It’s no secret that the Orlando Pride have had a more difficult start to the season than they would have liked. With one point through five games, the Pride opened the season against last year’s top three teams amid a series of fluky injuries, illnesses and international disruptions.
On Wednesday, Head Coach Marc Skinner addressed that very elephant in the room.
“They know it’s a process. It always has been and it always will be,” Skinner said. “The thing I’ll say is, we’ll go through all the negativity first and get that out of the way and then you’ll see a difference and you’ll see the team go up. It’s a credit to them and the staff here that what we’re trying to do, even after the negative results that we’ve had, that they’re still bought in. I see it, they understand it. They understand it’s a process.”
While the results may not indicate it, the process is certainly in play.
Each performance this season on the field has built upon the last, with Skinner’s possession-oriented style of play being represented on the pitch more and more each week.
The players themselves are very well aware of what Skinner and his staff are trying to build, as they too understand that the successes are not going to come overnight but with continued commitment to the process.
“We’ve been bought in since the beginning and I think his style is going to take a little bit of time,” defender Carson Pickett said. “I don’t think that our confidence has diminished at all. We’re still standing by his style and how we want to play.”
The importance behind what Skinner wants to build in Orlando is that it is bigger than the short-term solutions. While wins over losses are always the goal, Skinner wants to create an identity and culture that is representative of the Orlando Pride for years to come.
With that, of course, comes an adjustment period. What the man at the helm hopes is that the struggles from the start of the season will help to build character and resilience within his team in the long-term. Even in a loss, there is always a lesson to strengthen the team’s foundation.
“The beautiful thing, and it’s hard to find the beauty in defeat, the beauty in defeat is it gives you a learning opportunity,” Skinner said. “It gives you a chance to feel the emotion, to see the emotion and to deal with the emotion and to bank up an experience of ‘I don’t like that, I don’t like how this feels’ and if the players can have that, they’re gonna grow, grow, grow.”
While it may not appear so on the surface, those in the Pride’s camp do have a lot to be optimistic about. There has already been growth within the group in Skinner’s short time in Orlando and as the season progresses that very growth will continue.
Success is going to take time, as does any feat. Skinner knows that, his players know that, and those surrounding the Club know that. He, however, is resolute in the fact that the successes will come with time and continued progress.
“I won’t stop, I’ll tell you that now,” Skinner said. “I will not stop until they do and when they do I’m going to twist more, provoke more, I’m going to ask for more reaction. I’m going to build a team that is so mentally strong here that can take any challenge on. It’s bigger than results. I didn’t come here just to get results, I came here to build something special.
“We’ve done something right because the players, even though haven’t got the results they want, they’re still focused on what we need to do. We’ve achieved something already and if we can now twist those into results, which is what we have to, then you’re going to see a team here to be very, very proud of.”
The Pride host Portland Thorns FC on Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium. Ticket information can be found at orlando-pride.com/tickets or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.