Orlando Pride

Pride's focus on fitness in solid start to preseason training 

SANFORD, Fla. -- Seb Hines’ first preseason in charge of the Orlando Pride got off to a strong start this week, as the new permanent head coach put his players through an intense regimen to build fitness for the long season ahead.

The Pride will contest both the NWSL regular season and the Challenge Cup this year, with the latter tournament moving from preseason to mid-week fixtures throughout the regular season.

Fitness will be paramount, especially for the identity the Pride are hoping to build.

“This humidity and this environment is ours,” new General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations Haley Carter told Orlando-Pride.com this week.

“We own it. We're going to use it…from a physical standpoint [we need to be] fit enough to run laps around opponents in this heat. We want athletes that are going to tax our opponents, mentally and technically and tactically, and pounce on them when they make mistakes.”

Gifted with gorgeous early February sunshine at Orlando Health Training Ground at Sylvan Lake Park this week, the Pride spent large portions of their sessions training their cardio. The centerpiece of the week was the infamous beep test, in which the players must run at increasingly faster speeds with very little rest until failure.

The players did get some time on the ball this week as well, as Hines and his staff drilled build-out patterns during the latter portion of the morning sessions. The team also spent time in the gym and faced multiple days with double trainings as they conditioned for the long season ahead.

Hines is bringing a collaborative approach with his players as well.

“This preseason period allows us to ask questions and get feedback from the players on what they think their identity should be,” he said.

“We can put everything in place, but they're the ones who are going out onto the field. We want to go out there and show the fans what it means to play for the Orlando Pride.”