The Orlando Pride have bolstered their back line. The club announced today the signing of England international defender Amy Turner to a two-year contract with an option for an additional season. The former Manchester United was signed using allocation money. While she has four caps with England, she is not on Great Britain’s roster for the upcoming Olympics.
“Amy is a player we identified early in our recruitment process for this season who could add more quality in a key position for us, allowing us to both strengthen the way we play now, while opening opportunities for more tactically flexible play moving forward,” Orlando Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in a club press release. “Amy’s body of work as a professional speaks for itself — she’s fought her way up the English tiers of football and played for some of the biggest clubs in the world — and now she’ll challenge herself again by playing in the most competitive league in the world as a member of the Pride. We’re thrilled to bring her to Orlando.”
“I’m excited to be here,” Turner said. “I think it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to come and play in this league. I’d played in England around 10 years, so I felt like it was time for change, you know, put myself out of my comfort zone. I think sometimes that’s a way of getting better, of learning, of experiencing new things, and as soon as I knew Orlando Pride were interested, I jumped at the chance, really. I’m really grateful to be here and I can’t wait to get started.”
The 29-year-old Turner, a native of Sheffield, England, spent nearly three years with Manchester United after joining the Red Devils ahead of their inaugural season in July of 2018. She made 67 appearances with United, scoring four goals. She previously played briefly with Manchester United rival Liverpool during the 2017 season after four years with Notts County from 2013-2016. During her time at Notts County, Turner appeared in 75 matches in all competitions and was shortlisted for the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year award in 2015.
Turner made her FA Women’s Premier League debut at age 16 with Doncaster before attending Hofstra University in 2009. Upon her return to England in 2011, she played with Leeds United and Sheffield in the WPL National and WPL Northern, respectively.
In international competition, Turner has represented England at the the U-23 and senior national team levels, earning her first call-up to the English Women’s National Team for the 2015 Cyprus Cup. She earned her first international cap against Australia in March of 2015 and has made four appearances for England’s senior team.
“I think (the Pride are) hoping for some defensive stability,” Turner said of the signing. “As a player I try and pride myself on doing the basics right defensively, and doing those consistently every week.”
What It Means for Orlando
While the Pride’s defense has been vastly improved so far in 2021, it’s never bad to add more talent and experience. Marc Skinner has not shown much willingness to rotate his starting back line players unless forced to do so due to availability. Turner will provide more depth, which in turn should provide Skinner with more confidence.
Turner appears to have the mobility needed to play in a back line of three, allowing some flexibility in formation. She may also be able to play outside, which can provide coverage during Ali Riley’s upcoming Olympic absence.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Turner can adjust to her new Pride teammates and acclimate to the NWSL so she can start contributing. Here’s a look at what she can do: