The Orlando Pride have announced the signing of three National Team Replacement Players to substitute for the team’s Brazilian contingent as they compete in 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying. The signings include midfielder Abby Elinsky and forwards Christine Creighton and Nàdia Gomes.
With 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying kicking into full swing, Brazilians Marta, Monica, and Poliana left Orlando to take part in the 2018 Copa América Femenina, which serves as qualification for the quadrennial tournament. The tournament will begin April 4 and lasts until April 22, possibly forcing the trio to miss the next three games. To replace the three stars, the Pride have signed 22-year-old Abby Elinsky, 21-year-old Christine Creighton, and 21-year-old Nàdia Gomes.
Gomes was drafted with the 23rd overall pick of the 2018 NWSL College Draft out of Brigham Young University. The forward scored 23 goals with 23 assists in 83 appearances for the Cougars before entering the draft. The Portuguese native represented her country in the 2018 Algarve Cup, scoring her first international goal.
Elinsky was drafted by the Houston Dash this year out of the University of North Carolina with the final selection in the third round (30th overall). After playing in 20 games for the University of Illinois, where she made the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, the native of Rocky River, OH, scored three goals and accumulated five assists in 52 appearances for the Tar Heels. She played multiple midfield positions as well as defender during her college career. The Dash released Elinsky on March 10 and she has been training with the Pride as a nonroster invitee.
Creighton spent her first two collegiate years at the University of Tennessee, appearing in 27 games with three goals and two assists before transferring to the University of Central Florida. Over the remainder of her collegiate career, she scored three goals in 23 games with UCF.
The Brazilian trio joins Australians Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond who are already with their national team. Last week, the Pride signed UCF alumna Bridget Callahan as a National Team Replacement Player but she did not dress for the season opener last weekend. The three new signings will be available when the Pride take on the Washington Spirit on Saturday afternoon.