The Orlando Pride announced today that the club has signed midfielder Thais Reiss through the remainder of the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season. The 22-year-old has been training with the club since the preseason, joining the team as a non-roster invitee this past February, and has apparently shown the Pride enough to warrant a contract for the rest of this season.
“Thais has shown a great amount of patience and perseverance over the course of this season, and she has fully earned this contract with the work that she has put in on the training pitch every day,” Orlando Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in a club press release. “We are excited to have her available to play now and look forward to having another high potential young player make their professional debut as a member of the Pride.”
The native of Curitiba, Brazil and University of North Florida product was a four-time ASUN (formerly the Athletic Sun Conference) All-Conference first team selection while with the Ospreys between 2018 and 2021, as well as the 2020 ASUN Player of the Year. Reiss made 77 appearances (73) starts in her UNF career, scoring 42 goals — second most in school history — to go along with 18 assists.
On the international stage, Reiss has represented Brazil at the U-17 and U-20 levels, including at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan, where her team finished third in Group C, and the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France, with Brazil finishing fourth in Group B.
Reiss will wear No. 30 for Orlando and could be available for selection for acting coach Seb Hines when the Pride visit the Chicago Red Stars tomorrow at 6 p.m.
What It Means for Orlando
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like the kind of signing that will do much more than provide depth in the Pride’s midfield and it will require the use of an international slot to do so. While it’s good to see a practice player rewarded with a contract, this is a player that didn’t show quite enough in preseason to earn one, so it’s not likely to move the needle for a club that could use some quality reinforcements. However, the club is handcuffed at the moment in terms of being able to make roster moves while the investigation into potential league policy violations by Head Coach Amanda Cromwell and Assistant Coach Sam Greene is ongoing. While the league reportedly froze the Orlando roster, Reiss was already with the club, so this signing was likely either met with no resistance or was in the works prior to the announcement about Cromwell and Greene.
The Pride jettisoned several players in the off-season — primarily veterans — to gain roster flexibility and hit the reset button, but the club did not sufficiently replace those players. Watching those departed players performing well and finding success elsewhere is difficult and underlines just how badly the Pride have flubbed their lines in terms of team-building in recent years. Alex Morgan, one of the Pride’s first signings, was just named NWSL Player of the Month for May with San Diego, and former Orlando draft pick Taylor Kornieck, who is playing with Morgan for the Wave, was also on the NWSL Team of the Month. Meanwhile, the Pride have shown good fight in matches but still seem to lack matching talent position-by-position with the teams they play against.
The signing of Reiss may fill a need, particularly with the injuries and illnesses the club has suffered over the early part of the 2022 season, and it could be in preparation for a departure that may take place as soon as the roster freeze is lifted. But it isn’t likely a move that will change the trajectory of the 2022 NWSL season and the club didn’t commit to Reiss beyond 2022, so this signing feels like nothing more than a chance to see if Reiss is an NWSL-level player.