The Orlando Pride finished off Seb Hines staff today with the official announcement that Yolanda Thomas will be an assistant coach for the 2023 NWSL season. She joins Assistant Coach Giles Barnes and Goalkeeping Coach Paul Crichton on Hines’ technical staff ahead of his first season as the club’s fourth permanent head coach.
In 2022, Thomas earned her USSF “A” license, completing the course alongside Hines, and she is a current scout in the USSF Talent ID Network.
“We’re very excited that Yolanda will be joining us here in Orlando. We got to know each other well during our “A” License coaching course last year, and I was instantly impressed with her knowledge and passion for the game,” Hines said in a club press release. “Not only will our players learn and develop from her extensive experience, both coaching and playing, but she is going to play a key part in building the Pride as a club and culture over the long term.”
Thomas joins the Pride after serving as sporting director, head coach, and director of coaching with Tulsa Soccer Club and Fortuna Tulsa of the WPSL. She led Tulsa to Franchise of the Year honors in 2019 and 2021 and was named 2019 WPSL Red River Conference Coach of the Year.
Over four seasons, Thomas guided Fortuna Tulsa — now known as Tulsa SC — to two conference championships, and appearances in the National Final Four, Regional Championship, and National Elite Eight.
“A big thank you to Seb Hines, Haley Carter, and the rest of the club’s leadership for the opportunity to join this organization,” Thomas said in the Pride’s release. “The vision for the club and its goals to develop the Pride into one of the best organizations in soccer, both on and off the field, are clear and I’m happy to be a part of this exciting time for Orlando Pride and the NWSL. I’m ready to do my part to help us bring championships home to Orlando.”
Thomas previously served as an assistant coach in the college ranks at Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa, before becoming head coach at Roger State University.
As a player, Thomas was a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year and a three-time NSCAA All-American at Oklahoma State and was a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year in 2009. She represented Sweden at multiple youth national team levels and played seven seasons of professional soccer in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan.
Thomas serves in United Soccer Coaches’ Black Coaches Community and leads the Women Coaches Community’s #MomsWhoCoach initiative.
“We are incredibly fortunate to be able to hire such a competent, well-qualified coach in Yolanda,” Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in the club’s press release. “She is a long-time leader in the women’s game and has done it all while having a family, advocating for other coaches, and ensuring that others are seen and heard in our space. Yolanda knows how to win and is a vital piece in our effort to build a world-class club. We truly could not be more excited for her to join us!”