Orlando, Florida — Take a backseat, soccer. Right now, life, family and heath is taking first priority for Toni Pressley. The Orlando Pride defender has been diagnosed with breast cancer and bravely shared her fight with the NWSL and its fans.
Pressley, the 29-year-old from Florida, shared her story through her club, the Orlando Pride. Exactly one week ago, Pressley underwent surgery. Now, she’s on the road to recovery. She has been put on the 45-day Disabled List.
Erik Ustruck, the club’s general manager, said that the club is extending its unconditional support to Pressley, her family and her Orlando Pride family.
“We can’t imagine what Toni is going through,” Ustruck said. “Toni’s health and well-being is, of course, our biggest priority. We are happy to be able to provide her with the full backing of the Club, the NWSL and our partners at Orlando Health.”
Pressley reassured her fans and friends that she would be OK. Members of different NWSL teams, coaches and fans have reached out, showering her with support. On her personal Twitter account, Pressley told fans to not feel sorry for her.
“Please do not feel sorry for me,” Pressley wrote on Twitter. “Everything happens for a reason and Im lucky to have found out when I did. If I can help at least woman, this will have all been worth it.”
Meanwhile, Daryl Osbahr, a team doctor for the Pride and chief of sports medicine for Orland Heath, said that Pressley is working closely with a team of oncologists.
“Although a cancer diagnosis of any kind can be extremely difficult, her family at Orlando Health is going to battle this disease with Toni every step of the way,” Osbahr, M.D., said.
Last Word SC extends our support to Pressley in her battle.
I feel such gratitude and I am overwhelmed by the love and support from my soccer family and community.
Thank you so much 💕
— Toni Deion Pressley (@Toni_Deion) August 7, 2019
Julie King signs with Orlando Pride
Julie King thrived with the Boston Breakers.
The 29-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri, spent her entire career with the Breakers until the club folded in 2017. She joined the Breakers when they were part of the Women’s Professional Soccer League. Then, she stuck with the club when it became one of the first NWSL teams.
King was a standout defender for the club. Then, she was overcome with injury after the club folded. King was picked up in the NWSL Dispersal Draft by the North Carolina Courage, a team that made it to the championship game in the 2017 season. However, King did not once suit up or take the field for the Courage.
An ankle injury was the cause of her long absence.
However, Ustruck is glad to have King join the Pride. He called her an experienced player who “knows the NWSL very well.”
“Not only does her addition add some needed depth to our backline, but Julie’s personality and leadership fits perfectly into the culture we are looking to build here in Orlando,” Ustruck. “We are very happy to have her as a member of the club.”
During her time with the Breakers, when they were part of the NWSL, King made 95 appearances. She added three assists and six goals to her statistics over five seasons in Boston. King spent her collegiate career at Auburn University.