It’s not that the love of soccer was completely gone for new Orlando Pride striker Sydney Leroux.
She loves the game; her situation was just difficult. She’s married to Orlando City striker Dom Dwyer, and for a while last year, the two were playing for clubs in different time zones.
Dwyer was traded to Orlando City from Sporting KC in the middle of last season, which meant Leroux and their and 1-year-old son Cassius were 1,200 miles away.
It was, to say the least, a tough spot. Leroux played for FC Kansas City last season. That club folded after the 2017 season and sent its players to expansion side Utah Royals FC – and the distance was weighing on her.
“It’s a lot more difficult than people think it is,” she said. “You see social media and you think, ‘Oh, it’s this great, amazing life.’ And of course, but I think having Dom being traded in the middle of season and all of that I think was really hard for us. I think we have a chance here to start over and hopefully do something really great here.”
Of course, there aren’t many better places for a fresh start than Orlando.
“Exactly!” she said with a smile. “That’s what I’m saying. We’re so excited. We’re just happy we can all be together as a family and both play the game we love.”
With a fresh start comes a renewed passion for the game. The 27-year-old forward is focused on making the most of her time in Orlando.
“I’m working hard and I think finding the love of soccer again here is what’s most important for me,” she said. “I’m really excited about this season.”
Leroux and the Orlando Pride have one more preseason game before the start of the regular season. Coincidentally, the Pride kick off their third NWSL campaign against Utah Royals FC – which would have been Leroux’s club had the Pride not signed her – at home on March 24.
Leroux has three preseason goals so far. The Pride play their final preseason game on Thursday against USF in Tampa.
“She’s just been what I expected from her,” said Pride coach Tom Sermanni. “She’s been fantastic so far. I think her level of fitness is first class from where she’s been and the fact that she’s got a little one, soso she kind of had that year last year, which was – if you like – a comeback year after having the baby.
“Now she’s getting back to the Syd of old. You see not just glimpses of that. You see it regularly now in training and we’ve seen it in a couple of games we’ve played against colleges. She’s getting her power back, her pace back, her desire to score goals. She’s been first-class so far.”
Midfielder Camila continues to rehab her knee injury. Midfielder Kristen Edmonds and forward Rachel Hill trained away from the team Monday morning, though Sermanni said the club was just being cautious in regards to those two.
“Kristen has just got a slight strain,” Sermanni said. “Particularly when you don’t have a lot of numbers and it’s at this stage in the season, it’s better being cautious with your players that have got some bumps and bruises. Kristen and Rachel Hill probably could have come in and done the full session today, but was just want to be care to make sur e they’re completely fit.”
Updated preseason roster
The Orlando Pride announced seven new trialists have been brought on to the preseason roster. Those trialists have participated in preseason matches.
Marta, Monica, Poliana, Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, Shelina Zadorsky and Nádia Gomes will return next week.
The team’s Australians – Emily van Egmond and Alanna Kennedy – are not set to return yet.
Here’s the latest roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Federation player-USA; Not yet reported), Haley Kopmeyer, Kat Elliott (NRI)
DEFENDERS (7): Monica, Poliana (NYR), Ali Krieger, Camila, Carson Pickett, Toni Pressley, Shelina Zadorsky (FED-CAN; NYR)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Bridget Callahan (non-roster invitee), Kayla Adamek (NRI), Christine Creighton (NRI), Kristen Edmonds, Alanna Kennedy (NYR), Julia Moore (NRI), Christine Nairn, Emily van Egmond (NYR), Dani Weatherholt
FORWARDS (10): Trudi Carter (NRI), Danica Evans, Morgan Ferrara (NRI), Nadia Gomes (NWSL draft pick), Jessica Hamrick (NRI), Rachel Hill, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan (FED-USA, NYR), Chioma Ubogagu, Marta
Contact Jordan Culver at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @JordanCulver.