The first day of training for the Orlando Pride was a long one: a full two-hour training session with 29 different players, nine of them trialists. After the grueling session, however, the players and coaches were all smiles.
“It was great,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said after training. “To be fair, it usually always is, the first day. Players come in a little bit nervous but excited, and the tempo is usually good. But I think looking and trying to make a comparison to year one, I think the players have come in far more ready to play, and I thought the tempo was good, and I thought the quality was good.”
Monday marked the beginning of Year 2 for the Orlando Pride franchise, with many new faces surrounding the club and a few popular faces from last year missing.
Sermanni has been busy this off-season, adding key pieces in the form of U.S. Women’s National Team defender Ali Krieger, Australian Women’s National Team defender Alanna Kennedy, and NWSL draft picks Danica Evans, Nickolette Driesse, and Rachel Hill (a former Portland pick, who will join the team mid-season).
Now, heading into Year 2 of NWSL in Orlando, the Pride head coach simply wants to build upon the foundations set last year.
“I hope we win a few more games,” Sermanni said, “I think what I want is, I think last season, I’ve said this many times, was a season of two halves. What I want to see is a continuation of where we left off at the first half of the season last year with some improvements. So, I think, and again this comes back to me and the staff and the players, we’re all much more familiar with each other. They know kind of what I want from [them], what they want from me, what I expect, what they expect.
“I think we’re all more familiar with each other now. And they kind of know how I work and what I want to do and how we want to play. I think what we’ve done is improve the quality and the competition in this squad and that we’ll go out there with just a better chemistry and a better overall quality. And, with that, hopefully we’ll be able to play a more expansive brand of soccer.”