Here we are, Mane Landers, we’ve weathered the storm and are right in the throes of the off-season, and while we finally have some contract updates from the club, there are still so many questions as to what we can expect of and for our Lions next season.
The 2019 season was my first with The Mane Land and to keep myself accountable, I made a list of vows and promises at the beginning of the season. I checked in on them quarterly, and now it’s time to close them out and reflect on a season for which I had high hopes.
I Vow to Trust the Process
Ouch. If ever there were a time to eat my words. I wholeheartedly set out to trust the process, but losing James O’Connor felt like a gut punch to my optimism. Don’t get me wrong, I see the thought process behind letting him go, but it still hurt a bit especially when we talk about how long it takes to implement change.
I also vowed to remember that the team is not made up of one man, but 11 at a time working together. While single members, such as Nani and Robin Jansson, have a huge impact on the level of play we got to see this season, they can’t work in isolation. I think adding Mauricio Pereyra to the midfield and some roster revamping will be a good thing for the team’s performance. I just question the decisions being made without a coach having been named.
I Vow to Support the Women
I didn’t make it to as many Orlando Pride matches as I’d hoped to this season. I was able to find other ways to support the women. I already look up to women athletes, as a non-athlete and bit of an awkward clumsy mess, but the women of the Pride are truly something special for all to admire. I mean, you can’t just choose one with Sydney Leroux coming back from giving birth, Toni Presley battling breast cancer and coming back, Carson Pickett proving that having a disadvantage doesn’t have to hold you back, Marta breaking World Cup records, and Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, and Alex Morgan bringing home the trophy while using their platform and opportunity to talk about gender pay gaps. These women really are more than soccer.
I Vow to Get Over my Grudge
If you recall, I was pretty salty about losing Amro Tarek (Red Bulls Newcomer of the Year, option exercised by the way) and Scott Sutter (option declined in Vancouver). It never felt quite right seeing them in the opposing team’s jerseys, but their excitement to be back in the City Beautiful reminds me that they’ll forever be Lions. I can find peace in that.
I Vow to Stay Positive
Let’s be real, this was probably a lofty goal for me, even if Orlando City had made the playoffs, as a person who suffers from high-functioning depression and anxiety. I worked really, really hard to find the silver linings this season, and while I definitely let some of the negativity in, I worked to remove myself from social media outlets that bred negativity, and chose instead to celebrate success even in the smallest of achievements. This is a goal I will need to continue to work on next season.
I’ve already started to think about vows for next season, and with OCB coming closer to my work and home, we may just be able to work that into our schedules next season. There were a lot of things we were all hoping to see the Lions accomplish this season and they fell short for a lot of supporters. That’s just it though — we are supporters, not just supporters when City is winning, not just supporters when the club brings on new DPs, but supporters.
What vows, promises, and goals do you think the front office, new coaching staff, and players should be setting for the new season?