The Orlando Pride recently announced the signing of Jade Moore from FAWSL side Reading on a one year contract. The Lionesses midfielder was announced via a cleverly worked 'who dis?' tweet. Just like yours truly, she is a Nottinghamshire native. That's where the similarities end; needless to say Jade is much better at football than I... Make no mistake about it. The signing of Jade Moore is a real statement of intent for this team, and it's one that carries an all too familiar message from the front office this off-season. We are going to be heard to beat. We are a team that will be bullied no longer.
Suddenly we find ourselves looking at the strong spine of a team that contains nothing but talent and winners. On far too many occasions last season it was too easy for the opposition to win their physical battles in the midfield and offensive thirds. Now we are looking at the possibility of the likes of Emily Sonnett, Ali Riley and Jade Moore playing straight through the middle. What a prospect that is. But it's not just about names on a sheet of paper. Soccer isn't played on paper... Look at me getting all philosophical.
So for those of you who aren't avid followers of the FAWSL and the Lionesses, what exactly is Jade Moore bringing to the table? Formerly of Notts County, Leeds United and Birmingham City the midfield enforcer brings experience, leadership and guile to a Pride midfield which is sorely lacking in some of those characteristics. I have written previously about how short the team were in terms of destructive midfielders, and how this was an area of the pitch that Marc Skinner and his team needed to address in the off-season.
Jade Moore represents the perfect midfield signing for the Pride in my opinion. She is a player who is equally adept at organising her teammates and showing real leadership as well as breaking up opposition attacks and winning back possession for her team. As you will see from the clip below, Moore isn't afraid to go for goal. In fact she has chalked up a very respectable 21 goals from 209 career league appearances in England. That's not bad for a defensive midfielder. She may not get double digits, but she's good for a goal or two over the course of a season.
Jade Moore fires one in from distance for Birmingham City in a derby against Aston Villa in 2015.
I feel a bit like a broken record when I say this, as it has been a recurring theme during the off-season. But I'm going to talk about it again anyway. Head Coach Marc Skinner and out-going GM Erik Ustruck have often spoken to the need for the Pride to alter the culture within its locker room. Skinner is keen to build a winning mentality, and to have a culture of leadership from the top down. The acquisition of Moore is another step in the right direction in that regard. This is a player who has operated at the very highest level for her country, and who has won at a domestic level, whilst playing for some unfancied clubs. Moore was part of the Leeds United team that won the 2010 FA Women's Premier League Cup and the 2012 FA Cup with Birmingham City. Bringing that sort of winning mentality to a team that already contains the likes of Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger and Alex Morgan to name just a few can only be a good thing. Critics of the Pride will say that the team is top heavy in terms of international players. However, I would argue that the team is top heavy with winners like Moore. We now have multiple players who have won World Cups, FA Cups and NWSL Championships to name just a few. That can only be a positive for the Pride moving forward.