The Orlando Pride began their 2023 NWSL Draft by selecting defender Emily Madril in the first round with the third overall pick. The former Florida State center back is the eighth first-round selection in Pride history and the first to come from a Florida school.
The 5-foot-7 Navarre, FL native decided to forego her last season of eligibility in Tallahassee to begin her professional career. Madril was a regular in the Seminoles’ starting lineup during her 2017 freshman season, playing in 21 games (starting 20), recording 1,652 minutes, with one goal and four assists. Unfortunately, she suffered back-to-back ACL tears, which saw her miss the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Madril returned to the field for her sophomore season in 2020, playing in 16 games (all starts), recording 1,489 minutes, and scoring two goals. Her best season was in 2021, when she played in 25 games (all starts), logging 2,306 minutes while scoring three goals and adding three assists.
During her time at Florida State, Madril was a two-time national champion (2018 and 2021), was named to the All-ACC Second Team in 2020, and was a member of the College Cup All-Tournament Team twice (2020 and 2021). During her final season, she was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and was selected to the ACC All-Tournament Team and the All-ACC First Team, and was a First Team All-American selection by the United Soccer Coaches.
After deciding not to return to Florida State for her last season of eligibility, Madril signed a contract with the National Women’s Soccer League through 2025 and was loaned to Swedish side BK Hacken FF.
What It Means for Orlando
Madril played center back during her college career, which makes this a good pick for the Pride. She joins fellow young center backs Caitlin Cosme, who was a first-round selection in 2022, and Carrie Lawrence, who played center back for much of the 2022 NWSL season.
The pick gives new Head Coach Seb Hines the flexibility to play Megan Montefusco as a defensive midfielder, where she played late in the 2022 season. Despite her position, Madril showed in college that she’s willing to go forward into the attack. It remains to be seen whether she’ll partner with Lawrence or Cosme this upcoming season, or if she’ll need some time to break into the starting lineup, but this pick fills a need for the Pride.
Here’s a look at some highlights from the Pride’s first-round selection: