Orlando Pride waive 3 players, signs 4 rookies ahead of NWSL Challenge Cup

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Pride made roster moves Sunday ahead of the NWSL Challenge Cup, signing four rookies: defenders Phoebe McClernon and Cheyenne Shorts, midfielder Chelsee Washington and goalkeeper Brittany Wilson.

The club also waived three players: defender Carrie Lawrence, keeper Lainey Burdett and fan favorite Bridget Callahan.

To achieve roster compliance, the Pride placed forward Alex Morgan and defender Morgan Reid on the 45-day supplemental roster. Morgan gave birth to her first child on May 7, and although she’s been in touch with the team, the star isn’t eyeing a return to play until later in the year.

Additionally, the team placed forward Abby Elinsky, midfielder Marisa Viggiano and defender Julie King on the team’s supplemental roster for the tournament.

“As our roster is finalized ahead of the NWSL Challenge Cup, a number of difficult decisions have been necessary to bring the Pride roster into compliance for the tournament,” Orlando Pride executive vice president Amanda Duffy said in a news release. “This is a great opportunity for our 2020 NWSL College Draft picks to gain important professional minutes and make an immediate impact during this unique competition, and on behalf of the entire organization, I’d like to thank Bridget, Carrie and Lainey for their contributions to the Club over their respective tenures. We wish them all the best moving forward.”

The Pride selected McClernon with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft. A graduate of the University of Virginia, she netted one goal and earned All-ACC honors for three straight years while making 88 appearances.

Shorts was selected with the No. 21 overall pick after making 69 appearances for the University of Denver. Washington was selected with the No. 30 pick after a 21-goal, 23-assist career for Bowling Green University.

Wilson was the only rookie out of the group who wasn’t drafted by the Pride. She joined the Pride as a nonroster invitee in preseason, winning a spot alongside veterans Ashlyn Harris and Erin McLeod. In 80 appearances for the University of Denver, she made 230 saves, 25 shutouts and 40 wins, finishing No. 4 overall in school history in all three statistics.

The three waived players will be released permanently from the roster, not just for the duration of the tournament.

The Pride are parting with Callahan, who joined the club as a national-team replacement player in 2018 and went on to become a full-time player who served as an important spark on and off the pitch.

Burdett joined the team in 2019 and made four saves in her only match of the season. Lawrence was signed by the Pride in the 2020 preseason but had yet to play a match before the season was called to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NWSL had to turn in rosters for the NWSL Challenge Cup Sunday. The Pride will arrive in Utah for the tournament on Wednesday, facing the Chicago Red Stars at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday. The match will be streamed online via CBS All Access.


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