The Orlando Pride announced this afternoon the signing of three National Team Replacement Players to mitigate some of the roster holes left by internationals who have departed to compete in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Alika Keene, Hana Kerner, and Taylor Porter will join the team for Saturday’s game against Utah Royals FC.
The league allows teams to sign these National Team Replacement Players to replace those on international duty without affecting the roster limit. The Pride have been hit hard by the loss of eight players to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which starts next month. The Pride are currently without Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger (all with the United States), Emily van Egmond and Alanna Kennedy (both with Australia), Marta and Camila (both with Brazil), and Shelina Zadorsky (Canada).
Keene, 25, played for the Harvard Crimson from 2012 to 2015, competing in 65 games with 58 starts. The defender helped Harvard keep seven clean sheets as a senior, and spent this past preseason with the Pride as a non-roster invitee. The Mount Dora native went to Eustis High School and represented Jamaica at the youth level, competing in World Cup qualifiers in 2012. Locally, she played with Florida Rush Soccer Club, helping her team make three final four appearances in State Cup. The 2011 Lake County Player of the Year will wear No. 29 for Orlando.
Kerner, 22, played collegiate soccer for the Virginia Cavaliers from 2015 to 2018, making 78 appearances with 27 starts, while recording one goal and eight assists. The defender has represented the United States at the U-18, U-19, and U-20 levels. Kerner helped Northern Highlands win four New Jersey state championships and notch two state records with an 88-game unbeaten streak and a 65-game win streak. The native of Upper Saddle River, NJ will wear No. 32 with the Pride.
Porter, 21, spent the last four years with the North Carolina State Wolfpack, taking part in 85 games with six goals and five assists. The San Diego native ranks in the top 10 on the school’s all-time list for career starts. She helped N.C. State finish in the Top 25 three times during her college career. The midfielder will wear jersey No. 31. Here’s what her college coach had to say about her:
“Taylor is a simple, solid two-may midfielder who gives you the same workmanlike performance every 90 minutes. She’s a blue collar player who does so many little things right and is the type of player which is so hard to find. She’ll be a valuable and effective player for us for four years.”
The three players will add much-needed depth as the Pride travel west this weekend to take on the Utah Royals. Orlando remains winless on the season and mired in dead last place in the nine-team NWSL, with a record of 0-5-1 and just one point after six matches.
Saturday night’s game is a rematch against Utah, which beat the Pride 1-0 in Orlando City Stadium on April 27. The game can be seen on the Yahoo! app or by clicking on the match page on the NWSL website.