On Monday, the Orlando Pride returned to the training ground for the first time in 2019.
For everyone on the squad, the first day of preseason camp marked the beginning of a fresh start. It also served as the introduction of a new culture through newly appointed Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner.
One common theme that emerged in regards to the new culture was the high level of energy and intensity apparent both from the players and the new man at the helm.
“To see the energy of the players, I kind of knew that when I came to America that we’d have the energy,” Skinner said. “Now I almost need to refine the energy and churn it in the right direction, but I couldn’t ask for a better work ethic from the group today. You can just see that they’re buzzing.”
Entering his first season with the Club, Skinner brings to the Pride something it has not yet seen in its four-year history - a new set of eyes and a fresh perspective. His energy is something his new crop of players have already taken note of, including veteran defender (and a workhorse herself), Ali Krieger.
“He’s super passionate, you can tell he’s so ambitious,” Krieger said. “He loves the game and he loves to teach the game and you can tell that by just our first session. We need that and I love it. I’m really happy and I know the girls are really happy, we’re just soaking it all up.”
In his short time in Orlando, Skinner has already made it clear to both the players and the fanbase that he is here to win. With the roster he has been given, there certainly is the potential for victory. To get to that point, he hopes to instill a no excuses mentality within his players, one that does not dwell on individual mistakes or roadblocks as a team.
Another excuse he will not tolerate is the absence of players due to international duty. With seven players missing the start of preseason away with their national teams and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on the horizon, Skinner refuses to let the absence of personnel serve as an excuse for himself or his Club.
“It’s just working with people and getting the best out of them,” Skinner said. “We’ll work with the people we have and I’ll bring in the right people that will work with the philosophy that we have to make sure we put it onto the field and make it right. I’m not just going to fill spaces.”
After a long offseason, there is no doubt that everyone on the squad is looking forward to the 2019 campaign. With the onset of a new culture comes a fresh start, something that all involved can be excited about.
“It’s just different,” Krieger said. “There’s a certain mentality that has never been instilled before that we’re excited about. It’s a breath of fresh air you could say, with the new mentality and the new vision and direction that we’re going to go in. Obviously with every coach it’s different, we’re just really excited to start fresh and everyone’s kind of on the same playing field which is good. So that’s probably what’s most exciting for us.”
The Pride will open their season on Sunday, April 14 at 5 p.m. ET against the Portland Thorns FC at Orlando City Stadium. Ticket information can be found at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.