The Orlando Pride continue to add national-team talent to their roster. On Thursday, the team announced a trade between the North Carolina Courage, formerly the Western New York Flash, that sent second-year defender Sam Witteman to North Carolina in exchange for Australian women’s national defender Alanna Kennedy.
“Firstly, Sam has been a fantastic player and a great teammate with wonderful character,” Pride head coach Tom Sermanni said, per the release. “She will be missed both on and off the field, and we are very sad to see her leave the club… However, in bringing in Alanna, we have acquired one of the best center-backs in the league and a high-quality, international player.
“Though she’s just 21, Alanna has extensive experience with Australia, and she will be a terrific addition that both strengthens and adds experience to our lineup next season.”
The former Flash helped the team to its first-ever championship in 2016, starting all 15 of her regular-season appearances and recording an assist.
Kennedy’s winning pedigree goes back to when she was 16 years old. At that age, she helped Sydney FC to the Westfield W-League regular-season title and to second place in the 2011 title game. She won the title with Sydney in 2013.
As for her national caps, she first played for the Matildas in 2012 and was on the rosters for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Kennedy has amassed nearly 50 appearances for Australia.
The Orlando Pride will play the 2017 campaign in the club’s new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando.