It was a very quick draft for the Orlando Pride in this year's NWSL Draft. The team had only one pick this year, the 23rd overall and 3rd in the third round. With still multiple talented players left to choose from, the Pride opted to go with a player the coaching staff highly regarded in Brigham Young forward Nadia Gomes. Team captain for BYU and a four-year player for the Cougars, Gomes scored 22 goals and notched 22 assists in her time in college. "I'm still shaking. I'm really excited," she said after coming off the draft stage, still in shock after hearing her name called.
Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni couldn't have been more thrilled with the pick he was able to make. "Considering we were picking at 23, we were really delighted with being able to get Nadia," he said. "She was one of the players we had earmarked and we thought she would go much higher so we didn't have a great deal of hope in getting her, so we were delighted she was still there."
With Gomes being listed as a forward, questions immediately arose of how she would be able to fit into a team stacked with seven listed forwards already on the roster. For both Gomes and Sermanni, being listed as a forward doesn't set in stone where she will line up on the field.
"I'm good to play wherever the coach needs me," Gomes said. "I prefer forward always, but I'm good wherever."
Sermanni jumped on that willingness to play by his new addition, adding, "It's really important if you see our squad and how we play. It's really more important that our team or that coaches who like to have players, specific players at specific positions. We're of the view that we look to try and get the best players we can get and then work them into whatever system we think fits best, and I think she's that kind of player."
Despite playing up front most of her career, Gomes has played as a fullback with the Portugal U-19 team and has some experience in the midfield. Sermanni spoke highly not only on her versatility, but her ability and potential as well, making for an excellent candidate for the Pride. "She's versatile, quick, very good technically, and left sided, so she'll fit in well into the team amongst all our other left sided players," Sermanni said, "I think her potential and versatility that she has I think will fit in well with us. From what we've seen, she's got a good awareness of the game as well, so those are the kind of things we earmark."
The Pride will begin their 2018 preseason when training camp starts up on Monday, Feb. 19.