Monday afternoon the Orlando Pride took part in the 2015 NWSL Expansion Draft where they selected nine players that will make up much of the team’s roster for their inaugural season. But with some spots still left to fill, the front office’s attention now turns to building the rest of the roster.
With the pre-draft acquisitions of Alex Morgan, Kaylyn Kyle and Sarah Hagen, plus the nine players selected on Monday, the Orlando Pride currently have 12 players on their roster. That means the team has room to add six to eight more players before the start of the season. So how will Orlando go about building the rest of the squad? They’ll start on the international level.
Each NWSL team gets four international spots (players without American citizenship or a green card) on their squad. Currently Orlando has only two players that are not American citizens. Thankfully, neither of those two will occupy one of these spots. Kaylyn Kyle is a Canadian allocated player and English midfielder Lianne Sanderson holds a green card, exempting both of them from this designation. That means Orlando Pride will have a lot of freedom to pursue overseas talent in the coming months.
“We’re looking at international players and American players who might want to come back from playing oversees,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said during the team’s post-draft press conference. “So we’re kind of looking everywhere.”
One major challenge in this approach is the wealth of international responsibility that comes with some of the worlds premier players.
"World Cup years and Olympic years are really disruptive for the women's teams,” Sermanni explained. “In the women's game, the national team is big priority, so they tend to be with the national team even more than male players. So it's trying to get the balance right where, ideally, we would be able to pick up the best players that don’t have heavy national team commitments.”
Another chance for Orlando to build their roster will be through the 2016 NWSL College Draft in January. Orlando Pride have the top picks in the second, third, and fourth round.
It’s been a whirlwind for the Orlando Pride since the team’s announcement on October 20. Just two weeks later the newest NWSL team has filled more than half of what will be their inaugural roster. Over the next couple of months, more of the roster will be compiled until all spots are filled leading to the start of the Orlando Pride’s inaugural NWSL season in April.