The Orlando Pride announced Amanda Cromwell’s assistant coaching staff today, minus a goalkeeping coach, who is expected to be named soon. Joining Cromwell’s staff is her former UCLA assistant Sam Greene, former United States Women’s National Team star Michelle Akers, and former Orlando City defender Seb Hines, who returns to the staff.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed with amazingly talented assistant coaches,” Cromwell said in a club press release. “My on-field coaching success was greatly impacted by these individuals and support staff. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to bring a staff to Orlando that will compliment me and each other. This is a staff that I’m well familiar with and is a staff that knows the Orlando community. Most importantly, this is also a staff that is aligned in building a championship culture and developing an identity we want the Orlando Pride to have on the field.
“Having Michelle get back into the game to coach, develop players and be a mentor is a huge win for soccer. Sam could be a head college coach anywhere in the country, so I am beyond excited she chose to bring her attributes to the Pride. Seb has an impressive playing background and will use his knowledge to give us continuity within the club. This coaching staff is ready to work and we can’t wait for preseason to get started.”
Greene spent nine years with Cromwell at UCLA and carries a USSF “A” license. Greene will spearhead Cromwell’s offensive strategy and serve as a game analyst and talent acquisition advisor. She helped Cromwell guide the Bruins to the 2013 national championship, as well as to four Pac-12 titles and three final fours. As the recruiting coordinator for UCLA, Greene brought in three Top 10 recruiting classes in four years, including the No. 1 classes in 2020 and 2022 and the No. 2 class in 2019.
Greene played college soccer at Northwestern University, finishing fourth on the school’s career and single-season assist lists and fifth among all Wildcats in career games played.
“I’m beyond excited to join the Orlando Pride,” Greene said in the club’s release. “I have worked closely with Amanda for a number of years and am looking forward to taking this next step with this amazing club. Being able to work with the best players in the world and for a club who is investing in the future of women’s football is what attracted me to this opportunity.”
Akers, 55, the FIFA Co-Player of the Century, played for the USWNT from 1985 to 2000 and helped the team win two World Cup titles (1991, 1999). She amassed 153 caps and 103 goals in her international career, leaving the game as the second-leading goal scorer in USWNT history — just five behind the legendary Mia Hamm. Akers also helped the United States win a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
No stranger to Central Florida, Akers starred at UCF during her college playing career. She was a four-time All-American and left UCF as the Knights’ all-time leading scorer. Following her retirement, Akers founded the non-profit Michelle Akers Horse Rescue and Sanctuary in nearby Chuluota. In addition to her assistant coaching and player development roles, Akers will help the Pride with community outreach.
“I am incredibly excited to be a part of the Orlando Pride and work with my friend and USWNT teammate, Amanda Cromwell, as well as everyone on the staff,” Akers said. “I can’t wait to do everything I can to develop our players to their highest potential, both on and off the field, while becoming competitive as a team at the highest level in the NWSL. Personally, this is an exciting opportunity for me, one I’ve always wanted to explore, so when Amanda called and asked me to be on staff I immediately said ‘Yes! I am in.’ There’s a lot of good memories and old friends in Orlando; I’m looking forward to reconnecting and making new ones.”
Hines will serve as assistant coach for the third season. He’ll scout opposing teams and help Cromwell with defensive strategy and set pieces. He previously served under head coaches Tom Sermanni and Marc Skinner, as well as interim coach Becky Burleigh.
“I’m very happy to continue my career here in Orlando and to continue contributing to a club that means so much to me and my family,” Hines said in the release. “I fully believe in the vision and future that we are building at the Pride and I’m going to bring my very best each day to push our players to the best versions of themselves, both on and off the field. I’m excited to work with Amanda and the other talented coaches that will be joining us this season, and can’t wait to get back in front of our fans at Exploria Stadium.”
The Pride begin preseason training for the 2022 NWSL season on Feb. 1 and the NWSL Challenge Cup will begin the weekend of March 19.