Sky Blue FC selected USYNT and University of North Carolina star Brianna Pinto with the third overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft.
Pinto, 20, entered the draft as a Junior out of UNC. As a college freshman, Pinto was named to the first-team All-ACC and the All-ACC freshman team. A year later, she made a repeat selection to the first-team All-ACC for her sophomore year. Pinto was a Hermann Trophy Semifinalist in her sophomore year and was named the 2019 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year. So far in her UNC career, Pinto has started 64 of her 65 matches, scored 23 goals with six of them being game-winners, and notched 16 assists in 3,705 minutes.
“It has been a dream come true to become a professional soccer player,” said Pinto. New York and New Jersey area is my parent’s hometown, specifically my dad, so to be in that soccer community and embraced by that culture, I am beyond excited to be part of it. I cannot wait to learn from my teammates and the coaching staff.”
Despite being only 20 years old, Pinto has already had an incredible career on the international stage. She has trained with the U.S. U-14, U-17, U-19, U-20, & U-23 Women’s National Teams. Pinto played on both the U.S. U-17 and U-20 FIFA World Cup teams in 2016 and 2018. She received her first full USWNT call-up when she was named to the 2017 She Believes Cup roster at just 16 years old.
“We were just absolutely thrilled when she declared [for the 2021 NWSL Draft] especially with our draft position,” said Head Coach Freya Coombe. “We were just over the moon she came to us [at the third overall pick]; it’s absolutely fantastic. I think she’s going to love the environment that we provide.”
“She’s got so many positive attributes right now,” said Coombe. “She’s very skilled on the ball. She’s tactically very smart and aware.”
Pinto has stated her desire to play the spring collegiate season this year and will join the Club upon conclusion. Sky Blue FC begins the 2021 pre-season on February 1, with the NWSL Challenge Cup set to kick-off mid-April. The team is preparing for a 24-match season in 2021, starting in mid-May.