ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2022) — With the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) preseason approaching, newly announced Orlando Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell has named her assistant coaching staff for the upcoming campaign.
Cromwell will be supported in Orlando by first assistant Sam Greene, two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Michelle Akers as an assistant and player development coach, while former Orlando City SC defender Seb Hines is set to return to the staff as an assistant coach.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed with amazingly talented assistant coaches. My on-field coaching success was greatly impacted by these individuals and support staff. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to bring a staff to Orlando that will compliment me and each other,” Cromwell said. “This is a staff that I’m well familiar with and is a staff that knows the Orlando community. Most importantly, this is also a staff that is aligned in building a championship culture and developing an identity we want the Orlando Pride to have on the field.”
A USSF “A” licensed coach, Greene comes to Orlando after nine seasons under Cromwell at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). While on staff, Greene helped the Bruins to their 2013 NCAA Championship, four Pac-12 titles, three NCAA final fours and served as the recruiting coordinator for two No. 1 ranked classes for the Bruins in 2020 and 2022. Joining the Pride as Cromwell’s First Assistant, Greene will work primarily as an offensive strategist, game analyst and talent acquisition advisor.
As a player, Greene enjoyed a standout career at Northwestern University, where she finished her career ranked fourth on Northwestern’s career and single-season assists lists and fifth on the career games played list. She graduated from Northwestern in 2011 with a degree in Learning and Organizational Change.
FIFA Co-Player of the Century and a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, Akers joins the Pride staff as one of the most decorated players in American soccer history. As a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1985-2000, Akers finished her U.S. career with 153 caps and 103 goals, retiring as the nation’s second all-time leading scorer behind only Mia Hamm (158). In addition to leading the U.S. to World Cup titles in 1991 and 1999, Akers won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta while also helping the USWNT to three CONCACAF Championships.
At the collegiate level, Akers enjoyed a decorated career at the University of Central Florida (UCF), earning All-American honors in each of her four years and finishing her collegiate career as the Knights’ all-time leading scorer. Following the conclusion of her playing career, Akers founded the Michelle Akers Horse Rescue and Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) non-profit in Chuluota, Fla., just outside of Orlando. For the Pride, Akers will serve in a player development and mentorship role while also assisting with community outreach.
Returning to the Pride for his third season, Seb Hines will once again serve on the side’s staff as an assistant coach. The Wetherby, England native will work under Cromwell as an opponent scout analyst while helping to strategize on the defensive side of the ball and with set pieces. Following the completion of his playing career with Orlando City SC of Major League Soccer (MLS), Hines began working with the Pride coaching staff, helping with individualized training sessions and player scouting under both former Pride coaches Tom Sermanni and Marc Skinner, as well as interim head coach Becky Burleigh.
“Having Michelle get back into the game to coach, develop players and be a mentor is a huge win for soccer,” Cromwell added. “Sam could be a head college coach anywhere in the country so I am beyond excited she chose to bring her attributes to the Pride. Seb has an impressive playing background and will use his knowledge to give us continuity within the Club. This coaching staff is ready to work and we can’t wait for preseason to get started.”
The Pride begin their 2022 preseason at the Orlando Heath Training Ground at Sylvan Lake Park on February 1, with the NWSL Challenge Cup beginning play the weekend of March 19. More information on the 2022 regular season will be announced at a later date. Season ticket memberships are currently available at Orlando-Pride.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY.
Coaching Staff Quotes:
Sam Greene, First Assistant Coach
“I’m beyond excited to join the Orlando Pride. I have worked closely with Amanda for a number of years and am looking forward to taking this next step with this amazing Club. Being able to work with the best players in the world and for a Club who is investing in the future of women's football is what attracted me to this opportunity. The mission of this Club aligned with my holistic approach to coaching and I look forward to both developing top-level talent on the field and also empowering our women to achieve their goals off the field. We're developing a winning culture here at the Pride where our players not only have what they need to succeed, but can feel comfortable to show up every day as their authentic selves. My family and I can't wait to join the Pride family and the Orlando community."
Michelle Akers, Assistant and Player Development Coach
“I am incredibly excited to be a part of the Orlando Pride and work with my friend and USWNT teammate, Amanda Cromwell, as well as everyone on the staff. I can’t wait to do everything I can to develop our players to their highest potential, both on and off the field, while becoming competitive as a team at the highest level in the NWSL. Personally, this is an exciting opportunity for me, one I’ve always wanted to explore, so when Amanda called and asked me to be on staff I immediately said ‘Yes! I am in.’ There’s a lot of good memories and old friends in Orlando; I’m looking forward to reconnecting and making new ones.”
Seb Hines, Assistant Coach
“I’m very happy to continue my career here in Orlando and to continue contributing to a Club that means so much to me and my family. I fully believe in the vision and future that we are building at the Pride and I’m going to bring my very best each day to push our players to the best versions of themselves, both on and off the field. I’m excited to work with Amanda and the other talented coaches that will be joining us this season, and can’t wait to get back in front of our fans at Exploria Stadium.”