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Orlando Pride Sign 2021 NWSL Draft Pick Kerry Abello

The 2021 third-round pick signs her first professional deal after returning to Penn State for a fifth season.

SOCCER: JUL 24 NWSL - OL Reign at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Orlando Pride have signed 2021 NWSL Draft selection Kerry Abello to a two-year contract. It’s the third signing of a draft pick in as many days after the club signed Mikayla Cluff on Wednesday and Julie Doyle yesterday. Abello will be placed on the team’s supplemental roster.

Abello was selected in the third round of the 2021 NWSL Draft with the 24th overall pick. Rather than joining the Pride last season, the 22-year-old defender decided to return to Penn State for a fifth season.

“We are excited to welcome Kerry to the City Beautiful and our club,” Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in a club press release. “We’ve kept a keen eye on Kerry since drafting her a year ago and are pleased that she will continue her development path here with us. Her versatility and history of playing across a number of positions at Penn State is an asset, while her natural left foot is a luxury that I’m sure many teams in our league would love to have. We are confident that she has a bright future ahead of her at this level.”

In her five college seasons, Abello made 91 appearances (69 starts), recording 17 goals and 10 assists. She’s a versatile player, listed as a defender/midfielder/forward by Penn State. In the attack, she put 19 of her 87 shots (21.8%) on target. In her most recent season, Abello made 17 appearances with 16 starts, recording two goals and one assist.

The Batavia, IL native was a part of three Big Ten Championship teams and won the Big Ten Tournament twice. She was named second team All-North Region her junior year and first team All-North Region her senior year. After being named third team All-Big Ten during her sophomore season, Abello was first team All-Big Ten in each of her final two collegiate years.

Internationally, the 5-foot-5 all-around player has played for the U.S. Women’s National Team at the U-14, U-15, U-17, U-18, and U-19 levels. However, her most recent appearance for her national side came in 2017.

What It Means for Orlando

While Abello doesn’t have one position in which she excels, her versatility provides opportunities for Amanda Cromwell to experiment with different formations. Despite her smaller size, she gets into good spots and will likely be used in multiple ways on the left side of the field.

The signing of Abello means that the Pride have now signed three of its four draft picks from 2021, with goalkeeper Kaylie Collins out of contract but holding an offer from Orlando for next season. Viviana Villacorta was signed last August and Cluff was signed Wednesday. The team has still yet to sign 2022 draftees Caitlin Cosme and Jada Talley.