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Here Comes Haley

The Orlando Pride has signed Maltese forward Haley Bugeja (boo-JAE-yuh) through the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season. Bugeja is one of the most promising young forwards in global soccer and joins the Pride from Italian Serie A side US Sassuolo. She was recently named No. 3 on GOAL.com’s NXGN 2022: The 20 best wonderkids in women’s football, her second-consecutive year on the least and was ranked No. 15 on ESPN’s 21 Best Women Players 21 or Under. Bugeja will join following the receipt of a P-1 visa and ITC. 

International Round Up

The Pride are coming off an international break with many of their players making appearances for their respective countries. Orlando defender Kerry Abello and midfielder Mikayla Cluff both were called up to the U-23 United States Women’s National Team as they played in the Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament against India and Sweden. Abello scored for the U23s in the 77th minute on their way to a 3-0 victory over Sweden. 

Pride midfielder Gunny Jónsdóttir got the start in Iceland’s friendly against Poland, which served as a warm up for the UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022, while Orlando midfielder Angharad James got the start for Wales in their friendly against New Zealand. Jónsdóttir remains away with Iceland through the duration of the EURO tournament. 

Let’s Get Festive

Sunday’s match at the DAYTONA SoccerFest will serve as the first NWSL match to be played at an American racetrack. The Pride will face off against Racing Louisville FC as part of the two-day event. Over the weekend the event will host a match between Colombian Champion Deportivo Cali and crosstown rival America de Cali, a Legends Game as well as a concerts from Latin Grammy Award-winner Rauw Alejandro, latin artist Adassa, and Chance the Rapper. The event will culminate with the Pride versus Louisville match and a post game fireworks show. 

How The Grass Grows

Measuring at 110 meters by 70 meters, the construction of Sunday’s pitch on the trioval was no small feat. Where typically builds take 4-6 weeks, the Daytona pitch was put together in a week by a crew of nearly 50 people working around the clock. Led by Torneos, the field cost over $1 million to construct with state-of-the-art lasers and robots used to make sure everything was perfect. 

Keeping Up Cosme

Ahead of the Portland match, rookie defender Caitlin Cosme was taken off of the disabled list after having been out since the start of preseason. While she did not appear in the 20 in the northwest, the Duke product was eligible for selection for the first time this season. During her time in Durham, the 2022 No. 10 draft pick appeared in 70 matches, 62 of which were starts, scoring 10 goals and adding an assist. 

50 Years of Title IX

The NWSL, along with all 12 clubs, have recently joined the Demand IX campaign to support stronger Title IX protections and enforcement. The purpose of the campaign is to combine individual Title IX Anniversary into one movement to amplify the Title IX message and allow for public involvement. The NWSL will highlight the efforts of their clubs and teams to create a fair and equitable workspace through a series hosted by league sideline reporter Marisa Pilla. 

Milestone Tracker

  • Erin McLeod’s next shutout will be the 10th of her NWSL regular-season career. 
  • Meggie Dougherty Howard is nine appearances away from 100 across NWSL regular season competitions.
  • Erika Tymrak is six appearances away from 150 across NWSL regular season competitions.
  • Megan Montefusco is two appearances away from 150 across all NWSL competitions.