US International Alex Morgan joins Orlando Pride for 2016 National Women’s Soccer League

Orlando Pride Press Conference, Orlando, Florida - 26th October 2015 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

United States Women’s National Soccer star Alex Morgan will be playing in Orlando next season. Orlando Pride announced the capture of the 26 year old from Portland Thorns FC at a press conference this afternoon.

Morgan played an instrumental role in helping the United States capture the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup earlier this year and she is also an Olympic gold medalist having helped the team to the 2012 title in the London Olympics. She was born in San Dimas, California and after graduating early from the University of California, Berkeley where she played for the women’s soccer team, Morgan was drafted number one overall in the 2011 WPS Draft by the Western New York Flash. There, she made her professional debut and helped the team win the league championship.

United States Women's Soccer Team 3 Brazil 1, Orlando, Florida - 25th October 2015 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

At age 22, she was the youngest player on the national team at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup where the United States lost to Japan. In the 2012 London Olympics she scored the game-winning goal in the 123rd minute of the semifinal game against Canada. She finished 2012 with 28 goals and 21 assists, joining Mia Hamm as the only American women to score 20 goals and collect 20 assists in the same calendar year, and making her the sixth and youngest U.S. player to score 20 goals in a single year. She was subsequently named U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year and was a FIFA World Player of the Year finalist.

She married Orlando City Soccer player Servando Carrasco in December 2014 and in 2015, Morgan, along with Canada’s Christine Sinclair and Australia’s Steph Catley, became the first female players to make the cover of FIFA video games. Morgan also appeared alongside Lionel Mession covers of FIFA 16 sold in the United States.

Orlando Pride Press Conference, Orlando, Florida - 26th October 2015 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

The club also announced the acquisition of Canadian international Kaylyn Kyle from Portland Thorns FC, and U.S. international Sarah Hagen from FC Kansas City.

In exchange for Morgan and Kyle, the Pride traded to Portland Thorns FC the rights to their first Expansion Draft selection, the first-round selection (No. 1 overall) in the 2016 NWSL College Draft, and one international roster spot for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

In a separate transaction with FC Kansas City, Orlando acquired the rights to Sarah Hagen. The Pride also received FC Kansas City’s second-round selection (No. 15 overall) in the 2016 NWSL College Draft in exchange for Orlando’s second-round selection in the 2017 NWSL College Draft.

 Orlando Pride Press Conference, Orlando, Florida - 26th October 2015 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

“Today marks a significant milestone in building a successful professional women’s Club here in Orlando,” said Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins. “Signing three players with the caliber of Alex, Kaylyn and Sarah, clearly demonstrates the Club’s intention to be successful from the very start. I’d like to welcome all three players to the City Beautiful, and I look forward to seeing them and the rest of the Pride on the pitch next season.”

“Alex Morgan is a dynamic, prolific striker in the global women’s game, with all of the qualities that we look for in a star player,” said Orlando City General Manager Paul McDonough.” Her career and accomplishments in the game speak for themselves. She will instantly raise the profile of the Orlando Pride, and help develop an attacking style of play for the team.”

“Kaylyn Kyle and Sarah Hagen bring additional international experience and a championship pedigree to Orlando,” McDonough continued. “Kaylyn is a tough tackling midfielder with extensive league experience. Sarah has a strong track record of scoring goals both domestically and abroad. We expect Sarah and Alex will form a potentially lethal partnership on the attack. These three signings bring world class talent to the squad and we look forward to adding other exciting players in the upcoming Expansion and College Drafts.”

The trade provides a strong foundation for the Orlando Pride roster that is currently being built heading into the team’s opening campaign.

Kyle, 27, helped guide her home country to an appearance in the quarterfinals in this year’s FIFA World Cup. At the Club level, Kyle has made over 70 appearances for teams such as Vancouver Whitecaps Women, Seattle Reign FC, Boston Breakers and Houston Dash.

Forward Sarah Hagen, 25, joins the Orlando Pride after spending the past two seasons with FC Kansas City. In 26 games played with FC Kansas, Hagen scored eight goals. Prior to joining the American side, Hagen played over 50 games for German Bundesliga side FC Bayern Munich women’s team, scoring 38 goals in two seasons.

Hagen’s honors include a German Cup title (2012) and an NWSL Championship (2014). The striker has also earned two caps for the USWNT, making her debut during the 2014 Algarve Cup in Portugal.

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