ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley has been diagnosed with breast cancer and began treatment last week, the team announced on Wednesday morning. The 29-year-old underwent surgery on Friday morning at Orlando Health.
“We can’t imagine what Toni is going through,” Pride general manager Erik Ustruck said. “On behalf of everyone at the Club, I would like to extend our unconditional support to Toni, her family and the members of our Orlando Pride family throughout the entirety of the treatment process. Toni’s health and well-being is, of course, our biggest priority. We are happy to be able to provide her with the full backing of the Club, the NWSL and our partners at Orlando Health.”
Pressley will be placed on the 45-day disabled list for the club, and she will continue receiving treatment with Orlando Health.
Thank you everyone for your well wishes.
I feel incredibly lucky to have the support of my club, teammates, our supporters, and my loved ones.
I am in good hands at @orlandohealth
I will be back soon 💜💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/nHluikEx0F
— Toni Deion Pressley (@Toni_Deion) August 7, 2019
The defender is the second athlete in the Orlando City family to receive a cancer diagnosis while playing for the club. Orlando City homegrown goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in November of 2017. After six months of treatment at Orlando Health’s UF Health Cancer Center — where Pressley will also receive treatment — Stajduhar is now cancer-free and back to playing with the team.
“Although a cancer diagnosis of any kind can be extremely difficult, her family at Orlando Health is going to battle this disease with Toni every step of the way,” said Dr. Daryl Osbahr, Orlando Pride team doctor and chief of sports medicine at Orlando Health. “Toni is in great hands with the experts at the Breast Care Center at Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center and we are working in tandem with her oncologists to ensure she has everything she needs to fight this disease and to return her to playing the sport that she loves as safely and quickly as possible.”
Following the announcement, Pressley received support on social media from her club and throughout the league:
— Shelina Zadorsky (@Shelina4) August 7, 2019
— Alex Leitao (@alexleitao) August 7, 2019
Sending you all of our ❤️, Toni.
— NWSL (@NWSL) August 7, 2019
— Marc Skinner (@MDSkinner83) August 7, 2019
A Florida native and graduate of Florida State, Pressley has been a part of the Pride since its first season in the NWSL in 2015, when she was selected with the No. 8 overall pick in the NWSL Expansion Draft. She has played in 52 games with the Pride, slotting three goals in her NWSL career and one this season.