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Orlando Pride Waive Forward Abi Kim

Pride part ways with 2020 third-round pick.

NWSL: Orlando Pride at Chicago Red Stars Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Pride announced today that the club has waived forward Abi Kim, the team’s third-round pick (No. 26) overall in the 2020 NWSL Draft. Kim, who never managed to earn regular minutes with the Pride, is free to find another team.

“Abi has been a valuable part of our team and the locker room over the last two seasons and we are going to miss having her here in Orlando,” Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in a club press release. “We’d like to thank her for being not only a part of our club but, more importantly, the Orlando community. We wish her the best of luck in the next step of her career.”

The 24-year-old scored one goal and added two assists in 21 total appearances (all competitions). A product of the University of California-Berkeley, Kim made 11 NWSL regular-season appearances this season (three starts). She didn’t score a goal in league play but did register one assist and four key passes playing mostly off the bench.

During the pandemic, Kim went to Europe, where she played in six matches with Fiorentina, scoring one goal. She also scored a goal in an Italian Women’s Super Cup match. Orlando signed her on March 2, 2021 to a two-year deal with an additional club option year.

The timing of this move was tied to the league’s deadline to waive players, which was Tuesday, and the close of the NWSL trade window at 6 p.m. ET today. Rosters will be frozen for the remainder of the season tomorrow.

What It Means for Orlando

Kim was already struggling to get minutes with Orlando before the Pride acquired Ally Watt and Haley Bugeja, so it was unlikely that her playing time would be increasing through the end of the 2022 campaign. The forward had not even registered a shot attempt in 2022 in regular-season games and was a 69% passer. She won half her tackle attempts, but just 37.5% of her duels and only 20% of her aerial duels. Three of her eight cross attempts in open play were successful and she registered one clearance defensively.

By waiving Kim, she is free to catch on with another club — perhaps a return to Europe is in the cards. The Pride have coverage in Kim’s position and to be honest she wasn’t contributing a lot when she did get on the field. Her original deal would have expired at season’s end although the club could have opted to have her return in 2023. This move feels like a way to stay roster compliant and help Kim find more playing time elsewhere, while simultaneously continuing Fleming’s roster churn to rebuild the club.

To get 21 appearances in competitive matches out of a third-round draft pick is a good use of that particular asset, but, given her performances, it also speaks to the Pride’s roster and form over the last couple of seasons.

Ultimately, Pride fans should wish Kim well in the next step of her journey, but it shouldn’t affect the team on the field much as Orlando heads into the final six matches of the season.