With the roosters crowing in the distance and the sun peeking over the morning clouds, the players of Orlando Pride took to the pitch for their first day of training as a team. Starting off with some basic warm-ups and then working their way into different passing and possession exercises, Head Coach Tom Sermanni took advantage of this practice to get a good look at his squad and try to develop some team chemistry.
“It feels fantastic to be back on the pitch,” said Sermanni. “It was good to get them out and just actually have a look at them play.”
“I think it was just really important for us to get a feel for each other,” said forward Sarah Hagen. Hagen, along with players like midfielders Kaylyn Kyle and Becky Edwards, is a veteran in the National Women’s Soccer League, having spent two years with FC Kansas City. In these first few days, Coach Sermanni says he will rely on their leadership.
“The ones that have been there and are very experienced like Kaylyn, Sarah, Becky Edwards, and a few others… you start to see them as those mature players and automatic leaders in the group,” Sermanni said. But he does not underestimate the leadership skills of some of the younger players. “I think players lead in different ways and even young players can get in there and show different leadership qualities as well.”
With a focus on building team chemistry both on and off the field, Hagen said that the girls have already done some things to try to get to know each other, including a pot luck dinner. “We’re trying to do things just to get everyone feeling together and welcome everyone to Orlando,” Hagen said. “It seems like we have a great group of girls so I think the season will be fun.”
Sermanni and the team will be working hard this week with the goal of preparing for their first preseason match against Eastern Florida State College this Saturday. Sermanni trusts that they will be prepared, especially with veteran players like Forward Alex Morgan and Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris joining practice later this week. For now, Coach Sermanni is happy with what he sees.
“All in all, a very good first day.