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Women's soccer alum makes professional debut with NWSL's Orlando Pride

Thais Reiss, one of UNF's most decorated student-athletes, began playing soccer at age five in her home country of Brazil. She quickly developed a love of the game and grew up dreaming of someday becoming a professional soccer player.
That day arrived June 11 when the former Osprey signed with the National Women’s Soccer League Orlando Pride, becoming the latest North Florida alum to ascend to the professional ranks. The midfielder then made her professional debut the next day against the Chicago Red Stars.
After receiving an invite to try out for the team at the beginning of 2022, Reiss was selected to the Pride’s preseason roster in February. She shared the exciting news with her mom and coach Eric Faulconer, head coach of UNF Women’s Soccer. After the conclusion of the preseason, she continued her tenure with the team as a training player before being promoted to the active regular season roster in June.
She credits her time at UNF for helping her grow as a person and an athlete. Now a member of the Orlando Pride, Reiss is living out her dream, though her road to success has not been without its challenges. “It was not easy to be a practice player without a contract, but I knew my time was going to come,” Reiss said. “These past four months were good for me to get better and learn.” While she admits the level of competition is tougher at the professional level due to the intensity and speed of play, she is confident in her ability to adjust.
The road to the pros
Her journey began in Curitiba, Brazil. Reiss said that in her youth she often played with boys, which she credits as a great learning experience, as it allowed her to acclimate to the physical demands of the sport. During her high school years at Marista Santa Maria in Curitiba, Reiss proved her soccer ability by earning player of the year honors three times and her leadership ability by serving as team captain all four years. She has played for the Brazilian National Team and was also a member of five championship teams while playing for the Curitiba Foot Ball Club.
Reiss was recruited to join UNF Women’s Soccer in 2016 when former assistant coach Josh Shirmer noticed her playing during a visit to Brazil. Reiss jumped at the opportunity to bring her talents to the U.S. and play for the Ospreys. During her tenure at North Florida from 2017 to 2021, Reiss took charge on the field earning multiple honors including ASUN Freshman of the Year (2017), ASUN Player of the Year (2020) and UNF Female Athlete of the Year (2019-21). She finished her career at UNF second all-time in goals (42).
Today, Reiss says she’s focused on earning more playing time while also finishing her graduate degree at UNF. Though she’s excited for every game on the upcoming schedule, Reiss admits she can’t wait until August when her mom gets to watch her play for the first time with her new team.
Now in the pros, not only is Reiss doing what she loves, but she’s doing it as a teammate of Marta Vieira da Silva — one of her all-time favorite players. “I grew up watching her on TV,” said Reiss. “Having her as a teammate now, I would have never imagined myself here.”
Learn more about Reiss’s new journey with the Orlando Pride.
NOTE: Reiss made her first start in the NWSL Sunday, July 3 against Racing Louisville.