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2021 NWSL Draft: Orlando Pride Select Penn State Forward Kerry Abello at No. 24

The Pride nab a versatile forward in the third round.

Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride used their third-round pick (No. 24 overall) to select versatile Penn State forward Kerry Abello. The fact that the Penn State website lists Abello as a forward/midfielder/defender should be an indication of her ability to adapt to wherever the team needs her play.

“When we looked at Kerry it was about meeting needs for the ability to change formations quickly,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said via Zoom between his team’s third- and fourth-round picks.

Skinner added that Abello has the ability to supply good aerial balls to the team’s forwards — Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, and Taylor Kornieck, specifically — to provide a threat in the air.

Over her three seasons at Penn State to date — there is no word yet on whether she plans to play her spring season before joining the Pride — Abello has appeared in 62 games (43 starts), scoring 15 goals with eight assists. She seems adept at getting into position to get looks at goal, tallying 73 shots in her 62 games.

During her three seasons at Penn State, the Batavia, IL native made two CoSIDA Academic All-America teams (2018, 2019), earned All-North region honors twice, was selected to All-Big Ten teams as a sophomore (2018) and junior (2019), and won two Big Ten Tournament Championships. She was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team twice and earned two Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors.

Abello was ranked No. 12 overall as a collegiate prospect and was rated as the No. 2 defender in the 2017 class by Top Drawer Soccer. She was named a three-time NSCAA All-American (2014-16).

What It Means for Orlando

With Abello it all comes down to where Orlando plays her. She can play multiple positions and the Pride have multiple needs. She’s not physically imposing at 5-foot-5 but seems to always find herself in good spots. Being able to play in multiple spots means Skinner will have more flexibility with his approach to formations.

Skinner said that even though new Pride General Manager takes an analytics approach to identifying players, that Abello and Orlando’s other drafted players also pass the eye test.

You can catch some brief glimpses of Abello in action and hear from her in this clip: