ORLANDO, Fla. — After two years with the Seattle Reign, Florida State alum Carson Pickett was surprised when she found out in January she was heading back to the Sunshine State to play for the Orlando Pride.
“The transition has been relatively smooth … I’m home,” said Pickett, who grew up in Fleming Island near Jacksonville. “That transition makes you a little bit more comfortable and if you’re in some comfortable environment and surroundings, I think automatically you’ll be playing better on the field because you’re comfortable off the field. This team has been nothing but amazing with helping the transition.”
Pickett has been a natural fit for the Pride, with the left back playing in 10 of Orlando’s 11 matches this season.
But returning home was bittersweet for Pickett.
“I was real excited to be home where my family can come to all the games, but it was bittersweet because I was drafted to Seattle and spent two years there,” said Pickett. “I had an amazing host family there and I loved the city and the team, so it was bittersweet leaving, but I knew I was going really professional and good environment.”
Pickett has earned praise from Pride coach Tom Sermanni, who said she has shown consistency since the first game she played this season with Orlando.
“She’s great, she’s really a terrific footballer,” Sermanni said. “She understands the game, she gets the game. She’s [tactically] good; she reads the game well. So we’re really delighted that we got her. We’ve had a lot of continuity from Carson from most of those [11 games] played this season.”
After recording a clean sheet and five saves in her first appearance for the Pride, goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer left last Sunday’s game against her former team feeling a bit satisfied.
“There’s emotions involved in it,” Kopmeyer said when asked what it meant to play her first game for Orlando against her previous team in the Seattle Reign.
“There’s the game itself, managing those emotions. There’s a lot of history between myself and that club, some of it is great and some is not great. Being able to go there and put on a good performance and get a shutout and keep them from getting three points at home, for me it was a deep breath — a relief.”
Kopmeyer was part of an offseason trade that sent her, Pickett and Christine Nairn to Orlando in exchange for the Pride’s Jasmyne Spencer and Steph Catley.
After missing close to eight months of action due to knee surgery, Camila will be removed from the Pride’s injury list and will be available for selection in Orlando’s upcoming game at home against Sky Blue FC on Saturday.
Sermanni said the Brazilian did more than 60 percent of Friday’s training session along with Rachel Hill, who is recovering from a groin injury.
Camila suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear and medial collateral ligament sprain on her right knee in October.
Marta, who’s recovering from a left calf strain, trained for about 30 percent of Friday’s training session, Sermanni confirmed.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and forward Alex Morgan, who are with the U.S. women’s national team, are expected to return from national team duty on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Sermanni.