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Harris’ ‘dream’ comes true with move to Orlando

Ashlyn Harris says she is happy to be home in Orlando. (Photo Courtesy Orlando Pride)

Ashlyn Harris says she is happy to be home in Orlando. (Photo Courtesy Orlando Pride)

Ashlyn Harris is headed home, a moment she says she has long been waiting for.

Harris was selected second overall by the Orlando Pride in Monday’s NWSL Expansion Draft. It was a move widely speculated and reported as a definite two weeks ago by The Equalizer. The move was such a given that, much like when Alex Morgan was revealed a week ago, Harris was already in Orlando on Monday for press conferences and media opportunities following her selection by the Pride. She appeared on the team’s Periscope broadcast in a purple Orlando Pride polo just minutes after being selected.

“Today has been a dream, actually,” she said. “I’ve waited for this moment for a long time, to be able to finally tell my friends and family I’m coming home, who have supported me over the years from afar.”

Harris is from Satellite Beach, Fla., about an hour from Orlando.

Orlando general manager Paul McDonough said the Pride spoke with new Washington Spirit coach Jim Gabarra over the past few weeks and he was accommodating to the fact that Harris wanted to return to where she grew up. With three allocated U.S. national team players, the Spirit had to leave at least one — between Harris, 2015 NWSL MVP Crystal Dunn and Ali Krieger — unprotected in the draft. Gabarra left both Harris and Krieger unprotected, but once Orlando selected Harris, the rest of the Spirit’s players were off the board, per the draft rules.

The Pride selected 10 players in the draft on Monday, the first of which was Meghan Klingenberg to send to Portland to complete the Alex Morgan trade. Toni Pressley and Jamia Field, both with Florida roots, were selected by Orlando.

Harris, 30, sounds ready to be in Orlando for the rest of her professional career.

“This is where I started and this is kind of where I want to end,” she said.


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