Amanda Duffy has always had a deep connection with Orlando City dating back almost a decade.
She recalled having a previous relationship with the club when its previous ownership under Phil Rawlins launched the Austin Aztex in 2008 before relocating to Orlando in 2010 where she kept close ties with the Lions during their USL days.
And when the move to MLS officially happened at the end of 2013, Orlando sent its USL rights over to Louisville and Duffy re-connected with Orlando City’s leaders as she took the reins at Louisville City in 2014 — first as general manager, then as president of Lou City.
That followed with a move to the National Women’s Soccer League when she was hired as the league’s managing director in 2016 before taking her current post as president last year.
On Feb. 15, Duffy will step down as president of the NWSL and will immediately join Orlando City as the executive vice president of the Orlando Pride — a role that took months in the making but it was those close ties to Orlando that made it happen.
“The outreach came from Alex [Leitao] and Caesar [Lopez] — two people that I have a close relationship as they’re both still on the NWSL board of directors,” Duffy said during an interview with reporters Thursday at Exploria Stadium.
“I was aware that they were looking for this type of position for several months, as they started their diligence in creating the position and assessing that role and the profile the person that they wanted to fill it,” she added.
Duffy, who’s still the NWSL president, said there’s been a timeline that’s been put in place that was part of a collective conversation with the NWSL executive committee, U.S. Soccer (manages the NWSL) and Orlando City — CEO Alex Leitao and senior vice president and general counsel Caesar Lopez.
But she also added that she hasn’t taken both responsibilities with the NWSL and Pride — avoiding any conflict of interest.
“That’s how we’ve laid it out, and it hasn’t been a dual responsibility period,” said Duffy. “It’s 100% within NWSL until the [Feb. 15] and then it will move on to 100% with the Pride on [Feb. 16] which I’m very much looking forward to… the first couple weeks of this year with our draft last week and board meetings and other business meetings, it was a lot of focus around that.”
Duffy said she hopes the 2020 NWSL schedule is out before she leaves, along with other “important announcements for the league” in the “next three to four weeks.”
After that, Duffy will officially join the Pride, but until then, she’s confident in the work that general manager Erik Ustruck and head coach Marc Skinner are doing this preseason for the Orlando Pride.
“I’m fully confident that Erik and Marc and the technical staff here have been working on decisions that are being made now for a while,” said Duffy. “So confident in some of the things that I understand are happening and certainly look forward to being more engaged in that process once I do actually get started with the Pride.”
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