Orlando Pride interim coach Seb Hines: “We’re trying to create a culture that hasn’t really been here”


Courtesy of Orlando Pride

To say the 2022 Orlando Pride season has been tumultuous may be an understatement. Following a midseason coaching suspension to Head Coach Amanda Cromwell, the team was put in a precarious position with 15 games still remaining in the season. In steps assistant coach Seb Hines to fill the void, bringing along former Orlando City forward Giles Barnes and goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo to serve as assistants.

Through the ups and downs of the final matches of the season, Hines has led the Pride to three wins, five draws and five losses, including a seven-game unbeaten run from July 3rd to August 20th.

Hines and his staff have turned a tough situation around, missing out on the NWSL playoffs by only three spots. At one point, the Pride were a win away from moving over the playoff line, a feat that no one would have expected after a midseason coaching change.

Now, as the season winds down with Orlando playing their last game away from home next week, the question on Pride fans’ minds is what will happen to Seb Hines?

The front office has been happy with what has been accomplished despite the circumstances, The players love Hines and his coaching style and have been supportive of him since he took over in June.

But will Hines shed the interim title and be the permanent manager of the Orlando Pride come 2023?

“I did have aspirations to be a head coach at some point in my career,” Hines said after their match versus North Carolina. “I think anytime you’re in a coaching role, that’s your MO. That’s what you want to be. Now I’m in this position, and I love it. These difficult times define you, it defines the players that are around you.

“You get a taste for it, and you’re like ‘Ah, this is what I want to do.’ You have so much influence on the players,” he added. “You have influences on the staff, everyone who’s involved, and you set a mode, you set a direction, and everyone jumps on board on it. And that’s the way it should be. And that’s the way that we want to create and build this identity. I wouldn’t have done my A coaching license for nothing.”

Throughout his tenure, Hines has preached the culture of the team. With everything that’s been changing and adapting since four months ago, the constant has been the culture that Hines has tried to create within the organization.

Having been with Orlando since his playing days in MLS, Hines has served under every Pride Head Coach since the team’s inception in 2016, whether in an official or unofficial capacity. He’s seen everything previous leaders have tried to do and has a vested interest in where the club goes moving forward. That is why he has been so focused on building a culture for the organization that can carry over into the future.

“This is bigger than just the last couple of games. This is bigger than this season,” Hines said. “We’re trying to create a culture that hasn’t really been here. We haven’t had DNA, we haven’t had an identity. We’ve just had a stadium, training facility, and players. I’ve been here since 2015. I’ve been in the club since it first started in MLS. So you’re trying to change what it’s been and we’re full on, my staff’s full on, everyone who’s involved in the organization is full on.”

Ultimately for Hines, in order for that culture to blossom into success, the players need to buy into what he’s preaching. Luckily for Seb, he’s been able to build up that trust within the players as an assistant, one of the many reasons the team has been able to find success through the tough times.

“It’s your core values. Core values are really important. I think if you get every player on board with it, then you create this identity, you create this culture, you create standards and expectations,” he said, “It’s difficult to implement them midway through the season. It’s going to take time, but we’ve still got a lot of young players as well. We’re looking towards next year, and next season, if we are in this role, you set the precedent, right from day one, and then everyone buys into it. Everyone’s bought in and everyone knows what is the standard that you’ve set and then you move forward.”

Whether Hines is named the full-time manager or whether the team decides to move in another direction, he has undoubtedly made a positive impression on the club in his tenure.

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