Pride's First Preseason Test Awaits, Face Kansas City on Wednesday
Monday marked one month into the Pride's 2021 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) preseason and tomorrow will see the side face off against its first opposition of the calendar year, hosting Kansas City at the Orlando Pride Training Ground at Sylvan Lake Park.
With the full team back in training following the conclusion of the SheBelieves Cup, the side is just over a month away from returning to NWSL action with the second edition of the Challenge Cup slated to begin on April 9.
"I think we're in a good place. I think the players have taken on board exactly what we have wanted them to. We have a lot of new players, so it's about gelling and reinforcing," Head Coach Marc Skinner said following Monday's session. "We're just refining the smaller details and obviously gaining fitness. A lot of learning is taking place, but what I love about the group is that there is a new, invigorated energy to take on this information."
Between the new additions brought in this past offseason and those who went on loan following the team's withdrawal from last year's Challenge Cup, 10 members of the current Pride roster could see their first action in purple this week, while others will look to build on their brief experience at the NWSL Fall Series a year ago.
Of those new additions are Gunny Jónsdóttir and Erika Tymrak, brought in from Kansas City to bolster the Pride midfield, both looking to see their first action in purple against their defacto former club on Wednesday. With a combined 10 NWSL seasons of experience between the two, the duo, along with English international Jade Moore and former Washington midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard, comprise four pieces of a new-look Pride midfield to feed an attack led by U.S. WNT forward Alex Morgan, World Cup Champion Sydney Leroux and six-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta.
"Sometimes it's not even the loudest voices, it's the quiet whispers off the field that are the most important. They understand team cohesion and team environments and they bring their experiences with them," Skinner said of his veteran additions. "That's the beauty of more veteran players is that they have life experience. They know what they want, so you end up being that point of view for somebody else to reflect on."
That somebody else in reference remarks the large group of youth on the current roster, with six of last year's seven NWSL College Draft picks now signed by the Club, in addition to 2020 trialists Brittany Wilson and Jordyn Listro. They too have entered camp with renewed energy and a drive to finally make their stamp on the NWSL heading into the 2021 campaign.
Whether it's one match or 100 under the belt, each member of the Pride represents the very group that Skinner and his staff have worked to create since his arrival. While it may be only preseason, their first test awaits this week and it's one that all in the team's corner eagerly await.
"The energy is my takeaway at the minute because I feel invigorated by this group. What I'm most proud of is that it feels like they can energize the coaching staff," Skinner said of the team. "There's a lot of things people are waiting to prove and I think that fire is going to be stoked each week as we get closer to game time."
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National Women's Soccer League Stories from March 2, 2021
- OL Reign Announces 32-Player Preseason Roster - OL Reign
- Pride's First Preseason Test Awaits, Face Kansas City on Wednesday - Orlando Pride
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- Orlando Pride Provides 2021 Preseason Roster Update - Orlando Pride
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- Racing Strengthens Squad at 32-Player Deadline - Racing Louisville FC
- Sky Blue FC Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan Has Successful Right Quad Surgery - Sky Blue FC
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