It's been a learning process for Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni. A longtime international coach in the women's game, Sermanni signed on with the Pride for their inaugural season and with that season coming to an end, the Scotsman took some time to reflect on the campaign in a recent interview.
"It's been mixed," Sermanni said of the season on the Community Sports Report last week. "I think we've had some big results and some big performances and we've also had some mixed results and mixed performances, and that's to be expected when you get a brand new group of players together. And then add on to that the fact that you lose six players for two months of the season, it makes it difficult."
Having not coached club soccer since 2003, Sermanni was forced to learn on his feet how to put the roster together and to try and get his new team to play together, in a league that he had not coached in. Through the first third of the season, the team was meshing well and playing even better, cracking the top five of the league in different points of the summer. However, that run of play took a sharp turn when the Pride's international standouts were called away for Olympic duty, at which point in time the Pride struggled to score and get results.
With the Pride now only having their season finale at home left to go in the season, Sermanni is already looking forward to 2017, now having that first season out of the way.
"When you're starting something from scratch, there's always going to be a lack of cohesion and people trying to figure things out," Sermanni said. "So, when you consider this season as a whole, when we've finished the season and looking forward, I think we have a core of a very, very good team and having a year under our belt will certainly help us. If we can bring all the players back that we want to, I think we can make a real impact next year."
Besides the soccer club itself, Sermanni has also gained a newfound view on the city of Orlando as a whole.
"When I came to this city and had talked to Phil -- and I'd known Phil before -- and he said 'Orlando is a great place,' but obviously I hadn't lived here because the connection when you're from outside is that Orlando is Disney, Universal, holidays etc. For me, and this is my own view, they're two very distinct places," Sermanni said. "South Orlando is all the holidaymakers and from the city north, it's a great town like Stoke City. For me it's a place that's really buzzing, that's really getting bigger, so it's got that city sense about it and it's still small enough to have a real community sense, so it has that balance really, really right and in some ways I think Orlando City Soccer Club mirrors that. Orlando City now is a big club, even by world standards with their support, etc. Big club, but it still has a small club feel about it."
You can listen to the full interview with Sermanni using the player below.