NWSL: Marc Skinner named second-ever Orlando Pride head coach

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Orlando, Florida — Marc Skinner is heading overseas.

The former Birmingham City Women F.C. manager has been hired as the second-ever head coach of the Orlando Pride. Skinner is the successor of Tom Sermanni, who was fired after two seasons in September 2018.

Skinner has experience in coaching women’s soccer. The English-born manager coached the Birmingham City Women F.C. team to a fifth-place finish last season in the FA Women’s Super League. Skinner took over as head coach in November 2016. In the Spring Series, he helped the team to a FA Women’s Cup final appearance.

However, in his first full-season as head coach, Skinner and Birmingham City finished in fourth place.

Meanwhile, before becoming head coach, Skinner was the technical director for seven years in the club’s youth development structure in the Centre of Excellence. Skinner’s other roles within the club include stints as the Birmingham City Reserve Team head coach and first-team goalkeeper coach.

He is only 35-years-old and holds a UEFA A License. Meanwhile, the Pride have announced that Skinner’s staff will be named later.

What the Pride and Skinner said

According to a press release, Skinner leaves Birmingham City in a good place. The team is currently in fourth place with 25 points. In the FA Women’s Super League, the top two clubs qualify for the Champion’s League. Birmingham City is currently five points out of second place.

Meanwhile, the team has only conceded 10 goals in over 13 matches.

Skinner said that he believes the Pride is “one of the biggest clubs in the world.”

“I want to thank the Orlando City SC organization for giving me the opportunity to lead the Pride ahead of the 2019 NWSL season,” Skinner said, via the Pride. “I’m excited to see what the group can bring to this league, and my staff and I will work hard to give them the direction to reach new heights.” 

Meanwhile, new Orlando Pride general manager Erik Ustruck expressed excitement over the end of a head coaching search.

“We… know the team here in Orlando put a lot of work into securing the best candidate to lead our talented group of players,” Ustruck said. “Marc will bring a breath of fresh air to the Pride through his modern approach to the game while instilling a foundation of principles to build from. He is both an innovative and progressive manager. We have an incredible opportunity in 2019 and beyond, and we are confident that Marc has the ability to create a winning culture with the Pride.” 

The Pride recently wrapped up a busy weekend in Chicago at the NWSL College Draft. The Pride made two selections, picking up midfielders Erin Greening from the University of Colorado and Marisa Viggiano from Northwestern University.

Greening was picked in the third round, with Viggiano’s selection coming in the fourth round.

Meanwhile, the Pride did not make any trades on draft day, but three prior trades affected the draft. Due to trades with the Washington Spirit and Houston Dash, the Pride did not make a selection in the first or second rounds. However, in the third round, the Pride also made a prior trade, giving a pick to Houston.

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