The Western New York Flash acquired midfielder Lianne Sanderson in a trade with the Orlando Pride. In exchange, Orlando receives an international spot on their roster valid until the 2018 NWSL season.
Sanderson wants change
It was somewhat of a surprise to everyone when the midfielder’s name was not on the gameday roster for the Pride in their game against the Washington Spirit last weekend. The reason seems to be because Sanderson herself was the one who approached the Pride organization about being traded.
“Lianne approached us looking for a new opportunity and I am happy we were able to accommodate her request and come to a mutually-beneficial deal for the Pride, the Flash and, of course, Lianne,” Orlando Pride coach Tom Sermanni told Equalizer. “Both personally and professionally I’d like to wish her great success in Rochester.”
Although she’s the one who brought up the idea of being traded, it's clear when asked by Equalizer that she has nothing but love for the expansion team, stating, “I love this city; it is a special place. I want to thank the amazing fans for embracing me and who I am.”
Previous NWSL history
This is not Sanderson’s first time moving around the league. In fact, the Flash will become the fourth team she’s played for. She was stateside for the start of the league, playing with the Boston Breakers for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, where she scored ten goals before returning to England in 2015 to prepare for the Women’s World Cup, where she went on to help her team place third - a historical moment for England. Once the tournament was over, the midfielder was signed to the Portland Thorns. She went on to be left unprotected by the Thorns in the expansion draft following the 2015 season, and the Pride quickly picked her up.
Not only is Sanderson well-versed at the pro level in the states, but she also spent time playing for clubs in England as well. She has played a few season with Arsenal Ladies and Chelsea. On top of that, she’s played two seasons with Apollon Limassol in Cyprus on loan.
Reuniting with Paul Riley
With the 28-year-old's move to the Flash, she will be reunited with a very familiar face. Head coach Paul Riley has coached Sanderson on many different teams, starting with the WPS team Philadelphia Independence in 2010 and 2011. He also coached two seasons with the Portland Thorns.
"Lianne is one of the few true number ten's in the world. Sophisticated mind, great final ball, ability to put points on the board, and vision which sets her apart from your prototype NWSL midfielder,” Riley told Western New York’s media. “She is truly passionate about the game and her soccer IQ will be vital in unleashing players like Jess, Lynn, and Mac. Knowledge and hunger are two wonderful assets.”
The midfielder played in eight matches for the Pride, scoring two goals and one assist in her short time with the new club. She will most likely make her debut for the Western New York Flash on June 24 against the Boston Breakers at Rochester Rhinos Stadium.