Orlando Pride and Brazilian international defender Mônica took to Instagram today to announce her departure from the club prior to the start of the 2019 season. The 31-year-old, who has been with the Pride for all three seasons and made 53 appearances in purple (52 regular season and one playoff match), was one of seven players offered a contract option at the end of last season. The remaining 13 players of the 20-strong squad had either already seen their contract picked up or were federation allocated players.
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It took me a little while to write this to you all because I did not know how to say bye to my purple family. When I came here, the love was instant, from people who did not even know me at the time. I lived some of the best moments of my life here, in Orlando. Here, I was treated as a professional and received from you all daily support and love that I could have never dreamed of. However, unfortunately, this year I will not be part of the purple warriors on the field but I am very happy for all those years I spent here. I am very grateful to all of you who in a certain way helped me and followed me during this time... friends, family and you, my beloved fans, thank you! I hope to come back soon, our journey did not come to an end yet. valeu @obsplayers ✅mais uma etapa concluída... #obsplayer #purple #thecrow #pridescrown #ourcityourpride #orlando #futfem #womensoccer #dreams #grateful #gratidao
Mônica is the second player to depart the club following the appointment of new Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner, with fellow Brazilian defender Poliana, who had originally seen her contract option picked up, being waived at the end of January.
Alongside a heartfelt video in which she captions the bond she has made both within the squad and the wider Orlando Pride community, she said:
“I lived some of the best moments of my life here, in Orlando. Here, I was treated as a professional and received from you all daily support and love that I could have never dreamed of. However, unfortunately, this year I will not be part of the purple warriors on the field but I am very happy for all those years I spent here.”
In her three seasons in Orlando, Mônica did not score a goal or record an assist. She attempted only 14 shots (four on target) in her three years in the NWSL. She led the team’s defenders in passing accuracy the last two seasons, at better than 82% both years.
Per Jordan Culver, the Brazilian has chosen to sign with another team. It’s possible she was simply offered a better deal to play elsewhere, although it isn’t known whether Orlando was given an opportunity to match it, or if the club was willing to do so if that was the case.
Monica set to leave the Pride. Told by the club she has elected to sign with another team. She was out of contract and free to do so. https://t.co/Aa5ky9HOvm— Jordan Culver (@JordanCulver) February 18, 2019
Seven players have recently finished competing in the Australian W-League and, coupled with the long period between Tom Sermanni’s departure and the arrival of Skinner, a slow start to preseason will not have been the Englishman’s ideal scenario. But it now appears at least things are starting to ramp up.
Danica Evans, Rachel Hill, Haley Kopmeyer, Camila, Christine Nairn, and Toni Pressley all had contract offers extended to them, although, as shown with Mônica, that does not necessarily mean they will sign.
Nevertheless it has been a pleasure to watch a tenacious defender like Mônica give her all during her time with the Pride and we wish her all the success with her future endeavors, likely including this summer’s World Cup with Brazil.