They Said It

💬 Erika Tymrak: 'So proud of this team' after ending the season with a win against Houston Dash

Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines

Opening statement  

“We won the game, but we lose, so it is difficult. I thought we started a little bit slow and not as threatening as I would have liked us to be, but I get it, there was a lot at stake in this game and a lot of pressure. I felt like in the second half, we were more aggressive. The goal comes from a terrific ball from Julie [Doyle] and a great run from Marta and gets in behind the backline and gets brought down and you think you are one-nil up and looking towards next week, but it wasn’t meant to be. It is a tough one.” 

On the young group of players and how they evolved throughout the year 

“It looks bright, the future. We have a lot of young, talented players that we have a lot of trust in and they have shown what they are capable of doing. When we went into the season, it was important for us to stick by the players that we had from the previous year, get players re-signed, add a few additions, and build from when I first started. We had a rough start, we lost the first four games, but you can see the progression, you can see that the players are buying into it. With everyone doubting us and saying that we weren’t good enough to compete, they have shown that they can compete at the highest level and that is where I am most proud of the players. You can get involved in too much outside noise and what we did really well was keep it internal, have self-belief and believe in the players in what they can do, and the players have shown what they can do. They have shown what they are capable of doing and that is where I am most proud. They put their hearts and souls into the season and have just fallen short, but they can keep their heads up high and look forward to next year.” 

On what the biggest lesson he learned in his first full season as head coach 

“You just have to be adaptable and have to find different ways of winning. You have got to reinforce the belief in the players even when the results don’t go the way that you would like. You have got to show progression and as long as we are moving forward and the players are doing everything that we ask them for, that is the most important thing for me. We have adapted against different teams, against different climates, travel. This league throws everything at you, and you have to be adaptable to it. I think the realization from the staff that we have been able to stay competitive throughout the season. It has been a good lesson for all of us, considering it is all of our first years from top to bottom. We have learned a lot and looking forward to next year.”

Orlando Pride Forward Marta

Opening statement 

“Of course, we are a little bit sad because when we think about the last game in Louisville, we should have taken three points there and make our lives a little easier today. At the end, I am so proud of this team because from the beginning everyone put us last [in the league]. When you see the list, it had Orlando Pride as last one and look now. It was close. Of course, I am going to be sad but also learn from this today and not make this happen again next year because we are going to come back strong.” 

On how determined the team is going into next year 

“Simple, like you said, they are young and they have a lot to learn and grow. If I am still hungry, they should be hungry too. I have a good feeling about them. We have a group of people here that want to do things together and this makes this year very special because during the season we would lose together, win together and grow together. I think we are going to keep doing this and we are going to go back strong next year.” 

On what she is most hopeful for going into next season 

“Keep enjoying the game. Keep loving this game. Wake up every single day, go to training and still feel hungry and open to learning every single day, improve my game and help my teammates. Just keep enjoying playing soccer.”

Orlando Pride Midfielder Erika Tymrak 

Opening statement 

“So proud of this team. I think in any season, there’s ups and there’s downs. But there’s one consistent thing this season, and it is that we stayed together as a team. The players were united from day one to the final whistle. I think that’s really special, and it attests to our team culture. The game can be cruel, and I think it showed tonight. We got a win, and it wasn’t enough. In those moments, it sucked, because you go back in your head and think about every game and every moment and anything you could have done different. But I think it is a lesson that, regardless of what game you play, you leave it all out there. I’m proud of this team but just really disappointed.” 

On using the emotions from tonight’s game 

“It’s tough because it came down to the last game and it makes you reflect on every game you played and every time you stepped on the pitch. We knew Marta was going to hit that in and unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. But I think I can speak for all of the girls when I say that this group is truly special, and I think that we showed everybody that we can play in this league. It was a game of millimeters tonight. So, this one is going to sting for a while.” 

On her mindset and resiliency on playing for the first time since August 

“Yeah, that’s part of the game. Sometimes you don’t play for a month and then you start a game. That’s happened in my career more times than I can remember. So, I think that’s just being a pro. You have to stay ready. I’m obviously not getting the game fitness, so I have to get fitness in other ways. Strength and conditioning are constantly working with me, I’m doing extras, I’m staying engaged. Whatever role I need, I try to step into. The past few months was more of making sure I was a really good player in training and being there for my teammates and trying to help the younger players. And then, I obviously got to start tonight which was awesome. But, it does suck as a leader, knowing that we didn’t do what we could tonight to make it to the playoffs. I take responsibility because I’m a leader and I’m a veteran. So that one hurts.”