After initial reports a few weeks ago tied Orlando Pride head coach Marc Skinner to the Women’s Super League side Manchester United, news came Friday afternoon that Skinner has stepped down as Pride head coach in order to make that move back across the pond. Including Skinner, assistant coach Carl Green will also depart the club following this weekends match. Assistant Seb Hines and goalkeeper coach Lloyd Yaxley will remain on staff.
“I am immensely proud to have been the head coach of Orlando Pride,” Skinner said in a press release, “I want to thank the players, staff and Club for all of their efforts in creating a culture worthy of this city and state. To the fans, I thank you for being patient whilst we grew together. You will continue to drive this team to achieve the heights that you all deserve. I have no doubt that this club will go from strength to strength with the new ownership in place and the values that the team have worked hard to develop. Although I will be watching from afar, the iconic purple team will always remain close to my heart. For the final time, #VamosOrlando.”
Skinner finished his Pride tenure with a record of 8-19-8 in NWSL play. His first season was an uphill challenge, finishing just 4-16-4. Despite the first year falter and the 2020 pandemic setback, the Pride still exercised Skinner’s contract option for 2021 last fall, bringing him back for at least one more year. Now, after the best start to a season in Pride history at 4-3-4, Skinner departs the team to head back overseas, where he started his coaching journey.
“I have tremendous gratitude and appreciation for the vision Marc and Carl brought to the Orlando Pride and I thank them for their commitment to the Club and the players during their time in Orlando,” Orlando Pride EVP Amanda Duffy said. “Under Marc’s guidance, the Pride have become a better team and a better organization, with a foundation in place for the continuation of a winning culture. I wish both of them much success in their next opportunity.”
The reports of Skinner to Manchester first arose on July 10th, when The Athletic posted an article regarding Manchester United’s interest in the Orlando manager, but nothing concrete started appearing until this past week, when the interest became much more.
On Thursday, BBC’s Emma Sanders and The Telegraph’s Tom Garry reported that Skinner had agreed to terms with the Reds to be their new manager, but the Pride had yet to comment on the situation.
Skinner was unavailable on Wednesday and was absent from training Thursday, leading to the announcement today.
Now the Pride, Executive Vice President Amanda Duffy and GM Ian Flemming will lead the charge to find an interim manager for the rest of the season as well as a permanent replacement for Skinner.
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