Renee Sang

A new women’s soccer team, the Orlando Pride, will include athlete Alex Morgan.

Taylor Harris, Reporter

The Orlando Pride, a professional women’s soccer team based in Orlando, Florida, will become a member of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the 2016 season. This team is newly expanded and owned by the Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC).

According to ESPN in 2014, the NWSL has the opportunity to grow and shows stability, progress, and potential compared to women’s leagues of the past. So far, the NWSL is the most successful league in the U.S. and hosts most of the women’s soccer competitions.

Freshman Chloe Fawcett says, “I think the Orlando Pride team is a really good idea. I think that it gives someone for the girl [soccer players] to look up to because all the teams are men’s teams. It’s really nice, especially in this area, to have a women’s team that’s close to home.”

In September 2015, sources stated that the National Women’s Soccer League would name Orlando City Soccer Club’s Orlando Pride as an expansion team for the 2016 team. An NSWL commissioner, Jeff Plush, later stated that they were evaluating opportunities to bring the highest levels of women’s soccer to the league.

Senior Karirose Engel says, “[OCSC] decided to create [the Orlando Pride] because of the rising popularity in not only [men’s] soccer but women’s soccer, as well. Ever since the [2015] FIFA World Cup victory, people have become more aware of these ladies’ talent. I think [Orlando] wants to expand on the Women’s National League because interest is rising and it could prove to be a real success.”

Alex Morgan, an Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, plays as a forward for the Orlando Pride. Morgan played in all seven of the 2015 World Cup Finals matches and she has been in the National Women’s Soccer League since 2010.

Junior Maggie Steen states, “I think Orlando City deciding to have Alex Morgan play for the Orlando Pride was a good decision. I think it will help bring more people to the games because Alex Morgan is such a fantastic player and everybody looks up to her. She’s someone girls can look up to and she’s a really good role model.”

The Orlando Pride will be playing home games at the Citrus Bowl in 2016 until the Orlando City Stadium opens in 2017. Information about tickets and other official news can be found on the Orlando City Soccer Club website; the Orlando Pride schedule has not yet been released.