Orlando Pride hire new coach one month after former coach, assistant fired for misconduct

The Orlando Pride has promoted its interim coach to lead the team as it heads into the 2023 season.

On Friday, the team announced that it has promoted Seb Hines to Head Coach, making him the first African American head coach in National Women’s Soccer League history. Hines signed a multi-year contract with the team, according to team officials.

“Seb is a talented coach that has demonstrated great leadership and an ability to get the most out of his players, while also establishing an inclusive and competitive team culture,” reads a statement from Orlando Pride Chairman Mark Wilf. “He stepped into a difficult position this year, handling it with professionalism and brought about many positive changes both on and off the field for our Club.”

The hiring comes just one month after the National Women’s Soccer League announced the terminations of former head coach Amanda Cromwell and former first assistant coach Sam Greene after a months-long investigation revealed misconduct and retaliation against the team’s players.

In October 2021, the NWSL and NWSL Players Association launched an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct toward NWSL players by individuals in positions of power, as well as systemic issues in the League that impact the prevention, detection, and handling of misconduct. The investigation has led to the termination of multiple, top-level officials across the league.

In March, the NWSL began investigating allegations of verbal abuse and improper favoritism towards Orlando Pride players by Cromwell and Greene. After some of those allegations were substantiated, Cromwell and Greene received written warnings and Cromwell was required to participate in leadership training. In May, players came forward to report that Cromwell and Greene were engaging in retaliatory conduct towards those who they believed had initiated, participated in, and were supportive of the March investigation.

After a thorough investigation, a joint investigative team found that Cromwell and Greene engaged in retaliation against players they believed had made or supported the earlier misconduct allegations against them. According to NWSL, Cromwell and Greene engaged in conduct that “discouraged reporting and fostered a general fear of retaliation,” and took negative actions against certain players, including seeking to waive or trade them.

Hines was a defender in the English Premier League for many seasons and played for three seasons with the Orlando City Soccer Club in Major League Soccer. He was named interim head coach in June and led the team over the final 15 matches of the 2022 season. He has been a member of the Orlando Pride and Orlando City family for eight years, first coming to Orlando in 2015.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity and look forward to leading the Pride ahead of the 2023 NWSL season. Orlando is a diverse and dynamic city, and I’m excited to build a team identity that reflects the values of our club and our community – a team that Pride fans can be proud of,” said Hines.

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