The Orlando Pride began their first day of camp for the 2019 NWSL season today, revealing the club’s preseason roster and announcing that five players had signed new deals with the club. Goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer, defender Toni Pressley, midfielder Camila, and forwards Rachel Hill and Danica Evans all put pen to paper on new deals ahead of the 2019 campaign.
“We are happy to be bringing Haley, Toni, Camila, Rachel, and Danica back to Orlando this season,” Orlando Pride General Manager Erik Ustruck said in a club press release. “All five players have played an important piece in contributing to the club over their previous seasons and we expect all of them to play significant roles, both on and off the field, this upcoming year.”
“I am personally delighted that the players have signed for the new season,” Head Coach Marc Skinner added in the release. “We’re really excited to finally get started. From now on, it’s a matter of a collective effort to challenge and continually improve every day. It’s the start of something really exciting for everyone involved.”
From last season’s squad of 20, 10 had already had their options exercised and a further three, namely Ashlyn Harris, Alex Morgan and Shelina Zadorsky, had their rights allocated under federation player status. That left seven players out of contract, although the club had extended offers to all at the beginning of October. Since then, defender Monica declined to return, reportedly in pursuit of another club, while midfielder Christine Nairn was traded to Houston Dash last week. The only other departing player is Poliana who originally had her contract option picked up at the end of the season but was waived at the end of January so she could return to Brazil.
The signings mean that new Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner will officially have 17 senior players signed to his squad as it stands with the full preseason roster totaling 25 currently eligible to participate in camp. One of the signed players is Sydney Leroux, who is expected to miss much of the season due to pregnancy.
Of those who re-signed, 23-year-old forward Hill saw the most time on the pitch in 2018, making 21 appearances (seven starts) covering 813 minutes, and scoring four goals — three off the bench. Pressley, 28, made 11 appearances (10 starts), playing 813 minutes like Hill, and scoring one goal. Camila, 24, made only nine appearances (three starts) in her return from major reconstructive knee surgery and struggled, failing to score a goal or assist on one. Evans, 23, made five appearances, playing just 49 minutes without a goal or assist and only one shot attempt. Kopmeyer, 28, made three starts in goal, earning one clean sheet, one NWSL Save of the Week award, and conceding just two goals, making 14 saves, and stopping 88% of the shots she faced. She was 0-1-2 in her three starts.
In addition to the senior roster are two rookies, Erin Greening and Marisa Viggiano, who were selected by Skinner and Pride General Manager Erik Ustruck back in January, and a further six trialists: goalkeeper Lainey Burdett, defenders Alika Keene and Kim Reynolds, and midfielders Joanna Boyles, Bridget Callahan and Abby Elinsky. Callahan and Elinsky have been Pride international replacement players in the past. Elinsky made two appearances last season, tallying 32 minutes. Callahan played one minute in one NWSL appearance with the Pride in 2018.
Earlier this year the NWSL increased maximum roster sizes to 22 with a further four supplemental spots available to each team. Per NWSL rules, teams can commence training from March 4 and may submit a preseason list of up to 32 players eligible to participate in camp.
Of the roster, currently eight have not yet reported to camp, owing to international duty. These are U.S. internationals Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris (USA), Australians Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond, Canadian Shelina Zadorsky, England’s Chioma Ubogagu, and Brazilians Camila and Marta.
2019 Orlando Pride Preseason Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Ashlyn Harris (NYR), Haley Kopmeyer, Lainey Burdett (NRI).
Defenders (7): Alika Keene (NRI), Alanna Kennedy (NYR), Ali Krieger, Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Kim Reynolds (NRI), Shelina Zadorsky (NYR).
Midfielders (8): Kristen Edmonds, Emily van Egmond (NYR), Dani Weatherholt, Erin Greening (CDP), Marisa Viggiano (CDP), Joanna Boyles (NRI), Bridget Callahan (NRI), Abby Elinsky (NRI).
Forwards (7): Danica Evans, Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Camila Martins Pereira (NYR), Alex Morgan (NYR), Chioma Ubogagu (NYR), Marta Vieira da Silva (NYR).
CDP - 2019 NWSL College Draft pick.
NRI - Non-Roster Invitee.
NYR - Not Yet Reported to Camp.