Sydney Leroux is heading west to Angel City FC.

The Orlando Pride traded Leroux, who has been there since 2018, to the expansion club for ACFC’s natural first-round pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft, $75,000 in allocation money and potentially more in the future. There is an additional $10,000 of allocation money in 2022 and $10,000 in 2023 if the forward meets “certain performance-based criteria,” ACFC said in a release.

The moves comes weeks after forward Christen Press sustained a season-ending knee injury. ACFC is near the bottom of the NWSL in goals scored with seven in nine games played, trailing individuals Alex Morgan (11) and Sophia Sith (8). Leroux has two and an assist.

Leroux returns to Los Angeles

ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 19: Sydney Leroux #2 of the Orlando Pride kicks the ball before a game between Washington Spirit and Orlando Pride at Exploria Stadium on March 19, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Leroux played collegiately at UCLA, where she led the team in scoring for three consecutive seasons, and won the 2015 World Cup and 2012 Olympic gold medal with the U.S. women’s national team. Between 2011 and 2017, she scored 35 international goals and led the Pride in scoring in both 2018 and 2021.

“I am so excited to be a part of Angel City and everything being built with this club,” Leroux said in a statement released by the team. “The atmosphere I felt playing at the Banc [of California Stadium] on Mother’s Day was unbelievable. It really feels like I’m coming home, between going to UCLA and living in LA. Angel City is truly putting women’s soccer on the map in Los Angeles and it shows if you invest in women, great things will happen. I am excited to be a part of that.”

ACFC opened its inaugural season with a sold-out crowd of 22,000 at Banc of California Stadium in April. Late last year the club announced it had sold 13,200 season tickets for the 2022 season, nearly equaling the average attendance for the league-leading Portland Thorns. The club gives 1% of home ticket revenue to players.

ACFC expands line of stars

The club’s ownership group is a game of “who’s who?” with former USWNT stars, celebrities, tech investors and women’s sports stars that include Serena Williams, Candace Parker and their daughters.

“We are delighted to welcome Sydney Leroux to Angel City,” ACFC Sporting Director Eniola Aluko said in a statement released by the team. “Sydney has valuable experience as an NWSL player that will be a great asset to the team. Sydney’s goal-scoring ability, her tenacity, and her passion on the field will be exciting for our fans to watch. We are also delighted to add another mother of two beautiful children to our team and organization.”

Leroux is mom to son, Cassius, and daughter, Roux. She took off much of 2015 and 2016 while pregnant and again in 2019 while pregnant with Roux, who turned three on Tuesday. Three months after giving birth, she returned to the pitch.

The Canadian native was drafted into the Women’s Professional Soccer league in 2012 right before it folded and joined the NWSL’s Boston Breakers in 2013. She was traded to the Seattle Reign in 2014, winning the Supporters Shield there, and played for FC Kansas City in 2017 before the trade to the Pride in 2018.

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