Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines announced his first two assistant coaches for the 2023 NWSL season. Former Lion Giles Barnes remains on staff after serving as an interim assistant with Hines during the second half of the 2022 season. He joins the Pride as the Hines’ first assistant. Additionally, Paul Crichton joins the club as its goalkeeping coach.
“We want to bring success to this city and the fans, and having a staff that is driving that message is really important to us,” Hines said about the hires in a club press release. “I could not be more thrilled to have two coaches who not only fully support that goal, but who are going to be great resources for our players. We are proud of what we achieved last year but feel we have some unfinished business to accomplish going into the 2023 season. I’m looking forward to this season with both the new and returning staff we have in place.”
After beginning his professional playing career in England at 17 years old, Barnes came to the United States in 2012 to join Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. He was traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2016 and joined Orlando City in 2017. The midfielder made 35 appearances (24 starts) in all competitions for the Lions, recording 2,227 minutes, four goals, and two assists.
Following an investigation into retaliatory behavior by former Pride head coach Amanda Cromwell and assistant Sam Greene, Hines was named interim head coach. He immediately brought in his friend Barnes as his assistant, along with another former Lion in Miguel Gallardo, who served as a voluntary goalkeeping coach when available.
“Last season, Giles came in as an assistant midway through the year, and the players immediately respected him and bought into the new identity we’ve been striving for,” Hines said of his first assistant. “Giles brings a high level of knowledge for the game through his playing career, having represented some of the best teams domestically and in Europe. Bringing him on board and sharing his lessons, from both playing (and) coaching, will only elevate our player development and keep growing identity.”
Barnes was especially important for the team’s attackers during his first half-season as an assistant coach. In particular, former Pride forward Darian Jenkins spoke highly of the assistant as she transitioned from the midfield. Barnes was praised by players as an essential part of helping the team go on a seven-game unbeaten run shortly after the new staff took over.
While he wasn’t officially announced until today, it was widely speculated that Barnes would be Hines’ first assistant. He was present at the 2023 NWSL Draft with Hines and the Pride front office staff and has been assisting in training sessions during the preseason.
“I was proud of what we, as a group, were able to accomplish as a staff and team in such a short period of time to end last season. I am excited to be back and to be a part of setting the tone from the beginning, with a full season ahead,” Barnes said. “We have a desire and drive as a staff and a group of talented players who are hungry to bring success to this club. We will work hard every day to do whatever it takes to give the Orlando Pride fans a team that represents them and this city.”
Crichton is a former Premier League goalkeeper, making 532 professional appearances for various clubs. The 54-year-old Englishman has been coaching for 16 years and holds a UEFA A coaching license. He moved to the United States to open a soccer school and was soon named goalkeeping coach for Miami FC. Starting with the club while they were in the NPSL, he helped it transition to the USL Championship in 2020. Crichton spent the last two seasons as goalkeeping coach for the Washington Spirit, guiding former Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury to the 2021 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award. He was also on staff when the Spirit won the 2021 NWSL championship.
“We’re excited to welcome Paul because he is not only a great person, but he brings a different perspective to the game that will help guide us this season. With myself being a young head coach, he offers a great history of experience coaching at the professional level,” Hines said. “He has an extensive background playing at a high level too and can relate to our goalkeepers through his time on the field. Paul understands how to win an NWSL championship and how to get the best out of his players. We’re excited to use that experience to help us bring championships to the city of Orlando.”
“I’m very grateful to Haley (Carter), Seb, and everyone at the club for this opportunity,” Crichton said in the press release. “Looking at the group of players that we have, I’m thrilled to be a part of the process of developing this roster, namely a very exciting and talented goalkeeper unit. I have great belief in what Seb and the rest of the staff are building here in Orlando and am looking forward to seeing all that we accomplish in 2023 and beyond.”
Pride fans will get their first look at the new coaching staff when the team faces the Kansas City Current in the open preseason game on Feb. 23 at Exploria Stadium. The team will begin the 2023 NWSL season on March 26 in Portland.