Going into the NWSL draft this year, the Orlando Pride no longer have the luxury of having a draft pick in the first or second round. The first-round pick was used in the trade to bring in now-retired player Becky Edwards and breakout player Kristen Edmonds to the squad. Additionally, the team parted with the second-round pick as part of the deal to acquire Sarah Hagen. The newest team in the league ended its inaugural season falling flat by finishing ninth on the table; the Pride’s last win came in July during Week 12 of the season. Orlando can only improve itself using the draft with the second pick in the third and fourth rounds.
After speaking with Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni earlier last week, he indicated the club was hoping to add depth with quality players in the late rounds like the Pride’s fourth round selection, Dani Weatherholt; taken with the 31st pick last year.
“The big issue we have this year is we don’t have a draft pick until the third round. So most of the things we are looking at are probably going to be ineffective because the players that you’re hoping to get are probably going to be gone by the time our pick comes around.” Sermanni stated, “So ultimately, it’s still going to end up being just a little bit of a lottery for us because we don’t know exactly what the situation is going to by the time our pick comes around.”
One of the main issues facing the Pride based on last year’s performance was the thirty goals the team gave up. The positions which will be the targeted by Orlando are down the spine of the team. It is looking to upgrade center back, defending midfielder, and attacking center midfield. However, Tom has said he will want to take the best available player even if the player falls outside one of the team’s immediate needs.
Personally, I’d like to see the Pride focus on the midfield. An upgrade in holding mid would provide some protection to the backline; additionally, the team would also try to find an attacking mid to facilitate the offense. We’ll find out who joins the Pride on Thursday, January 12.