Just a day after announcing that Toni Pressley is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, the Orlando Pride filled the roster slot by adding veteran defender Julie King. The former Boston Breakers defender will join the team immediately, and the Pride announced that she will be available for Saturday’s match against the Houston Dash. Per team and league policies, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are excited to have Julie join us, as she is both an experienced player and knows the NWSL very well,” Orlando Pride General Manager Erik Ustruck said. “Not only does her addition add some needed depth to our backline, but Julie’s personality and leadership fits perfectly into the culture we are looking to build here in Orlando. We are very happy to have her as a member of the Club.”
The 29-year-old was most recently with the defending champion North Carolina Courage, who selected her with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL Dispersal Draft from the Boston Breakers. However, King did not play any games for North Carolina, due in large part to a pair of ankle surgeries. King, who was waived by the Courage on July 18, played five NWSL seasons from 2013-2017, scoring six goals and adding three assists. King was the Breakers’ all-time leader in appearances, playing 95 NWSL games with Boston. She scored her first goal and added an assist on April 27, 2014, in a 3–2 win at home over Sky Blue FC.
A 2011 graduate of Auburn University, King made 89 appearances with the Tigers (87 starts), was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year following her senior year, and made the All-SEC Team in each of her final two seasons.
What it Means for Orlando
King is a low-risk signing who fills a need with the club as a result of Pressley’s illness. She has the potential to be a valuable addition but for the short term can at least provide depth on Orlando’s back line. If she has fully recovered from the ankle injury, she could challenge for a starting position in 2020 if the Pride keep her on the roster. However, this seems more likely to be a temporary depth addition to cover for Pressley’s absence.
At any rate, it’s a wise move by the Pride to quickly fill the roster slot with Pressley on the Disabled List.
The Pride will host the Houston Dash at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at Exploria Stadium.