The Orlando Pride announced today that the club has re-signed defender Toni Pressley to a one-year contract with the option for an additional year. It was the Pride’s second defender signed this week after Orlando inked right back Carrie Lawrence to a similar deal on Tuesday.
“Toni is an amazing person who I’m delighted we have re-signed to play with the Pride,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said in a club press release. “She possesses many top level skills and attributes that can serve us well as we aim to bring success to the team. In addition to her on field talent, her influence in the locker room and the respect she has from everyone at the club makes her an excellent fit to help us achieve our aspirations.”
The 30-year-old native of nearby Melbourne has been with Orlando since the team’s inaugural season. She was the eighth of nine picks by the Pride in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft, coming over from the Houston Dash.
Pressley has made 90 NWSL appearances across all competitions, with 57 of those coming with the Pride (46 starts) in the regular season. She also started and played the full 90 minutes in Orlando’s lone playoff game. In five seasons with Orlando, Pressley has scored three goals with one assist. Defensively, she is Orlando’s career leader in blocks (36) and clearances (218).
During the 2020 NWSL Fall Series, Pressley appeared in all four matches, starting three and playing 291 minutes. She led the Pride in blocks (4) and passing accuracy in the defensive half (87.8%, with an overall passing rate of 75.6%), and finished second in clearances (24).
Pressley was one of eight Pride players offered a new contract following the 2020 season. One of those players, Alanna Kennedy, was selected by Racing Louisville in the NWSL Expansion Draft. Now she has signed her deal and will remain with the Pride in 2021.
What it Means for Orlando
Pressley’s signing was important as the club will be without Shelina Zadorsky for at least the near future. Zadorsky signed through the end of the 2020-2021 season with Tottenham earlier today. If the Canadian does return to the NWSL after the WSL season, it won’t be until after May 9 and the Pride’s season is expected to get underway in mid-May after the team competes in the mid-April NWSL Challenge Cup.
The Pride waived Julie King and Morgan Reid after the 2020 season. Ali Krieger and Konya Plummer are the only other center backs currently on the team, so it’s likely Orlando will address the position even if Zadorsky returns in May.
In addition to Kennedy in the expansion draft, the Pride parted ways with Emily Sonnett via trade just before Christmas. Sonnett is a versatile player who has played both center back and fullback in her career. Center back will be an area Skinner will need to address heading into training camp and the NWSL Challenge Cup in April.