Former TCU soccer standout Messiah Bright has made it look easy since transitioning into her professional career with the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League. The No. 21 overall selection of the 2023 NWSL Draft has quickly emerged as one of the league’s top goal scorers this season, currently ranking fifth in the Golden Boot standings with six goals to lead all rookies. Bright has helped lead the Orlando Pride to a 7-9-1 overall match record as well as a 5-4 record at home. The former Horned Frog star made her debut for the Pride on March 26 and enjoyed an excellent preseason, scoring two goals against the Washington Spirit during a 3-2 victory in the team’s final preseason match of the year.
Bright has appeared in all 17 matches with 13 starts for the Pride this season, leading the team in goals while ranking second in both shots (28) and shots on goal (12). Bright was a star for the Pride during the team’s 5-0 shutout win over the Chicago Red Stars on Aug. 20, scoring twice on assists from Julie Doyle and Marta. Bright was also responsible for the lone goal during the Pride’s 1-0 victory over OL Reign on July 7, scoring in the 16th minute.
Bright’s goal during the 69th minute capped off the Pride’s 3-0 shutout over the Portland Thorns on June 11. Bright was the fourth TCU soccer player to be drafted into the NWSL, following Yazmeen Ryan (Portland), Ryan Williams (North Carolina Courage) and Jenna Winebrenner (Kansas City Current). The foursome was recently joined by former TCU goalkeeper Emily Alvarado, who signed a contract with the Houston Dash in April.
All eyes on the Golden Boot Race pic.twitter.com/NKXbs1kjxC— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) August 24, 2023
Bright entered the NWSL after an outstanding collegiate career at TCU, where she scored 50 goals and added 17 assists to become the program’s all-time leading goal scorer. The Dallas native started 102 matches in her five years with the Horned Frogs, compiling a school-record 118 points and scoring 17 goals during the 2021 season, another school record. Bright received All-Big 12 recognition in each of her five seasons at TCU and was a two-time United Soccer Coaches All-American honoree. With her first-round selection earlier this year, Bright became the second TCU soccer player in three years to be taken in the first round of the NWSL Draft after Yazmeen Ryan was a first-round pick in 2021. Ryan, who was drafted by the Portland Thorns, now plays for the NJ/NY Gotham FC.