Emily Van Egmond has re-signed with National Women's Soccer League side Orlando Pride after turning down West Ham United. However, her NWSL return is facing visa issues.
Much speculation had been made about the future of Emily Van Egmond after she left West Ham United at the end of the last WSL season. Van Egmond's club future has finally been revealed with Orlando Pride announcing that the Matildas midfielder has re-signed with the National Women's Soccer League side.
Van Egmond had previously played with the Pride in 2018 and 2019. She made 25 appearances for Orlando during that time and contributed two assists.
The midfielder was set to play for them again in 2020 but the cancellation of the NWSL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by the removal of Orlando from the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, saw the club allow a number of their players to go on loan abroad.
She joined West Ham United on loan ahead of the 2020-21 FA Women's Super League season before signing with the Hammers in January 2021. Van Egmond turned down a new contract with West Ham at the conclusion of the last WSL campaign.
The midfielder was part of the Matildas squad at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, playing every single minute of the competition. She departed Japan leaving many wondering what her next career move would be.
The Pride announced her signing two days ago, with the transaction having been concluded just before the end of the NWSL signing window on September 30, 2021. The club have stated that Van Egmond, who is currently in Australia, would return to the US "in the coming weeks."
A club source told The Orlando Sentinel that Van Egmond could arrive in the next week, but that the visa process may result in a delay which would see her return to Orlando only at the end of the regular season.
At present the 2021 NWSL season is reaching its conclusion. Orlando only have three regular season matches left with the last Pride game being held on October 29, 2021.
The team is currently in eight place in the ladder with a slim but existing chance of making the new expanded six team post season. The NWSL championship game is scheduled for November 20, 2021.
Her return to Orlando would be a boost for the side. The team has quality defenders and attackers but struggles in their buildup and transition. Van Egmond would be a direct fit in the defensive midfielder role she has played at the club and with the Matildas in the past.
Her Orlando move could also be a boost for the A-League Women. The league has been depleted of Matildas in the last few years as a number of them have signed with Northern Hemisphere winter leagues such as the WSL. These directly overlap with the A-League Women's season.
The NWSL has historically been a league that has allowed its players to play in Australia during the off season. This Australian-American revolving door may be reduced in the coming years though, due to the extension of the length of the NWSL's season.
At present next year's NWSL pre-season has been rumoured to have a start date as early as late January-early February 2022. This would leave players who select to come to Australia missing the end of the A-League Women's season or the beginning of the NWSL.
With regards to Van Egmond, her lack of recent club play may see her return to the A-League Women during their NWSL offseason to get additional game time as she has done in the past, even if only for part of the Australian season. The Pride have announced that she is only signed until the end of this 2021 season.
Van Egmond last played in the A-league Women for Melbourne City in 2019-20 after a number of seasons with Newcastle Jets. She has also donned the colours of Western Sydney Wanderers and Canberra United in the past. At this point an A-League Women's return for Van Egmond is purely speculative.
With her Orlando Pride signing Van Egmond has become the second Matilda in the NWSL. Chloe Logarzo signed a two-year contract with Kansas City NWSL at the beginning of the 2021 season. Logarzo sadly picked up an ACL injury during the Republic of Ireland friendly last month.
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