Banda acquired by the Orlando Pride for second-highest transfer fee in women’s soccer

FILE -Costa Rica's Mariana Benavides, right, grabs the arm of Zambia's Barbra Banda as they compete for the ball during the Women's World Cup Group C soccer match between Costa Rica and Zambia in Hamilton, New Zealand, Monday, July 31, 2023. The Orlando Pride of the National Women's Soccer League have acquired Zambian forward Barbra Banda for a club record transfer fee, the team announced Thursday night, March 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr, File)

FILE -Costa Rica’s Mariana Benavides, right, grabs the arm of Zambia’s Barbra Banda as they compete for the ball during the Women’s World Cup Group C soccer match between Costa Rica and Zambia in Hamilton, New Zealand, Monday, July 31, 2023. The Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League have acquired Zambian forward Barbra Banda for a club record transfer fee, the team announced Thursday night, March 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr, File)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League have acquired Zambian forward Barbra Banda for a club-record transfer fee.

Banda signed a four-year deal with the Pride, who paid $740,000 to Chinese Women’s Super League club Shanghai Shengli FC, the team said Thursday night.

It is the second-highest transfer fee in women’s soccer, after NWSL expansion team Bay FC paid Real Madrid $788,000 for Zambia forward Racheal Kundananji last month.

Banda became a breakout international star after becoming the first player to have back-to-back hat tricks in an Olympics, scoring three goals against both the Netherlands and China at the Tokyo Games.

“Barbra is a natural-born goal scorer and one of the most physically imposing forwards in the world,” Pride general manager Haley Carter said in a statement. “Turning only 24 years old this month, we have every confidence she will be an impact player in our attack for years to come.”

Banda had 16 goals and five assists with Shanghai Shengli last year. In 2020, she won the Chinese league’s Golden Boot with 18 goals in 13 matches.

Banda, who made her international debut in 2016, scored in Zambia’s first-ever Women’s World Cup victory, a 3-1 group stage win over Costa Rica last summer in New Zealand. It was the 1,000th goal scored in the tournament’s history.

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