The Orlando Pride concluded their outstanding business from the end of the 2021 season with today’s re-signing of midfielder Parker Roberts. The former University of Florida captain signed a two-year contract that will keep her with the club through 2023, with the Pride placing her on the supplemental roster for the upcoming season.
“I’m very pleased that Parker will continue to be a part of the Pride family for the foreseeable future,” Orlando Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in a club press release. “She joined us last year deep into the season, which is not an easy task for a rookie, yet showed a professionalism and desire to learn and develop, and that made the transition a successful one for her here. We’re all happy to see that the development has continued into preseason this year and look forward to seeing Parker go from strength to strength.”
The Pride signed Roberts on Aug. 26, 2021 when her college coach, Becky Burleigh, was the interim manager of the Pride. The club had to trade a fourth-round pick to Kansas City for her discovery rights before being able to sign her.
Roberts made only two appearances in 2021, coming off the bench for both of them and totaling only 22 minutes of playing time. She made her NWSL and Orlando Pride debut on Sept. 11 at home against Racing Louisville, logging just one minute in helping see out a 3-1 win. Her second appearance came in the Pride’s season finale, when she played 21 minutes against the Chicago Red Stars. She made no goal contributions or key passes but she did record one shot, which was on target, in the Chicago match. Roberts passed at a 58.3% rate, drew one foul while not conceding any, recorded one interception, and did not see any disciplinary cards from the referee in her first season in Orlando.
The 24-year-old former Gator made 65 appearances in college, scoring 13 goals and registering 10 assists. She notched five goals and five assists in her final season — both career highs (she also had five goals in junior season) — while being named to the All Southeastern Conference second team. Prior to her arrival in Gainesville, Roberts played at the University of Kansas in 2015, making 20 appearances in her freshman season, scoring three goals and adding an assist and making the Big 12 All-Freshman team. She was a three-time selection to both the All-Southeast Region and All-SEC teams.
In 2016, Roberts took part in the U-20 World Cup with the United States U-20 Women’s National Team, playing twice in the group stage, including a start against France.
What It Means for Orlando
This isn’t a deal to push the Pride over the top, but rather to strengthen the depth of the roster. All clubs need to have players in the developmental pipeline. Roberts has an opportunity to further her professional career and develop her skills.
The midfielder will get additional time to try to advance within the Pride’s ranks while serving as an additional practice player. The signing provides depth for Orlando’s midfield and likely at a low budgetary cost. Roberts obviously showed some potential in her brief time with the Pride last season to get an additional look, and a two-year commitment from the team shows that she’s rewarding the club’s faith in her.
By re-signing Roberts, the Pride have now inked all players who were offered new contracts at the end of the 2021 season and who still have their rights held by Orlando. Those players included midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard and goalkeeper Kaylie Collins. Other players who were offered new deals — Taylor Kornieck, Ali Riley, and Jade Moore — have departed the club.