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Orlando Pride Sign First-Round Pick Caitlin Cosme

The former Duke defender inks a two-year deal with the Pride.

Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

The Orlando Pride locked up their remaining top selection in the 2022 NWSL Draft with today’s signing of defender Caitlin Cosme to a two-year contract. The former Duke Blue Devil was the Pride’s second selection in the first round (No. 10 overall) in this year’s draft.

“We are all excited to bring Caitlin into the fold at the club,” Orlando Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in a club press release. “She is a young player who impressed us with the maturity of her leadership at Duke, highlighted by her communication and the way that she holds both herself and her teammates accountable on the pitch. She is positionally sound and has the technical ability and vision to distribute out of her own half — key qualities which will help her make the leap to the pros. We are looking forward to working with Caitlin now and in the years to come.”

Orlando moved up to select the 22-year-old Cosme on draft day, sending center back Phoebe McClernon to OL Reign in exchange for the No. 10 overall pick, the Reign’s natural 2023 second-round pick, and two players to be named later — fullback Celia Jimenéz Delgado and forward Leah Pruitt.

“This is an amazing opportunity and I am so grateful that Orlando has watched me over the seasons and took a chance on me,” Cosme said on draft day about getting picked by the Pride. “I’m excited. I know I’ve been in Orlando Stadium once for a Final Four and it was incredible.

“I think fans can just look forward to someone with a voice. I’m really in your face. I like to push other people. And I’m young and I’m just looking forward to being a sponge, getting as much information as I can, and learning anything that I can. This team has a lot of greats on it and a lot of players with experience, and I’m just excited. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

During her time at Duke, Cosme made 70 appearances (62 starts), contributing 10 goals and an assist. She led her team in minutes played (1,829) during the 2021 season and was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Atlantic Region first team in 2020.

The New Hyde Park, NY native only played in five games before her junior year, when she became a standout at one of the top women’s college soccer programs in the country.

On the international level, Cosme has represented the United States at the U-14 and U-15 levels.

What It Means for Orlando

The signing of Cosme gives the Pride four center backs, as she joins presumed starters Amy Turner and Megan Montefusco and backup Toni Pressley. Cosme won’t have the pressure to step in right away but can learn the ropes of being professional while competing for playing time. However, with only two proven central defenders, this is still an area of concern for Orlando, especially if one or more players pick up an injury.

The only remaining unsigned 2022 draft selection is third-round pick Jada Talley, a forward taken at No. 31 overall.