ORLANDO, Fla. (March 2, 2023) — The Orlando Pride have announced an addition to Head Coach Seb Hines’ technical staff, with seasoned coach Yolanda Thomas joining the Club as an assistant coach. The hire rounds out Hines’ support staff for the season, following the prior announcement of Giles Barnes’ and Paul Crichton’s appointments.
“We’re very excited that Yolanda will be joining us here in Orlando. We got to know each other well during our “A” License coaching course last year, and I was instantly impressed with her knowledge and passion for the game,” Hines said. “Not only will our players learn and develop from her extensive experience, both coaching and playing, but she is going to play a key part in building the Pride as a club and culture over the long term.”
"We are incredibly fortunate to be able to hire such a competent, well-qualified coach in Yolanda. She is a long-time leader in the women’s game and has done it all while having a family, advocating for other coaches, and ensuring that others are seen and heard in our space,” said Haley Carter, VP of soccer operations and general manager for the Pride. “Yolanda knows how to win and is a vital piece in our effort to build a world-class Club. We truly could not be more excited for her to join us!”
"A big thank you to Seb Hines, Haley Carter and the rest of the Club’s leadership for the opportunity to join this organization,” Thomas said. “The vision for the Club and its goals to develop the Pride into one of the best organizations in soccer, both on and off the field, are clear and I’m happy to be a part of this exciting time for Orlando Pride and the NWSL. I'm ready to do my part to help us bring championships home to Orlando."
Thomas joins the Pride from Tulsa Soccer Club and Fortuna Tulsa of the WPSL, where she held multiple roles including Sporting Director, Head Coach, and Director of Coaching. During her tenure with Tulsa, she led the side to 2019 and 2021 Franchise of the Year and was named 2019 WPSL Red River Conference Coach of the Year. Over four seasons, Thomas guided Fortuna Tulsa to two conference championships, and appearances in the National Final Four, Regional Championship and National Elite Eight.
In 2022, Thomas earned her USSF “A” license, completing the course alongside head coach Hines, and is a current scout in the USSF Talent ID Network.
At the collegiate level, Thomas held assistant coaching positions at both Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa, before eventually being named head coach of Roger State University.
As a player, the Oklahoma State product was a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year and a three-time NSCAA All-American, being named a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year in 2009. Thomas also earned multiple call-ups to the Swedish youth national teams and would go on to play seven seasons professionally in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan.
Off the field, Thomas currently serves in United Soccer Coaches’ Black Coaches Community and leads the Women Coaches Community’s #MomsWhoCoach initiative.