Orlando Pride acquires Zambian International Barbra Banda, signing forward to four-year dealBarbra Banda

The Orlando Pride has signed Zambian international Barbra Banda on a blockbuster deal, acquiring the forward via transfer from Chinese Women’s Super League side Shanghai Shengli FC, it was announced today. Banda joins the Pride following a $740,000 transfer fee and was subsequently signed to a four-year contract through the 2027 season, with Allocation Money used in the signing. The transfer agreement also involves a negotiated sell-on clause for any future transfer of Banda.

In total, the Pride’s signing of Banda will mark one of the largest all-in investments on a player in National Women’s Soccer League history. Banda will join the team pending the receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

“It has always been our vision to build the Orlando Pride into an NWSL Championship contender and we believe investment in the world’s best players is a prerequisite for success. Barbra Banda brings a new level of technical skill, physicality and pace to our attack and she is an exciting and entertaining addition to our roster,” said Orlando Pride Owner and Chairman Mark Wilf. “We thank Shanghai Shengli FC and their leadership for partnering with us to bring Barbra to Orlando and to the National Women’s Soccer League. Our fans have much to look forward to as we prepare to kick off the regular season!”

“I’m thankful for the confidence the Wilf family has in our staff and our recommendation to invest heavily in a world-class talent like Barbra. Her stellar performance in the Olympics, World Cup, and Chinese Women’s Super League solidified her as a must-have target. I also appreciate the leadership at Shanghai Shengli FC for their work with us and with Barbra on this transaction. They have done a phenomenal job developing her and are setting a new precedent within Chinese women’s football,” said Orlando Pride VP of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter. “Barbra is a natural-born goal scorer and one of the most physically imposing forwards in the world. Turning only 24 years old this month, we have every confidence she will be an impact player in our attack for years to come. We are excited to help her grow and expand upon the various layers of her game and cannot wait to see her in purple.”

“’I am very excited to join Orlando Pride. It’s a great club and I love what they’re building. The National Women’s Soccer League is one of the most competitive and strongest leagues in the world so it’s very humbling to get a chance to play in it,” Banda said. “Since my first meeting with the club and the General Manager, I knew this was a club I wanted to join. I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and start working with them. I hope to help the team in my small capacity to do great things and win a lot of trophies together.”

One of the most exciting young players in women’s soccer, Banda comes to Orlando having led Shanghai Shengli with 16 goals and five assists in 2023. After scoring in her debut for the Chinese side in 2020, Banda totaled 18 goals in 13 matches that year, going on to win the CWSL Golden Boot for the season with twice the number of goals than the second-placed player. In total, Banda scored 41 goals across 52 career games in Shanghai.

The next year became one of the most decorated for Banda on the international level, as well. In 2021, the Copper Queens’ captain became the first player in Olympic history to score back-to-back hat tricks and the first to total two hat tricks over one tournament – scoring three against both the Netherlands and China.

A year later, Banda led Zambia to the COSAFA Women’s Championship, Africa’s top international tournament, leading the way and winning the Golden Ball with 10 goals over five matches. In the lead-up to the 2023 World Cup, Banda also helped then No. 79 ranked Zambia knock off No. 2 ranked Germany, scoring a brace, including the stoppage-time game-winner.

Banda debuted with Zambia in 2016 and has since represented the side at both the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. During last year’s World Cup, Banda scored the game-winning goal in Zambia’s final game of the tournament, ending the group stage on a high with a 3-1 victory over Costa Rica for the nation’s first-ever World Cup win. Banda’s goal also marked the 1000th goal scored in Women’s World Cup history. She capped the year by being named IFFHS World’s Best International Goal Scorer and currently sits as Africa’s all-time leader in Olympic goals.

Banda and the Copper Queens will continue their quest for 2024 Paris Olympics qualification, set to next face Morocco in the Fourth Round of the 2024 CAF Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament between April 1-9. On Feb. 28, Banda pushed her nation to the next round with a brace over Ghana, including a stoppage-time match equalizer that pushed Zambia through 4-3 on aggregate.

| Orlando Pride Communications |

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