with Newcastle Jets in Australia’s Westfield W-League, playing all but two minutes, scoring four goals and adding five assists. Van Egmond spent the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons in Germany, playing for Frankfurt and later WfL Wolfsburg. During her time with the two German sides, she participated in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Van Egmond scored six goals in 12 appearances with Wolfsburg, leading the club to the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal titles, Germany’s top two championship competitions. In her season with Frankfurt, van Egmond scored once in 17 appearances.

Before playing in Germany, van Egmond spent several season in the W-League, starting her professional career with Newcastle in 2008 before moving to Canberra United, Western Sydney Wanderers FC, and eventually back to Newcastle over eight seasons. She played her first professional season in Europe in 2011, with Danish side Fortuna Hjørring.

On the international stage, van Egmond has been part of the Australian National Team setup since the age of 15. The vice-captain for the Matildas, Van Egmond has 66 caps and has scored 14 goals since her first call-up in 2010, when her national team coach was Sermanni. She played in all but one match for Australia in the 2016 Olympics, helping lead the Matildas to the quarterfinals.

A two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup participant, van Egmond helped Australia defeat Brazil in the Round of 16 during the 2015 tournament in one the biggest upsets in World Cup history. During that tournament, she appeared in five matches. During the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, van Egmond scored her first international goal on July 4 against Equatorial Guinea. Van Egmond appeared in three World Cup matches that year.

What it Means for Orlando

Van Egmond’s presence should completely mitigate Camila’s absence to start the season with her creativity and scoring ability and having both on the field later in the season is a huge boost to a Pride offense that already boasts Marta, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, and W-League standout Rachel Hill. She’s a pivotal attacking piece of FIFA’s fourth-ranked team and will only strengthen one of the NWSL’s top offenses even more.

In terms of international slots, Camila won’t count against the number until she returns and, per a club spokesperson, Monica is in the process of getting her green card. The Pride will be maxed out unless the club can trade for another slot or add another green card down the road.