Admin January 23, 2018

The Washington Spirit have traded Canadian international defender Shelina Zadorsky to the Orlando Pride for goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and Orlando’s first-round pick in the 2019 NWSL draft.

The 25-year-old from London, Ont., spent the last two seasons with Washington, serving as captain in 2017.

“Shelina brings strong defensive qualities,” Orlando coach Tom Sermanni said in a statement. “The way we play, one of our emphases this year is that we need to be less vulnerable defensively.

“Bringing in Shelina who is an out-and-out centre back who also has extensive international experience with the Canadian national team will be a big asset for us.”

Orlando (11-6-7) gave up 31 goals in 24 games last season, tying for fourth in the 10-team league.

Plenty of experience

Zadorsky played in 21 games last season, starting 20, and was third on the team with 1,793 minutes.

The former Michigan defender began her pro career in 2014-15 with Perth Glory of Australia’s Westfield W-League. She also played for Vittsjo GIK in Sweden in 2015.

Zadorsky has won 34 caps for Canada and was part of the team that won bronze at the Rio Olympics.

“Shelina has been a tremendous player and person to our team the past two seasons,” Washington head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said in a statement. “It is difficult to let her go.”

Zadorsky is the latest Canadian to switch NWSL clubs recently. Midfielder Diana Matheson was traded by Seattle to Utah while Janine Beckie moved from Houston to Sky Blue FC.

Bledsoe, 26, started 11 games for the Pride in 2017 with two clean sheets.

“We believe that Aubrey is one of the top goalkeepers in our league and feel like she gives us incredible depth in that position,” said Gabarra. “Her development over the past three years has been exceptional.”

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