According to Jeff Kassouf of The Equalizer, the Orlando Pride are planning to hire Amanda Cromwell as the team’s next head coach. The UCLA head coach won the 2013 NCAA National Championship and would be the Pride’s third head coach in team history — fourth if counting interim head coach Becky Burleigh. Kassouf cited multiple sources in his story.
Reached on Monday, an Orlando Pride spokesperson provided the following statement:
“We are in the process of determining the best head coaching candidate to lead the Orlando Pride. We look forward to making that announcement at the appropriate time.”
The news of Cromwell’s potential arrival comes on the same day that the Pride announced the departure of Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Amanda Duffy. The club has yet to announce the future of General Manager Ian Fleming.
An Annandale, VA native, Cromwell graduated from the University of Virginia and captained the team to its 1991 College Cup appearance. As a collegiate player, she was a two-time All-American, four-time All-ACC selection, and a 1991 Hermann Trophy finalist.
Professionally, Cromwell played in the WUSA for the Washington Freedom, Atlanta Beat, and San Jose CyberRays. She made 55 appearances for the U.S. National Team and was on the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad.
Cromwell began her coaching career as an assistant for the University of Virginia from 1992-1994. Her first head coaching job was at the University of Maryland-Baltimore from 1996-1997.
In 1999 she was named the head coach of the UCF Knights. Between 1999 and 2012, Cromwell led the Knights to a 203-83-26 record and 11 NCAA tournament appearances.
UCLA hired Cromwell on April 12, 2013. In her nine seasons in charge of the Bruins, Cromwell has led the Pac-12 powerhouse to three College Cups — including a 3-2 loss to Stanford in the final in Orlando’s Exploria Stadium in 2017 — and won the school’s first women’s soccer NCAA Championship in 2013.
In total, Cromwell has a record of 372-128-47. Her 372 wins rank 21st in the nation and she’s 17th in winning percentage. This year, the Bruins finished the season 16-1-3, but the second-seeded team was upset by UC-Irvine in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Cromwell would be the Pride’s third head coach in the team’s six seasons. Tom Sermanni coached from 2016-2018, with a record of 25-29-14 in 68 games. Marc Skinner joined the team in 2019 with a record of 8-19-8 in 35 games before resigning midway through the 2021 season to take the head coaching position at Manchester United.
Additionally, former University of Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh guided the team through the remainder of the 2021 season on an interim basis, going 3-6-3 and narrowly missing out on the NWSL playoffs. However, Burleigh took her name out of consideration for the full-time position at the end of the season.
Cromwell has coached several players that have played in the NWSL, including Sarah Woldmoe, Abby Dahlkemper, and Sam Mewis. The Pride drafted Viviana Villacorta out of UCLA in the first round of the 2021 NWSL Draft but the midfielder has yet to appear for the Pride after suffering an ACL injury while playing for the Bruins.
In addition to her playing and coaching career, Cromwell was a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, appointed by George W. Bush. She was also a founding investor of Angel City FC, which begins NWSL play in 2022. She likely would need to sell her stake in that team if she becomes the head coach of the Pride.
A look at her playing history on Wikipedia (which is not always accurate) includes stints with the Orlando Lions and the Maryland Pride. So, perhaps she was always meant to join the Orlando Pride.
We will continue to monitor this story as it develops.