03 July 2020

Ali Riley leaves NWSL’s Orlando Pride before playing a single match for the club

Soccer star Ali Riley has left National Women’s Soccer League side Orlando Pride before she played a match for them.

Riley signed for Pride in February and was due to be part of their squad that headed to the NWSL Challenge Cup, which began on June 27.

However, the club were forced to withdraw from the tournament after multiple players tested positive for the coronavirus. 

She announced on Instagram she would be leaving the club and despite only being there a few months said it had ‘changed her life’.

She said: "Over the past two weeks I’ve felt a lot of things: anger, confusion, fear, disappointment, frustration, sadness. But when I take a deep belly breath (thanks @erinmcleod1) and reflect on my experience here in Orlando, I am filled with so much love and gratitude.

"Since getting here in early February, I’ve been given the coaching and resources to improve my game, reconnected with old friends (did you know that @ashlynharris24 and I were roommates in 2011?), and made new friends that already feel like family. 

"I have been welcomed into an amazing community and connected with fans from around the world despite never having played a game for this club. My teammates have certainly pushed me to develop as a player, but more importantly as a person - to listen, learn, support, and take action in the fight for social justice. 

"Even without a season, coming to this club has changed my life in the most meaningful ways possible. Thank you."

She also said she would return to Sweden where she played for six years from 2012 to 2018.

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I really hope that I get the chance to wear this jersey again. For now, it’s time to return to Malmö to be with my älskling.”

The NWSL Challenge Cup concludes on July 26 and so far North Carolina Courage top the table with two wins from two games.

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