The Orlando Pride finally opened up the vault and made a withdrawal. The club announced today that it has acquired Brazil national team attacker Adriana Leal da Silva (commonly known simply as Adriana, but nicknamed “the wizard”) on a transfer from São Paulo-based Brazilian side Corinthians. The Pride used Allocation Money for both the signing and the transfer, inking Adriana to a three-year contract that runs through the 2025 season. Her arrival is pending the receipt of her P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate.
“Adriana is an exciting, dynamic, and entertaining player with an eye for the goal,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines said in a club press release. “She possesses great technical ability and an incredible work rate, and we’re extremely happy to have her as part of the Pride. She’s a player that thrives in one-on-one situations and one that will bring new attacking power to our front line. Adriana is already a winner for club and country but still has an ambition to take her career to the next level, and we’re happy to have her do so here in Orlando.”
“I am very happy to have signed with Orlando Pride, a special club,” Adriana said in the club’s release. “I am happy and excited to arrive there quickly and be able to do my best on the field to help Orlando win titles. It’s a big challenge ahead and we athletes are motivated by challenges. I’m ready to face all of them with all our strength as a team and fight tooth-and-nail. I hope it’s a very successful season for myself and for Orlando. Again, I am very happy to be part of this great club.”
The 26-year-old forward arrives from Corinthians, where she’s been since 2018, scoring 72 goals in 143 appearances (120 starts). Her goal total is the second most in the club’s history. She led Corinthians to 10 titles and the club went 116-9-18 in matches in which she played. Together, Adriana and Corinthians won Brazilian titles in 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022, the 2021 Copa Libertadores, the Paulista Championship three straight years (2019-2021), and both the Brazilian Super Cup and Paulista Cup last season. Adriana was named the Brazilian Football Confederation Player of the Year in 2018 and was named to the confederation’s Team of the Year in 2021 and 2022
Before joining Corinthians, Adriana signed with Rio Preto Esporte Clube, where she scored seven goals in 20 games in 2016-2017. She began her professional career with Tiradentes in 2013, scoring four times in 14 appearances.
On the international stage, the native of União, Piauí, Brazil has been receiving call-ups from the Brazilian national team since 2017, earning 34 caps and scoring 12 goals. She was supposed to play for Brazil in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup but missed the event due to an injury.
She scored her second-ever international goal at Exploria Stadium in the 2021 SheBelieves Cup on Feb. 18, 2021 in a 4-1 win over Argentina.
Make that 3 for Brazil! Adriana with a powerful run and finish! pic.twitter.com/fZevXYzfRe— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 18, 2021
Her new club teammate, Marta, opened the scoring that day for the Brazilians from the penalty spot. Adriana must like places called “Orlando” because two more of her international goals came in Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sept. 2 and 5, 2022 in a pair of friendlies against South Africa.
What It Means for Orlando
Obviously this is a huge signing for the Pride. Adriana will join Marta in leading Orlando’s attack. She will be expected to start and produce for the team. She’s in the prime of her career and provides a dynamic presence both on the ball and with her off-the-ball movement. If the Pride can play with balance and connect the lines, Adriana should provide goals and assists in 2023.
With the club not able to land Debinha this off-season, it is unknown at this time if Adriana was always an additional planned signing — which would indeed have been tantalizing — or if this is simply a case of the club finding an alternative choice. Either way, this shows a level of ambition that is new since the club’s rebuild started, and it is objectively good to see. Pride fans should be encouraged by this signing.
If it seems a long time since the club started piling up Allocation Money, it’s because a year is a long time in the sports world. The big chunk from the Alex Morgan trade ($275,000) was announced in December of 2021 — 13 months ago that somehow feels like at least twice that.
While the club didn’t announce the amount of Allocation Money spent, there is likely still a considerable amount left in the club’s coffers to make use of later.