The Orlando Pride has made another move to prepare for the upcoming NWSL season by acquiring New Zealand Women’s National Team defender Ali Riley from FC Bayern Munich.
Riley will join the club on a one year contract with an option for an additional year. This signing was also one of the first moves by the Pride that involved the newly implemented Allocation money for both the transfer and signing of Riley.
“We’re delighted to finally come to terms with Ali and Bayern, who we’d also like to thank in making this deal happen,” Orlando Pride GM Erik Ustruck said. “We targeted Ali last year and were unable to come to terms but with the new allocation money, it has provided more roster flexibility and allowed us to go after additional players that historically haven’t been available to the NWSL.”
“From an on-field standpoint, Ali solidifies and improves our backline heading into 2020, which was a key area of improvement for us this offseason. She provides many things we are looking to add to the team: experience, both domestically and internationally, additional energy to our outside back position and is a perfect fit to the culture we’ve worked to establish over the last year.”
Riley, born and raised in California, has played for the New Zealand National team since 2007, captaining them since 2017. She has 132 National Team caps and just one goal, playing in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup under former Orlando Pride manager Tom Sermanni.
The dual citizen has had a storied club career as well, having played for the championship-winning Western New York Flash of the WPS in 2011 with Ashlyn Harris, Marta and Alex Morgan, all teammates of hers again with the Pride. She spent most of her career in Sweden, playing for FC Rosengård alongside Marta from 2012-2018, where she made 132 appearances and scored four goals.
Most recently, she has spent time in England and Germany with Chelsea and Bayern Munich before joining the Orlando Pride today.
“I heard really great things [about Orlando] from an old friend of mine, Marta, and I also have a lot of respect for Marc [Skinner] and seeing how his teams play. I think all around — this league, this country, the interest of the women’s game and the growth of this sport, the attention from the media and the fans — it’s something I want to be a part of,” Riley said in a press release. “I hope both the mentality and attitude I bring, but also the technical ability and the learnings I’ve had playing at some of the best teams in the world, will help bring a little more confidence and a little bit of something different to contribute to a better season this year.”