A standing room only crowd came to a roar as Orlando City founder and president Phil Rawlins announced the first three signings of their new National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team, Orlando Pride: U.S. Women’s National Team star strikers Alex Morgan and Sarah Hagen and Canadian Women’s National Team sensation, Kaylen Kyle.
“We’re extremely excited about this team, and the way it’s starting to shape up,” said Rawlins.
Coach Tom Sermanni is proud of the teams first three signees. He has already worked with each of the women -- Morgan and Hagen during his time as head coach of the US National Women’s Team and Kyle when he served as assistant coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team during this years Women’s World Cup.
Rumors of Alex Morgan signing with Pride started swirling last week, the very day the NWSL’s 10th team was announced. Monday, Morgan joked about not being able to confirm signing with Orlando Pride while she played with the USWNT this weekend at the Citrus Bowl.
“Well, first of all, it was a horrible secret,” she said with a laugh. “I’m just really happy that I am finally able to come out in purple and call this place home.” Home, because her husband, Servando Carrasco, already wears purple playing as a midfielder for Orlando City. “It’s a good feeling and I haven’t really lived in the same city as my husband for 5 or 6 years now. I know it sounds a little weird, but we barely see each other. It’s nice to be able to think about my family and soccer together rather than soccer always being the priority,” said Morgan.
Fans big and small showed up in force for the Orlando Pride’s big announcement. Many came donning their No. 13 Morgan jerseys to welcome the most recognizable face is women’s soccer. “She scores a lot of goals,” said Rylin, a 9-year-old from Port Orange who also plays forward. Rylin’s mom took her out of school for the afternoon to meet so she could meet her idol, get an autograph and take a picture. “She’s a fantastic role model for girls. Rylin plays soccer now and I just wanted her to be here for something so big for the city and our family,” said Krista, Rylin’s mom.
Fans stood in line waiting to welcome Pride’s first three signees and to take a snap a few selfies with them. Morgan has been to several Orlando City games supporting her husband and has seen the passion and excitement surrounding Orlando City first hand. “Those Orlando City magnets, you see them everywhere,” said Morgan.
Morgan says she has enjoyed meeting and getting to know the team’s majority owner, Flavio Augusto da Silva, and to see his commitment to the Orlando City organization. She said she has also enjoyed getting to know Rawlins and his wife, Kay, and their dedication to the community. “You know Phil and Kay Rawlins go out before the games and hang out with fans, hang out with The Ruckus and embrace the crazy fans in Orlando. It’s just been so great to witness firsthand.
Rawlins announced Monday that Orlando Pride already sold 1,500 season tickets sold in less than a week. And the fans aren’t the only ones getting anxious. “I just really can’t wait for 2016,” said Kyle.
More signings could be announced any day. Orlando Pride’s leadership says they would like to get some local players on the team. One big name who made it known she’d like to join the roster, USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. She grew up in Satellite Beach. Saturday Harris told FOX 35 she would “love to come home to play soccer” and have her mom and dad in the stands.
Count on FOX 35 will keep you up to date on all the new Orlando Pride signings.
Name: Alex Morgan
Birth Date: 07-02-1989
Birthplace: San Dimas, California
Citizenship: United States of America
Name: Kaylyn Kyle
Birth Date: 10-06-1988
Birthplace: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Name: Sarah Hagen
Birth Date: 11-18-1989
Birthplace: Appleton, Wisconsin
Citizenship: United States of America
To purchase season tickets for the Orlando Pride, visit www.Orlando-Pride.com or call 855-ORL-CITY.