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Sydney Leroux, Toni Pressley could play for Pride this season

With Pressley returning to training with the Pride on Friday, coach Marc Skinner hopes to see both Leroux and Pressley back in a game before the season ends.

Toni Pressley trains with teammates in her first practice back on the pitch following her breast cancer surgery. (Julia Poe/Pro Soccer USA)

SANFORD, Fla. — Sydney Leroux and Toni Pressley could play in an Orlando Pride game before the end of the season, coach Marc Skinner said Friday. 

Pressley returned to training on Friday, joining her teammates during their training session for the first time since undergoing a double mastectomy five weeks ago. Although she warmed up alongside Pride players, Pressley kept to the side and worked individually with a trainer as she continues to build her fitness after more than a month off the pitch.

Next week, however, she will begin to reintegrate into team drills with the goal of playing in one of the final two matches of the season.

Leroux has been training with the Pride after giving birth to her second child in June.

“It’s something that they thoroughly deserve,” Skinner said of Pressley and Leroux playing in a match this season. “We’ll be pushing them as much as we can within their boundaries to get back onto the field for Orlando.”

A return to the pitch in October would come three months after Leroux gave birth and two months after Pressley’s surgery.

Leroux returned to training with the team in August, 40 days after giving birth to her second child. Next week, she will continue training while the rest of the team takes several days of rest, working to build her fitness in time to return to the pitch by the end of the season. Skinner said he is tentatively eyeing the Washington match on Oct. 5 as a date for Leroux’s return.

“If her body’s fine and she’s healthy and she’s safe, then we’ll absolutely be looking to integrate such a strong character and such a great player into our team as soon as we can,” Skinner said. “I won’t hold her back if she’s safe. We’ve missed her and can’t wait to welcome her back.”

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