With weather forcing today's game to be postponed until September, it gives us a chance to give a little focus to OCB and the Pride, both of which have experienced a lot of roster moves and updates recently.
Pride Roster Updates
Catley and Fields Sign New Contracts. Steph Catley and Jamia Fields have signed new contracts with the Pride and will return for the 2017 season. Catley was an important part of the defense for the Pride leading up to the Olympics, but then her responsibilities with the Australian National Team kept her from being able to return to play much after the middle of the season. Fields started the season as a role player from the bench and registered an assist on one of Jasmyne Spencer's goals.
Lisa De Vanna Waived. Last season, rumors swirled for months that the Pride were trying to sigh Lisa De Vanna, and eventually they managed to get her on the roster late. But with all the international breaks and chaos of the inaugural season, it was hard from a fan's perspective to gauge how much impact she had on the team. Unfortunately we won't get to see what she could do over the course of a full season, as she has been waived by the team. I know some fans will be bitterly disappointed as there were many advocates for bringing her to the team, but as the men's team had to deal with the departure of Adrian Winter last year, the Pride will have to adjust and move forward without their teammate who was only here for a brief time.
Krieger and Morgan Voted to FIFPro World XI. Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger were named to the World XI, a list of the best eleven players in women's soccer as voted on by their peers in leagues around the globe. I've always put a lot of stock in the players that other competitors appreciate, because I think players know better than almost anyone else the kind of skill, effort and dedication required to excel at their craft. Krieger is going through pre-season workouts with the team as they get ready to open the season next month, and Morgan is currently playing the remainder of the European season with French side Olympique Lyonnais and will re-join the Pride mid-season.
Rumors Swirl Around Brazilian Star Marta. In the past couple of days there have been rumors that the Orlando Pride have been pursuing Brazilian star and five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta. However, tweets from her club team in Sweden seem to throw doubt on that. It would be great to have her come to Orlando, but I'm not sure if the NWSL salary structure would permit the team to sign her, unless there are some of those odd rules that seem to permeate FIFA around a national federation somehow paying her salary with a wink and a nudge to the club team's league. Suffice it to say I'll believe she's coming when Tom Sermanni holds a press conference to announce it. Until then, I'll enjoy reading the rumors along with everyone else.
Midfielder Ryley Kraft Joins OCB. Fresh off his first call up to the US U-19 National Team camp, midfielder Ryley Kraft joins OCB for the 2017 season. Kraft is 18 and comes to OCB from the Sacramento Republic FC Pro Academy, where he had 12 goals, 33 starts, and made 46 match appearances over the last two seasons.
Orlando City Loans Devron Garcia. Garcia, who played in 17 matches with OCB last season, has been loaned out to Honduran side Real C.D. Espana, which opens an international spot for this season.
Redding Returns from CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Tommy Redding played was with the victorious US U-20 team that won the U-20 CONCACAF Championship in Costa Rica. Redding was one of the best defenders on the MLS roster for Orlando City last season as a 19 year-old player. In many of his 18 appearances, he was assigned to defend the fastest and most potent scoring threat of the opposing team, and almost always left them frustrated and able to get very few clean touches on the ball. Now that he has been a leader with the U-20 national team and has won a CONCACAF trophy and helped that squad qualify for the U-20 World Cup, he brings back even more confidence. It's clear that the quality of the defense is improved from the way they played last week, and Redding's return will bolster that even further, as he and his fellow defenders push each other to perform better and help Joe Bendik register more clean sheets.
What did you take as the biggest news story during the last week? Which players for OCSC, OCB, and the Pride are you looking forward to seeing the most this season? Let me know in the comments below!