Dear Orlando Pride Community,
First and foremost, I hope you all continue to stay safe and healthy and, like us, remain optimistic that we’re nearing a return to our familiar, new-normal world.
As we embark on the 2021 season, I’d first like to thank majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva and CEO Alex Leitão for their continued support, investment and leadership, as well as the unwavering dedication from the “team-behind-the-team”. Today, as we kick off the NWSL Challenge Cup, we do so with tremendous gratitude for the strength and perseverance of this community – a global community encompassing players, partners, supporters, fans, and staff – that has not only remained intact but that has grown during the most tumultuous time in Orlando Pride history.
To sum up last year, 2020 was hard. We started the year with new faces, new energy, and an appreciation for a new season to achieve the expectations we had for our Club, players and staff. Those expectations quickly shifted and, ultimately, the year represented a growth journey through challenging circumstances that necessitated decisions that would best position the team and Club for the future, starting with the 2021 season.
Through it all, this community remained committed to the Orlando Pride, and that loyalty resonates deeply within the walls of this Club and the hearts of our players.
As the Orlando Pride enters its sixth season in the league, we’re doing so with excitement but also with a deep commitment to our success.
This past offseason we made thoughtful decisions to prioritize short-term, on-field success while also deepening an evolving roster to position the team for consistency in the years to come. We signed key players who will contribute to the Club immediately. We also brought in young players who are hungry to learn and prepared to contribute to the success, environment, and culture that is expected from the Orlando Pride.
Marc and his staff are prepared for this season. The players are prepared for this season.
Our on-field success will be defined by the sustainability of our preparation and execution, and the progress we demonstrate from opening day of the NWSL Challenge Cup through the end of the regular season.
That same level of commitment and excitement extends off the field as well.
Last week, the Club unveiled its 2021 Orlando Pride primary kit, Ad Astra – To The Stars. The Ad Astra kit was inspired by the Space Coast and Central Florida region. What it represents – the opportunity to advance awareness and conversations around topics important to our Club and our players – is relevant to the world.
Since the launch we’ve captured the minds of soccer and sports enthusiasts as well as those who share in our appreciation of space exploration, and our celebration of past and present female trailblazers. To date, we’ve exceeded annual merchandise revenue from the past two years combined….it was a historic day for our Club.
Soon, you’ll learn more about our mission patches through CITYiD with corresponding plans for each. I’m equally as proud of and excited about our missions as our execution will be designed to deliver a lasting, meaningful impact to our fans. While the Ad Astra jersey lives unto itself, these missions will breathe life into the journey our Club has embarked on.
As our team prepares, there is nothing more important for our business, and for our team, than playing in front of our supporters and fans. When the Pride take the field at home on Wednesday, April 14, it will be 550 days since the team last played in front of fans at Exploria Stadium. 550 days! A lot has changed since October 12, 2019.
Our commitment locally is to bring Orlando Pride into every business, community, and home that we can reach. Our intention is to elevate and strengthen the Orlando Pride brand and business while driving awareness, visibility, relevance, and value to our fans and to Central Florida at large. We will do this because we understand that athletes, our athletes, can impact the lives of those in our community. We will do this because we understand that through sports, we can inspire and unite.
Our ask? Show up. Show up because you also believe athletes and sports, our athletes and our Club, can inspire this community. Show up because you also believe in the value of women as athletes, as leaders, and as a professional sports business. Show up because you want to be a part it.
Our commitment to all, each day, is for the Orlando Pride to inspire you.
2021 should be a year unlike any other for Orlando Pride. The promise this statement represents is our promise to be more thoughtful, to show progress, and always strive to be the best versions of ourselves – as individuals, as a team, as a business, and as a community.
Above all else, thank you. Each of you remain central to our success and know, when you support Orlando Pride, you are supporting a vision that is beyond games and results. We’ve taken a few, small steps forward, but as they say, we didn’t come this far to only come this far…
To the Stars,