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Orlando Pride Sign First-Round Draft Choice Midfielder Taylor Kornieck

The highest selection in Pride history has signed a one-year deal with a club option for a second year.

Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride have signed their 2020 No. 3 overall draft pick, midfielder Taylor Kornieck, to a one-year contract with an option for an additional year. Kornieck was the highest selection the team has made in the draft in the Pride’s brief history.

“We are very happy to come to terms with Taylor before the start of the season,” Orlando Pride General Manager Erik Ustruck said in a club press release. “Taylor is obviously a player we rate very highly, having traded up to get her in this year’s draft, and we are optimistic about the new dimension she will bring to the Pride midfield. We’re excited to sign a young, dynamic player like Taylor that has the ability to instantly contribute to building the future of our club.”

To trade up and take Kornieck, the Pride sent Rachel Hill, allocation money, the 19th pick in this year’s draft, and next year’s first-round draft pick to the Chicago Red Stars. Orlando also received the No. 26 selection in January’s draft, which the club used to select California forward Abi Kim.

The 6-foot-1 Kornieck, a two-time United Soccer Coaches All-American, played 82 games for Colorado in 2019, starting all of them. She scored 39 goals and grabbed 24 assists in her four years. She also managed 15 game-winning goals, and went a perfect nine for nine from the penalty spot. She is Colorado’s all-time leader in points.

The midfielder won a plethora of honors during her collegiate career. In 2016 she was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, was named to the First-Team All-Pac 12, and Top Drawer Soccer Freshman Best XI first team. In 2017 and 2018 she was on the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List — she made that list three consecutive years — and she also made the ESPNW Player of the Year watch List in 2018.

Kornieck is the third player the Pride have drafted out of Colorado, joining Danica Evans and Erin Greening as Buffaloes who were picked by Orlando.

She also has experience in the youth national team setup. Kornieck captained the Under-18 USWNT in 2016. She played in six matches for the U-19 and U-20 national teams in 2019, and racked up a goal and two assists in those games. She did not compete in 2018 because of injury.

What it means for Orlando

The Pride selected a league high seven players in the 2020 NWSL College Draft and Kornieck is the first to sign. With the club acquiring Emily Sonnett and Ali Riley this off-season it will be interesting to see how many of the four defenders drafted will be signed.

Kornieck is described as a physical midfielder who is dominant in the air. This certainly plays into Marc Skinner’s philosophy and she can be a regular in the midfield. With many of the international players missing time this summer because of the Olympics, she could be thrown into the starting lineup rather quickly.

Here of some highlights of Kornieck: