The Orlando Pride have waived midfielder Nickolette Driesse, the club’s second pick (32nd overall) in the 2017 NWSL College Draft. The 23-year-old Penn State product appeared in just four matches for the Pride during the 2017 NWSL season, totaling 47 minutes.
“Despite limited playing time last season, Nikki remained the ultimate professional, turning up each day and displayed outstanding work ethic and enthusiasm,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said in a club press release. “We wish Nikki the best of luck in the next steps of her career.”
Driesse didn’t see much action, playing nearly half of her 2017 minutes in one game, but she showed flashes of potential in her brief appearances. Her 21-minute stint on Aug. 12 against Sky Blue saw Driesse complete 91% of her passes and she also earned a free kick.
She scored one goal and notched six assists as a co-captain with the Nittany Lions in 2016, and was named to the All-Big Ten First Team, Big Ten All-Tournament team, Academic All-Big Ten and NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team.
Driesse transferred to Penn State from Florida State after playing her first two years there. With the Seminoles, she played in 48 matches, scoring once and earning eight assists and winning the national championship in 2014. The next year at Penn State, she won another national championship, making her one of the only players to win two national titles with two different schools in back-to-back years.
What it Means for Orlando
It was unlikely Driesse was going to see a big increase in minutes in 2018, particularly if Alanna Kennedy re-signs with the club as expected. The midfield is a bit more crowded with the addition of Christine Nairn and viable fullback options who could push Kristen Edmonds up the field. The Pride’s off-season moves also make it clear that roster space is at a premium in 2018 and Orlando has ambition toward moving out of just being a playoff team into becoming an NWSL Cup contender this season. That unfortunately made Driesse a roster casualty heading toward 2018, but hopefully she’ll catch on somewhere and continue her development as a professional.