Malta international Haley Bugeja has joined Orlando Pride in USA’s National Women’s Soccer League, the Times of Malta can reveal.
Earlier this month, the Times of Malta revealed that the Sassuolo player had received a lucrative offer from an NWSL club and that Bugeja together with her agency – Sports Pro Management and Consultancy – were in the final stages of the negotiations.
Now, all the necessary paperwork has been completed as the Malta women forward has put pen to paper on a one-and-a-half-year deal with the Florida-based club.
Bugeja, who will wear the number 7 shirt, is expected to be available for the Pride’s selection as from next month when the club will be already in the third month of its 2022 NWSL campaign.
She will also be part of the Pride’s roster for their 2023 assignments.
“It will be a very exciting chapter for me,” Bugeja told the Times of Malta.
The 2022 NWSL championsip, USA’s primary league in women’s football, started in April and it will run until October.
Contrary to many women’s leagues across Europe, the NWSL champion is determined via post-season play-offs which will be played throughout the month of October.
Asked about what information did she gather about the National Women’s Soccer League, Bugeja pointed to the attacking playing style that characterises the championship.
At the Pride, Bugeja will join club captain and Brazilian star Marta – six times FIFA World Player of the Year between 2006 and 2018.
Moreover, Bugeja will cross paths with another legendary figure in the women’s game in Michelle Akers. The former USWNT star, who is also a member of the US National Soccer Hall of Fame, is part of the technical staff as a player development and mentorship role.
The Pride joined the NWSL in the 2016 season and play their home games at the 25,500-seat Exploria Stadium which is also home to the men’s team, Orlando City.