After months of waiting, it’s finally here: the start of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season. This weekend the Orlando Pride will kick off their first match as a team, taking on the Portland Thorns at Providence Park on Sunday night. The city, and the team, are buzzing with excitement.
“To be honest, as a coach, you’re probably more apprehensive than excited,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said with a laugh. On Thursday, Sermanni and his team met with the media and talked about the much-anticipated home opener against the Houston Dash and this weekend’s season opener against the Portland Thorns.
“Overall, we’re really looking forward to the game,” Coach Sermanni said. “This is a real test on Sunday. And you never quite know where you’re at until you go in there.”
Coach Sermanni says that he isn’t sure what to expect from the girls on Sunday. While they performed well in their four preseason matches, the women have yet to practice with the full squad due to international duties. “I’m still finding out things about the players,” Coach Sermanni said. “Just getting to know where players play and what their strengths are and what they bring to the team.”
“That will be a challenge for some time… a good one,” Coach Sermanni said, smiling.
Despite some uncertainty going into Sunday’s match, Coach Sermanni is confident in the talent and leadership skills of every player on his team. “They’re just a great group of players,” Coach Sermanni said. “We want every player… to be a leader.”
The Orlando Pride will play their first match this Sunday at 7:00pm at Providence Park against the Portland Thorns. Their first home match will be next Saturday, April 23rd, against the Houston Dash.