To say new Orlando Pride head coach Marc Skinner is excited about his first day of the preseason would be almost an understatement.
“I thought it’d be this special when I first got the job, but to see the energy of the players, I kind of knew when I came to America that we’d have the energy,” said Skinner on Monday. “Now, it’s almost that I need to refine the energy and channel it in the right direction, but I couldn’t ask for a better work ethic from the group today. You can just see that they’re buzzing. It’s one of them moments that makes me smile.”
Skinner, who was officially hired by the Pride back in mid-January, expressed his excitement when he was first introduced to the media back on January 18 and that has carried over into the first official day on the training pitch. In fact, that excitement has transformed into an energetic atmosphere, a trait that Skinner wants his players to show as well.
“I’m all energy on the field and I want to give them the brains to match that energy,” Skinner said. “If I don’t bring it, what excuse have they got?
“I’ve kind of set my bar this high in my own personal mentality. It’s pretty easy to get to that place for me. The only thing really struggling is my voice. I’ve gotta get used to the dry weather.”
While Skinner looks to bring the energy, he will rely on his recently appointed assistant, Carl Green, who worked as his assistant and sports scientist at Birmingham City,
“We develop our own practices based on what our physical traits are and what we need going forward,” Skinner said on Green. “So, we don’t just put a practice on, we focus, we design them together and that’s why he’s so key to me.”
That entire mentality and strategy are two main cores of what Skinner is looking to implement in the early days with the Pride. Although the team is still missing a few of their international players, Skinner wants his team to create an extremely tight bond with each other, so that the mentality and strategy of the game can come that much easier.
“Connect to each other, love playing with each other. Love being around each other,” Skinner said. “I think once they saw that, they just made automatic decisions. I think we neglect that as humans. We can make them choose what they do, rather than us having to tell them what to do. That’s what we tried to work on today.”
The Pride will spend the next few weeks laying the groundwork of Marc Skinner’s master plan before they head off for their first preseason game against the defending NWSL champions, the North Carolina Courage, on March 23 in North Carolina.
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