Orlando, FL- -Less than a month after their announcement, the Orlando Pride have wasted no time in making a splash in the Orlando community. Today the team announced during a press conference held in downtown Orlando, that the team had acquired U.S. Women’s National Team player Alex Morgan and Canadian international Kaylyn Kyle from Portland Thorns FC, and U.S. international Sarah Hagen from FC Kansas City.
The announcement comes just one day after Alex Morgan and the US National team’s “Victory Tour” made a stop in Orlando for a match against Brazil. In ironic fashion, Morgan scored the first goal of the match, which sent the crowd into a frenzy after speculation of Morgan making the move to Orlando was making waves in the media in the days leading up to the match.
To acquire Morgan and Kyle, Orlando sent the rights to their first Expansion Draft selection and their 1st round selection in the 2016 College Draft to the Portland Thorns FC. In addition, Portland receives two international spots for Orlando, with one being used in each the 2015 and 2016 season.
The trade that brought Hagen from Kansas City FC included an exchange of draft picks in the NWSL College Draft. Orlando City received Kansas City’s 2nd round selection for the 2016 draft and Kansas City receives Orlando’s second round selection in the 2017 NWSL College draft.
This sets the Pride’s foundation up for success with the acquisition of these three talented players. They will be coached by Tom Sermmani, who spent time as the manager for both the US and Australian National teams.
Tom had no hand in bringing Alex and Kaylyn to Orlando, he said the deal was done before his arrival.
“To be honest that deal was actually done prior to me coming. You know things happen really really quickly, so those discussions had already been initiated prior to me coming to the club. So that was with Alex and Kaylyn. And then the opportunity to bring Sarah happened after I arrived with the Club.” Said Sermmani.
There were about 200+ fans that packed into the Abbey to hear the announcement. Their energy was felt throughout the press conference, especially when team Owner & President Phil Rawlins asked the crowd if they could fill the bowl for the Pride’s inaugural match. After the presser, Rawlins expressed confidence in those words.
“Well I was a little bit tongue and cheek. I’m not sure that we’ll be able to get 60,000 out for the first game, but we can certainly have a great crowd, a record crowd maybe for NWSL game’s at our opening game. I think that’s certainly very viable because this has created a lot of buzz and a lot of excitement in the Central Florida Soccer community.
“If I’m being honest, it’s a dream come true it’s amazing. Just to see the Orlando City team here and what they did with that team in just a year, it’s phenomenal. The fan support here of the club it’s just unbelievable. It looks like this team has been around for ages.” Says Kyle, “For them to be so confident in bringing in a woman’s team in, and to be part of that as one of the first players is just amazing. But now it’s to make a name for it. Win championships, win leagues, win games. So I think for me it’s just focusing on the 2016 season.”
Only time will tell what the future holds for the Orlando Pride, but as with all the teams that are a part of the Orlando City Soccer Club, the future looks bright and promising.