Pride trade Bledsoe, 2019 first round pick to Spirit for Zadorsky

Bledsoe started 11 games for Pride in 2017, Zadorsky appeared in 21 games for Spirit

The Orlando Pride have traded goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and their natural first round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft to the Washington Spirit in exchange for defender Shelina Zadorsky, the teams announced Monday.

 

Bledsoe started 11 games for the Pride in 2017, her third NWSL season, while Ashlyn Harris was out with an injury. In addition to making 35 saves and earning two clean sheets, she also recorded a shot on goal in a wild finish at home vs. the Red Stars on July 1. Bledsoe was acquired by the Pride from Sky Blue FC in 2015 in the NWSL expansion draft.

“Obviously anytime we trade a player we are sad to lose them, particularly players who have been here since day one, but we chatted with Aubrey in the offseason. We’ve always felt that Aubrey was a starting goalkeeper in this league and we think she could go to D.C. and do that,” Pride coach Sermanni said in an Orlando news release announcing the trade.  “We’ll miss Aubrey and thank her for everything she helped us achieve in Orlando, but know that this will be a great opportunity for her career.”

She gives the Spirit depth in goal alongside Stephanie Labbé, who missed the final seven games of last season on medical leave.

“We believe that Aubrey is a top [goalkeeper] in our league and feel like she gives us incredible depth in that position,” Spirit coach and GM Jim Gabarra said in a Washington statement. “Her development over the past three years has been exceptional.”

Zadorsky, who wore the captain’s armband in Washington, gives Orlando depth at center back. She made 101 clearances and 46 interceptions in 21 games for the Spirit last season.

“Shelina brings strong defensive qualities [to Orlando]. The way we play, one of our emphases this year is that we need to be less vulnerable defensively,” Sermanni said.  “Bringing in Shelina who is an out-and-out center back who also has extensive international experience with the Canadian National Team will be a big asset for us.”

A Canadian international, Zadorsky joined the Spirit in 2016 after playing in Sweden and Australia.

“Shelina has been a tremendous player and person to our team the past two seasons,” Gabarra said. “It is difficult to let her go. We thank her for her commitment to the Spirit and wish her good luck in this next opportunity.”