Orlando Pride

💬 Seb Hines: 'We're just ready to go' ahead of first match of new season

Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines

On excitement to get the season underway

Really excited. It's been a long, long journey to get here. [The] offseason has been long and we extended our preseason this year to focus on a couple of things that we learned from last year. The players are ready to go to Louisville and put out a performance in front of everyone who's watching. So yeah, really excited. The team's excited, the staff is excited, and we were just ready to go.

_ On the team’s growth from Day 1 of preseason_

There's been things that we were wanting to focus on, areas that we've might not have done last preseason, and we wanted to make them a priority going into this season. So we worked on that in preseason, we had some competitive games during preseason, also, you know, we've added new players to the group so had to make them feel at home with the players that we already had here. So there's a lot of things that we had to get in place to make sure that we're ready to go for this upcoming game. You look back, and it's right around the corner now and, like I said, we're all excited and prepared for what's at stake in this first game.

_ On if it’s difficult to start the season on the road_

I would say that is probably one of the challenges with was having the privileges of being in Florida. A lot of teams come here for the offseason or preseason camps. To be on the road first game, we get that out of the way early. A lot of players have been to Louisville in previous seasons. The reason we went to IMG [Academy] was to get away from our facility, although it was still in Florida. You know, how it is having a roommate, mealtimes, even [the] meals, that was the whole reason we did that. So they’re used to that but obviously you've got to add a flight to it, as well. But we just have to focus on ourselves and focus on our game, a game everyone's played since they were young. It will be enjoyable but it's going to be hard work. And that's something that we've implemented from the start of preseason. There's no gimmies in this league, you've got to go out and earn everything, and so the players understand that, and they know their roles and responsibilities when they go out to the field. It doesn't matter if you’re home or away, we're going to ask the same demands. 

On what he expects from Louisville 

There's a lot of unknowns, to be honest. Bev [Yanez] was there last year as an assistant and great for her being the head coach now and being able to lead this team. And so it may look different, you know, different style, different formation. They've added some key players to their roster and we have to be aware of that. There's no easy games, everything's a challenge, but I think we just have to stick to who we are as a team and our principles, our identity. How we start the year can really have an influence at the end of the season. So we need to start strong and aggressive and go after Louisville like we would any other team.

Orlando Pride Midfielder Luana

On how excited she is for game week 

I'm quite excited. I think the preseason was a lot of work. I believe our team evolved with each friendly and I think we will arrive well prepared for the start of the season. But now, it's for real. To put into practice everything we trained and prepared for. But also we need to study the Louisville team to hope we have a great debut.  

On what she expects in her first NWSL competition

I've been talking to the girls and they've told me that the games are very intense, that we have to believe until the last minute and that these are very competitive games. So every point and every move in the game is very important and hopefully I adapt quickly. I think the team as a whole is evolving during matches and adapting physically as well. 

On how she feels she acclimated to the team in preseason  

First of all, I was welcomed very well by the girls and by the technical staff. I think they gave me peace of mind all the time to go step by step and build and identity and a connection with the girls here on the team. I think it was a very good period of adaptation and I feel good, well settled and I have a basic understanding of what is required here in Orlando. I'm very confident to start the season and certainly always continue to evolve, but have a good start. 

On how the midfield is developing together 

It's a daily construction, each athlete has a different characteristic. We have to know how to identify and be able to make the most of these characteristics. For me, there in the midfield, it's the heart of the game. So, we usually organize the game, start from playing out the back, and you also have to create for the attack. So it has to be a game that is very integrated together, closing the spaces. I think it's easy to play with smart players by your side so for me it's been a very good experience.