The Orlando Pride have traded the rights to left back Courtney Petersen and the club’s 2024 natural third-round draft pick to the Houston Dash, the club announced today. In return, the Pride receive $65,000 in Allocation Money and could net an additional $25,000 if certain conditions are met.
“We’re happy we were able to support Courtney’s transition to a club where she can continue her development as a player and where she’ll have the opportunity to immediately compete for playing time,” Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in a club press release. “We worked hard to get this deal done early in the year in order to provide her the time to get situated before the season starts. From the time the club drafted her back in 2020 through today, Courtney has been a true professional and wonderful teammate. We thank her for everything and wish her nothing but the best as she moves to Houston.”
Petersen initially joined the club as the seventh overall pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft from the University of Virginia. She started all four games in the 2020 NWSL Fall Series and was a regular starter during the 2021 season, playing in 22 of the Pride’s games, starting 21. Petersen began the 2022 season as a starter, but was eventually replaced by Kylie Strom.
In total, Petersen made 54 appearances (41 starts) for 3,891 minutes in all competitions during her three years in Orlando. She added one goal and four assists, primarily from the left back position.
What It Means for Orlando
Early in the 2022 season, it appeared Petersen would be crucial in the Pride’s rebuilding efforts. The 25-year-old was a regular starter in 2020, 2021, and at the start of 2022. However, she fell out of favor after Amanda Cromwell was suspended and Seb Hines took over as coach. She started the first two games under Hines, but didn’t rejoin the starting lineup until the final two games of the season.
The club played Petersen in the defensive midfield during the 2021 season and it appeared that might be her future in Orlando. However, Hines put Megan Montefusco in that position alongside Haley McCutcheon late last year, indicating there was no place for Petersen.
The club drafted a pair of center backs in the NWSL Draft and should be getting last year’s first-round pick Caitlin Cosme back after injury. As a result, Hines can play Montefusco more in the defensive midfield with McCutcheon, who recently signed a new contract, leaving no room for Petersen in that role.
Petersen was not under contract and had to be either re-signed or moved. The club announced it was still in discussions to bring the player back for 2023 after the 2022 season. As Orlando held her NWSL rights, a trade was necessary for her to move to a new club.
Unsurprisingly, the club gathered even more Allocation Money in return for Petersen. This off-season, Orlando has used Allocation Money to re-sign Marta and sign Brazilian international striker Adriana. It appears as though the Pride are building their spending space, potentially for another signing down the road.
In the meantime, the club and Petersen part ways, giving the player a fresh start with a new team and the club getting to move the project forward in a new direction that better suits Hines’ vision.