With preseason in full swing, the Orlando Pride is beginning to find its groove before its season-opener against the Portland Thorns on April 17 at Providence Park.
Among the new batch of players that will feature for the Pride is National Women’s Soccer League veteran Maddy Evans, who was acquired from the Boston Breakers on Nov. 2, 2015, via the expansion draft.
“Time has flown,” Evans said. “Heading into my fourth year into the league, I had older players in my first year of the league, so I know where the rookies are at right now. I’m just trying to lead by example and come in and work hard every day.”
The defender spent three seasons with the Breakers after playing collegiate soccer at Penn State. She’s one of nine defenders that currently shape Pride head coach Tom Sermanni’s team, which currently includes several trialists.
Evans, 24, noted there’s been progress so far for a team that’s only been training together for almost a month.
“I definitely see better tempo from our possession,” Evans added. “Getting to know people’s tendencies and habits, we’re working off one another, and playing to each other’s strengths.”
The Pride has played in two friendly games already, winning both of them against Eastern Florida State College (8-0) and the University of Florida (5-1).
Two more preseason matches remain for the Pride, as they face the University of South Florida on Wednesday at Corbett Soccer Stadium, and Florida State University at the Citrus Bowl at 12:30 p.m. Both games are closed to the public.
Orlando Pride preseason roster (as of March 28):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Bledsoe, Ashlyn Harris^, Julia Kantor^**
DEFENDERS (9): Laura Alleway, Monica Hickmann Alves, Steph Catley, Kristen Edmonds, Maddy Evans, Cami Levin, Toni Pressley, Jackie Simpson**, Samantha Witteman*
MIDFIELDERS (7): Becky Edwards, Leah Fortune**, Kaylyn Kyle, Sierra Lelii**, Lianne Sanderson, Lauren Smith**, Dani Weatherholt*
FORWARDS (7): Josée Bélanger, Christina Burkenroad*, Jamia Fields, Sarah Hagen, Alex Morgan^, Jasmyne Spencer, Allie Wisner**
* 2016 NWSL Draft Pick
^ Not Currently in Camp