The Orlando Pride have closed all old business by re-signing Australian international defender/midfielder Alanna Kennedy. Terms of the contract were not announced.
“After playing such an important role in our success last year, we’re absolutely delighted to bring Alanna back for the upcoming season,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said in a club press release. “Alanna is the type of player who can change a game and whose versatility will, again, be extremely valuable for our squad. We wish her the best of luck in her upcoming matches with Australia and can’t wait to have her back with us in Orlando.”
Kennedy, 23, was acquired in a trade with the North Carolina Courage in January of 2017. Orlando sent first-ever draft pick Sam Witteman to the Courage in the exchange. Kennedy appeared in all 24 regular-season matches and in the Pride’s first-ever playoff game in 2017, switching from center back to midfield, where she became an integral part of Sermanni’s squad.
She earned a solid grade of 7.5 from The Mane Land in our 2017 season player reviews, scoring four goals to finish tied for third on the club, adding one assist. Her 2,101 minutes played were second only to Ali Krieger for Orlando last season. She was also selected to the NWSL Team of the Month in September and was an NWSL Goal of the Week winner in Week 22 as well, for this set-piece strike:
Kennedy took 32 shots (10 on target), passed at a 75% rate, and had the third-most touches on the team (1,470). She was also third on the team in clearances (80), committed 22 fouls while drawing 19, and earned three yellow cards on the season.
The Australian international started and played the full 90 minutes in Orlando’s playoff game at Portland and scored the Pride’s first postseason goal in the loss to the Thorns. She took three shots in that match (one on target), created one scoring chance, and connected on 79% of her passes.
Prior to joining the Pride, Kennedy played for the Western New York Flash (now the North Carolina Courage) in her first NWSL season, appearing in 15 matches and helping lead the team to the 2016 NWSL championship.
A stalwart in Australia’s W-League, Kennedy was Sydney FC’s Player of the Year in 2016, appearing in the Premiership and Grand Final as a member of the Perth Glory in 2014, and winning a W-League title in 2013 with Sydney FC. Most recently, Kennedy helped lead Melbourne City FC to the 2017-18 championship — the team’s third straight title win.
Kennedy played in both the 2016 Summer Olympics and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup with Australia, reaching the quarterfinals in both tournaments. She earned her first national team call-up for the Matildas under Sermanni in 2012. Since then, Kennedy has remained a regular member of the team and will battle for third place in the 2018 Algarve Cup tomorrow against Portugal. She helped the Aussies win the 2017 Tournament of Nations against three of the world’s top 10 teams, including No. 1 U.S.A. and then-ranked No. 6 Japan and No. 8 Brazil.
Kennedy and Matildas teammate Emily van Egmond, will join the Pride following the conclusion of Australia’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying, which runs April 6-20 in Jordan.