United States women's national team forward Alex Morgan has left the Orlando Pride for a return to her home state this offseason. Expansion club San Diego Wave FC and Orlando announced a trade agreement for the 32-year-old two-time World Cup winner on Monday.
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It seemed as if both teams needed to wait until the NWSL Expansion Draft on Thursday, Dec. 16 to make the trade official. Paramount+, CBS Sports HQ and CBS Sports Network will carry the NWSL Expansion Draft and the NWSL Draft (Dec. 18) on its platforms. Several clubs have made trades with both the San Diego Wave and Angel City FC ahead of the expansion draft event for either full roster protection or partial roster protection from the two California expansion sides.
"This is an incredibly special moment for our club, our fans, and our community to welcome Alex and her family to San Diego," said San Diego Wave president Jill Ellis, who coached Morgan to two World Cup titles for the United States. "She is an extraordinary person, a great talent and a leader on and off the field."
"As a Southern California native, I am excited to be making a long-term commitment to Wave FC and the city of San Diego," said Morgan. "I am coming home to partner with this ambitious new club and to push the league forward for generations of soccer players to come. I cannot wait to get started and I will do everything I can to help bring a championship to this great city."
Orlando released the following regarding the trade being announced during the closed trade window before the draft, according to Meg Linehan of The Athletic:
"With the NWSL trade window currently closed, the Pride will continue to follow both Club and league policies, and will make a formal announcement when the transaction is official and timing is appropriate."
Morgan is not the only significant player leaving Orlando this offseason. In an earlier deal, the franchise bid farewell to 2015 and 2019 World Cup champions Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris via trade with NJ/NY Gotham FC. In exchange, Orlando received a 2022 NWSL Draft first-round selection, a 2023 NWSL Draft natural third-round pick and $50,000 in allocation money. The Pride have also hired longtime UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell to fill their head-coaching vacancy.
Morgan's move to San Diego marks her third time as a key player in an inaugural franchise as she began her NWSL club career with Portland Thorns FC in 2013 before moving to Orlando in ahead of its expansion season in 2016.