On Thursday, Orlando Pride hosted their annual Media Day event, where press from the local area get the opportunity to interact with players and coaches before the start of the season. During a press conference with Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and CEO Alex Leitao, Head Coach Tom Sermanni announced that Ashlyn Harris would be the Captain for the Orlando Pride this season.
“Ashlyn is an obvious choice, for a variety of reasons,” Sermanni said. “Her pedigree as a player, her quality as an individual, the way she’s respected within the team, her professionalism within the game of soccer, and what she’s done in the game. And she’s got the right motives for being the captain, because it’s all about the team. So, she fills all the criteria to make a great captain and a great leader.”
Harris was one of the critical players for the Orlando Pride last year. A veteran who also plays for the U.S Women’s National Team, Harris earned a save percentage of 76% last season and took home the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award. She’s proven to be critical for this team on and off the field, and has always stepped up as a leader.
“It’s a great honor, but everyday I commit to showing up and being me. And that’s leading this team vocally, and by example, no title will change that,” Harris said. “It doesn’t change the way I get ready in the morning or the way I prepare myself to show up. Every day for me, it’s important to bring all the qualities that are needed to play my role on this team. But yes, it is an honor and growing up here and this being my home, it’s a little bit more special. But the team comes first and foremost.”
Harris’s teammates supported Sermanni’s decision. For many of them, especially the younger players, Harris is a source of inspiration and motivation.
“She’s a great captain. She’s competitive, she sets a high expectation at every training,” Dani Weatherholt said. “When something needs to be better, she’s very vocal about it. She’s just an all around great competitor and she’s also very team oriented. She makes sure she goes out of her way to encourage everyone, it’s not just the best players on the team. She always puts the team first.”
Harris will make her debut as captain this weekend when the Pride open against the Portland Thorns in Providence Park. The team will travel home next weekend, where the Pride are hoping to #FillTheBowl for their home opener against the Washington Spirit.