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Orlando Pride Waive Goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer

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The veteran spent two seasons in Orlando

SOCCER: JUN 30 NWSL - Chicago Red Stars at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Orlando Pride announced today that the club has waived veteran goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer. The Pride exercised their option on Kopmeyer after the 2019 season but she might have something else in mind — a move to Europe or retirement perhaps — based on the quote about “her decision to explore new opportunities” from the Pride’s press release.

“On behalf of everyone at Orlando Pride, we would like to thank Haley for her contributions throughout her time in Orlando,” Orlando Pride General Manager Erik Ustruck said. “Haley has given seven years of her life to growing women’s soccer and the NWSL. We respect her decision to explore new opportunities and we wish her the best of luck in her next chapter moving forward.”

Kopmeyer, 29, was acquired from the team known then as the Seattle Reign on Jan. 29, 2018, along with a third-round draft choice in 2019 in exchange for forward Jasmyne Spencer. In her two seasons in Orlando, Kopmeyer played in 13 matches — three in 2018 and 10 more in 2019. All 13 appearances were starts. She posted a record of 2-8-3, 61 saves, and one clean sheet with the Pride and won six NWSL Save of the Week awards.

In 2018, Kopmeyer appeared to be the best backup goalkeeper in the NWSL, playing well each time out and earning a season grade of 7.5 from The Mane Land staff. Her form wasn’t quite as strong — as with most of the team — and her final rating from the staff was a 4 for 2019. There were far too many miscues that led to easy goals, although certainly the goalkeeper was not solely at fault on several of those.

What It Means for Orlando

Kopmeyer’s departure will allow her to go find a starting job elsewhere (if that is her plan), as it was unlikely she’d be unseating Ashlyn Harris. However, Harris figures to be gone for a good chunk of the summer (again) with the USWNT at the Olympics. The Pride did not spend a draft selection on a goalkeeper. That leaves 23-year-old Lainey Burdett as the club’s current backup for Harris. Burdett has played one career game — a 3-0 loss to the Washington Spirit in which she faced 12 shots.

That is not to say the Pride can’t trade for someone with more experience. Marc Skinner could sign a new backup keeper or stick with Burdett. He’ll need to bring in a new body for when Harris is gone simply for training purposes. Any way you look at it, the Pride’s goalkeeper position is less secure than it was with the veteran Kopmeyer as insurance for Harris’ absences.