Brianna Pinto was a standout at the University of North Carolina. (Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. – NJ/NY Gotham FC announced Friday it signed University of North Carolina standout Brianna Pinto to a two-year contract.
Pinto, the daughter of former Brentwood High School standout Hassan Pinto, was selected third overall by Gotham FC in the 2021 NWSL Draft in January.
“We are really happy to welcome Brianna to the team following the completion of her college season,” Gotham FC head coach Freya Coombe said in a statement. “She has joined us in training this week and is already showing the quality of her finishing and her competitiveness. She is embracing our style of play and is a fantastic addition to our midfield.”
A native of Durham, N.C., the 21-year old midfielder joins the professional ranks following an impressive collegiate career that saw the team make two College Cup Finals and one semifinal appearance. Pinto was named to the first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference in each of her years and started 64 matches in 65 appearances. Pinto, a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, scored 23 goals, recorded 16 assists and logged 3,705 minutes. She garnered semifinalist recognition for the same award in 2019.
Pinto is establishing herself on the international stage. She has been a regular fixture in the U.S youth national team program having trained with the Under-14, U-17, U-19, U-20, and U-23 teams. She has seen periodic training stints with the U.S. women’s national team, earning her first call up in early 2017 for camp and making the tournament roster for the SheBelieves Cup a few months later. A veteran of the 2016 U-17 and 2018 U-20 Women’s World Cups, Pinto was named as the 2019 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year.
“Going into the 2021 NWSL Draft, we were hoping for a scenario where Brianna would be available at the number 3-slot,” said Gotham FC general manager Alyse LaHue said in a statement. “She’s a player that stood out to me from the time I watched her as a freshman at UNC, so it’s fantastic to have the opportunity for her to join Gotham FC as a professional.”
Gotham FC hosts OL Reign at Red Bull Arena Saturday at 7 p.m.