The Orlando Pride had a goal of winning the NWSL championship last season. After a strong start, the Pride could not keep it up and ended the season in seventh place. As a result, Orlando fired Tom Sermanni and then hired Marc Skinner as the team’s second-ever head coach. On Monday, Skinner got to work with his team for the first time.
“It was the most amazing feeling,” Skinner said. “I thought it would be this special when I first got the job. I kind of knew that when I came to America that we would have the energy. Now it’s almost that I need to refine the energy and channel it in the right direction. I couldn’t have asked for a better work ethic from the group today. You can just see that they’re buzzing. It’s one of those moments that make me smile so I’ll have to digest that this afternoon.”
To start the preseason, the Pride once again were missing a few key faces. Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, Marta, Chioma Ubogagu, Alanna Kennedy, Emily van Egmond, and Shelina Zadorsky are all with their respective national teams and Camila has yet to arrive, although she is expected soon. While their absences were definitely noticed, perhaps it is a good thing for the team to start the year without them.
Last year, Marta, Kennedy, Morgan, Leroux, and Ubogagu combined to score 21 of the Pride’s 30 goals. All five players could miss a large portion of the season due to international duty and a pregnancy. Leroux, who is five months pregnant, was at training on Monday but did not participate in any contact drills.
“For me, I’m going to work with the players that are here,” said Skinner. “At Birmingham, we did the same; we had kids. My goalkeeper, who was 17 when she first came into the first team, she’ll go on to be an England international I’m sure. It’s just working with the people and getting the best out of them. I said when I first came here, the name of today might not be the name of tomorrow. So, who is the name of tomorrow?”
There were many younger players in training. Draft picks Marisa Viggiano, and Erin Greening experienced their first training session and Bridget Callahan and Abby Elinsky returned to the Pride as non-roster invitees. In total, there were 17 players in the first preseason session.
The big question, though, is are these players going to be good enough to make the Pride a better team? Skinner thinks so and is happy with how the team is looking right now. He wants to give his full attention to the players that are at training and is confident in their ability.
Still, that does not mean he is done looking for new players. While there will not be new signings at the moment, the roster buildup is not complete. Skinner could be waiting to sign some of his old Birmingham players, and wants to bring in “the right players.”
“There will be [plans to sign more players],” said Skinner. “One of the things I’m looking at is the European market. People are still in contract over there at the minute. So, it’s hard as their season is still going on. If I have to wait for the right people, I’ll wait for the right people.
“Equally, we’re identifying talent within this country that we want to make sure that we can bring in. It’s an ongoing process that we’re going to continue to work at.”
Within the team that was at training on Monday, it was evident that the leader on the field was Ali Krieger. In the past year, she took and completed the U.S. Soccer C License coaching course. She is going to be putting what she learned in the course to use to help out her Pride teammates.
“I want to be an extension of the coaching staff on the field, I hope,” Krieger said. “If I get that opportunity, then I’m ready to take it on. I hope to put the team on my back, push through the season, and win.”
The veteran defender is starting her third year with the Pride. She has made 44 appearances for Orlando, all starts, and will look to be a vital part of the Pride’s back line. At 34 years old, Krieger is the oldest player on the roster, but according to both her and Skinner, the defender has the body of a 25-year-old.
“I feel good,” said Krieger. “I’ve been training my ass off and really preparing for this day. I know this year is going to be really good and really tough for us. I wanted to come in and be fully prepared and fully fit and be a good example for the young ones coming in. It’s really important that I’m on the top of my game to really set the tone for the rest of the team.”
That leadership is going to be crucial, but Skinner is not just looking at Krieger to lead the team. He described a process in which there will be multiple leaders within the team and stressed that one person is not going to be able to lead this team to where it needs to get to.
The end goal for the Pride is, of course, to win the NWSL championship. To get there the initial work needs to start right now in preseason. There are undoubtedly vast differences between Sermanni and Skinner, and perhaps those differences could be what helps get the Pride to the next step.
“It’s just different,” said Krieger. “It’s not better. It’s not worse. It’s just different — a certain mentality that hasn’t been instilled before that we’re excited about. It’s a breath of fresh air, you can say. With the new mentality and the new vision and direction that we’re going to go in. Obviously, with every coach it’s different. We’re just really excited to start fresh. Everyone is kind of on the same playing field, which is good and that motivates every single player here. That’s what’s probably the most exciting to us.”
Regardless of who is at the helm, the players are ready to go and happy that the season is starting. A common theme was the high level of energy among the players, and everyone is just excited to be back at work. The new season will arrive quickly, with opening day on April 14 against Portland, and the team will need to keep up this intensity up to start the season strong.
Orlando Pride Sign Defender Emily Madril to New Contract
The center back signs a new three-year deal, keeping her in Orlando through 2026.
The Orlando Pride announced today that the club has signed starting center back Emily Madril to a new three-year contract. The defender originally signed a three-year deal with the NWSL, running through the 2025 season, but this new contract will keep her in Orlando through 2026.
“I had a great rookie year here and had so much fun and love everyone in the Orlando Pride organization,” Madril said in a club press release. “The chemistry that we have in the locker room between all the girls and the entire coaching staff is just amazing and played a big factor in me wanting to stay here in Orlando. I am so excited to be a part of the Pride for the future and continue to be a part of the special thing we are building here.”
After leaving Florida State University following her junior season, Madril signed a three-year contract with the NWSL and went on loan to Swedish Damallsvenskan side BK Hacken. The Pride drafted the defender with the third overall selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft, immediately putting her into the starting lineup.
Madril initially started alongside Caitlin Cosme at center back, before being joined by Megan Montefusco and, eventually, Rafaelle. She showed her versatility on two occasions, starting at right back.
The Boise, ID native started all 22 regular-season games for the Pride, recording a rookie-leading 1,977 minutes, and she only came off late in the season finale against the Houston Dash when the Pride needed a goal. She completed 814 of her 953 passes (85.4%), 46 of her 103 long passes (44.7%), and took one off-target shot. Defensively, she added 19 blocks and 19 interceptions, won 17 of her 28 tackles (60.7%), and was successful on 76 of her 122 duels (62.3%).
Madril also played in five of the team’s six Challenge Cup games, recording 450 minutes. She completed 193 of 224 passes in those games (86.2%) and 13 of 25 long balls (52%). She continued to be a key defensive presence in those midseason cup matches, recording 10 blocks and four interceptions, as well as winning 10 of her 18 tackles (55.6%) and 32 of her 47 duels (68.1%).
“Emily came in and made an immediate impact, just as we expected she would when we drafted her,” Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said in the club’s release. “She was a reliable presence in our back line throughout the entire season and showed her potential to be one of the best defenders in the league. Her maturity and professionalism shined throughout the entire year, and we are very happy to be able to have her with the Pride for the years to come. She is an important part of what we are building here, and she wants to be a part of it, which we are very excited about.”
Madril has also had a presence for the United States at the international level, receiving call-ups for the U-19, U-20, and U-23 U.S. Women’s National Teams.
What It Means for Orlando
Madril was a key piece of the Pride’s team in 2023 and the club hopes she’ll be for a long time to come. She showed early on that she can become one of the best defenders in the NWSL and her time at right back indicated she has the versatility valued by Carter and Pride Head Coach Seb Hines.
The 24-year-old was already signed to a three-year deal through the 2025 season, so this keeps her in Orlando for an additional year. Terms were not disclosed, but it’s likely she got a raise as well. If she continues to improve on how she played this season, the Pride will undoubtedly look to extend her even further into the future. For next year, she’ll likely continue starting alongside Rafaelle, making up a formidable center back pairing the club can count on.
2023 Orlando Pride Season in Review: Anna Moorhouse
The 2023 NWSL season was Anna Moorhouse’s first as the Orlando Pride’s starting goalkeeper.
The 2023 NWSL season was Anna Moorhouse’s second with the Orlando Pride and her first as the team’s starting goalkeeper. She was originally signed prior to the 2022 season, backing up veteran Erin McLeod that year. However, the Canadian international left the team, resulting in Moorhouse taking over the starting role.
Let’s take a look at Moorhouse’s first season starting for the Pride.
Moorhouse started 19 of the team’s 22 regular-season games, playing 1,623 minutes. The team’s record in those games was 9-9-1, as she conceded 22 goals, saving 72 of her 94 shots faced (76.6%). She ended the year with seven clean sheets, 19 catches, six punches, and four drops. The Pride’s number one completed 387 of her 573 passes (67.5%) out of the back and 115 of her 292 long balls. The passing accuracy in her own half was 79.1% and 32.4% in the opposing half. She conceded one foul and won two, getting sent off in the third minute of the team’s 1-0 loss to OL Reign on Sept. 3.
The English shot stopper also played in four Challenge Cup games, recording 360 minutes. She conceded 10 goals in the competition with no clean sheets and saved 13 of her 23 shots faced (56.5%). Moorhouse had three catches, one punch, and no drops in the secondary competition. She successfully completed 69 of her 111 passes (62.2%) and 29 of her 68 long passes (42.6%). Similar to the regular season, her pass completion percentage was far higher in her own half (76.4%) than in the opposing half (35.9%). Additionally, she won a foul and didn’t concede any.
Moorhouse’s most active game was the season opener against the Portland Thorns, where she faced 27 shots and made 12 saves. However she conceded four goals and one was her fault. Her best game of the year came on Oct. 2 in Los Angeles and it was a critical one. Adriana scored in the 22nd minute against Angel City FC to give the Pride a 1-0 lead and the visitors held on for dear life to claim three points that put them in the running for a playoff spot.
One of Moorhouse’s seven clean sheets, the goalkeeper made seven saves on the night, her second-most of the season. Most of Angel City’s shots were right at the goalkeeper, but she was sure-handed, something that plagued her earlier in the year. In the 57th minute, Claire Emslie beat Haley McCutcheon to the ball inside the six-yard box, but Moorhouse was decisive in coming out, forcing the forward to send her shot into the side netting. Her biggest moment of the game came in the 86th minute, when substitute Sydney Leroux got her head on the ball and put it on target. Moorhouse tipped the attempt over the crossbar, maintaining the Pride’s narrow 1-0 lead.
2023 Final Grade
The Mane Land staff gave Moorhouse a composite grade of 6 out of 10 for the 2023 NWSL season. Shot stopping was her strength, but she struggled at other aspects, especially holding onto the ball. On multiple occasions this season, her inability to hold onto a catch resulted in second chances and goals for the opposition. She struggled in the team’s penultimate game against Racing Louisville, effectively ending the Pride’s season, and her third-minute red card against OL Reign was likely a determining factor in a crucial 1-0 loss. However, she had seven clean sheets on the season and was the team’s best goalkeeper.
Moorhouse’s initial contract was a two-year deal, running through the 2023 season. While there were questions about her dependability in goal this season, Seb Hines and Haley Carter were pleased with her performances, awarding her with a new contract on Oct. 5, keeping the goalkeeper in purple through at least the 2025 season. The Pride now have four goalkeepers under contract for next year, and Moorhouse will be challenged for her role as the starter by new signing Sofia Manner.
Previous Season in Review Articles (Date Posted)
- Kaylie Collins (10/23/23)
- Amanda Allen (10/24/23)
- Celia (10/25/23)
- Brianna Martinez (10/26/23)
- Thais Reiss (10/29/23)
- Mariana Larroquette (10/30/23)
- Tori Hansen (11/1/23)
- Jordyn Listro (11/2/23)
- Caitlin Cosme (11/5/23)
- Summer Yates (11/6/23)
- Ally Watt (11/9/23)
- Megan Montefusco (11/13/23)
- Carly Nelson (11/14/23)
- Julie Doyle (11/16/23)
- Viviana Villacorta (11/20/23)
- Kerry Abello (11/23/23)
- Rafaelle (11/27/23)
- Erika Tymrak (11/28/23)
- Haley McCutcheon (11/29/23)
- Kylie Strom (11/30/23)
Orlando Pride Sign Finnish Goalkeeper Sofia Manner
The Pride have added a fourth goalkeeper and the second one from abroad ahead of the 2024 NWSL season.
The Orlando Pride announced today the signing of goalkeeper Sofia Manner, who was acquired for an undisclosed transfer fee from FC Honka of Finland’s top flight, the Kansallinen Liiga. Manner has signed a two-year contract through the 2025 season with a club option for 2026. The signing is a bit curious as it comes less than two months after the Pride extended English goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse through the 2025 season, giving Orlando two international goalkeepers and four total netminders under contract.
“I am immensely grateful for this opportunity to join Orlando Pride, a team I have admired since my youth,” Manner said in a club press release. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to contribute to such a renowned organization in women’s soccer. The prospect of starting this journey fills me with great enthusiasm, and I am eagerly looking forward to bringing my passion and dedication to the team. I’m ready to put in hard work and help write a new chapter for the Orlando Pride.”
Manner, who turned 26 on Nov. 9, conceded the fewest goals in the Kansallinen Liiga this season and is a nominee for the league’s Best Player and Goalkeeper of the Year awards. She appeared in 23 matches and earned 10 clean sheets across all competitions, was twice named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Month this season, and was Player of the Month in April.
“Sofia is a tremendous addition to our goalkeeping corps and one we expect to challenge for the starting position,” Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter said. “She brings an underdog mentality and gritty work ethic and fits every aspect of the profile we have built for our goalkeepers. Her size, aerial ability, shot-stopping prowess, and distribution are world class. She brings international experience and has led the Kansallinen Liiga in nearly every goalkeeping metric. Her nominations for Goalkeeper of the Year and Best Player are indicative of her winning mentality and drive to be the best. We are excited to bring her to Orlando and to give her an opportunity to prove herself in our environment and in the NWSL.”
The shot stopper has experience playing in the United States, having played collegiately with Stony Brook University. She compiled a 1.14 career goals-against average across three seasons, which is fourth-best in Seawolves’ history. Her 20 shutouts ranks third in program history, and she compiled a .796 save percentage, which is ninth best all time.
While at Stony Brook, Manner was named America East Freshman of the Year in 2017, was a first-team all-conference selection in 2019, and was the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2018 and 2019. She started in every match in her final two seasons at Stony Brook, backstopping the Seawolves to an America East conference championship in 2019 and a regular-season title in 2018.
What It Means for Orlando
The Pride currently have four goalkeepers under contract: 2023 starter Anna Moorhouse (through 2025), backup Carly Nelson (through 2024), third keeper Kaylie Collins (through 2024), and now Manner (through 2025). Collins is on loan with Western Sydney Wanderers FC of the A-League Women in Australia. Four goalkeepers will provide spirited competition in preseason camp, to be sure, but it’s likely that one of these players will be on the move at some point.
If Manner wins the starting goalkeeper spot from Moorhouse, it may be for reasons other than stopping shots. Moorhouse did a good enough job of that, but often struggled with balls in from the wings, which was illustrated in the Pride’s penultimate game of the year — a must-win match at Racing Louisville — when a routine-looking corner kick cross appeared to be easily catchable, but Moorhouse went for a punch instead and knocked the winning goal for Louisville into her own net. That dropped point in the standings put Orlando in jeopardy on Decision Day and indeed the Pride beat Houston but missed the postseason on goal differential. It was a crucial point dropped.
That wasn’t Moorhouse’s only major error on the season, as she set an NWSL record with the earliest sending off in league history with her third-minute red card at OL Reign on Sept. 3 — a match the Pride lost 1-0 while playing one player short for 87 minutes plus stoppage. She has also frequently spilled crosses and shots from distance.
Orlando needed to upgrade the position. Whether Manner is an upgrade remains to be seen, but as Carter said, she is expected to compete for the starting spot. If nothing else, the competition should be good for the Pride. If Manner does take the starting position, it seems logical that the club will look to move either Moorhouse or Nelson.
The goalkeeper position will provide one of the Pride’s most intriging camp battles.
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