Zambia international Grace Chanda signs for Orlando Pride

Zambia's forward Grace Chanda (L) is marked by South Africa's defender Noko Matlou
Zambia's forward Grace Chanda (L) is marked by South Africa's defender Noko Matlou during the 2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations semi-final at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca on July 18, 2022. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

The addition of midfielder Grace Chanda to Seb Hines’ Orlando Pride team highlights the growth in African talent in football. The Zambia international has signed for the NWSL side on a contract through the 2025 season.

A strong attacking midfielder, the 26-year-old’s deal has a mutual option for 2026. Previously playing in the Kazakhstan Championship for BIIK Kazygurt, Chanda was the first Zambian woman to play in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

From Spain to Stateside

Formerly the captain of the Copper Queens, Chanda was ruled out of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup due to illness shortly before the tournament began. She made her return to the international stage in April, and will join Orlando Pride following Zambia’s 2024 Olympics campaign.

Chanda spent the 2023/24 season with Liga F’s Madrid CFF, but missed the majority of the season through her illness. However, her eventual return saw instant impact as she scored just minutes into her appearance against Valencia.

Now, the 26-year-old prepares to move across the Atlantic to play in what she describes as ‘one of the best leagues in the world’. Pride currently sit top of the NWSL table, hoping to strengthen their participation further by bringing in Chanda.

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An influential sportswoman

Chanda has played a vital role in the recent progression of Zambia’s international football. A key member of her nation’s squad, the midfielder was Zambia’s top goalscorer until recently. Barbra Banda now holds that title, and Chanda joins her international teammate at Orlando Pride.

With plenty of domestic and international experience under her belt, Chanda represented Zambia at both the 2018 and 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations. Although setbacks meant she was unable to participate in the 2023 World Cup, she played a huge part in the Copper Queens qualifying for the competition. Her performance in the build up to the contest earned Chanda a place on the shortlist for the African Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2022.

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“While she navigated tremendous adversity this past year off the field, she has come out of it even stronger and is ready to make an impact,” said Orlando Pride VP of Soccer Operations and General Manager, Haley Carter, who praised Chanda’s brilliance both on and off the pitch in the club’s announcement.

Having helped lead Zambia to their first ever Olympics back in 2020, the accomplished footballer will be looking to make her mark once again this summer in Paris, before making the move to her new club in Florida.

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